South Florida lawmakers had mixed reactions to President Obama’s remarks about Syria and his decision to seek congressional approval for any potential strike. Here are the opinions of South Florida’s congressional delegation.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
Nelson, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who took part in a briefing by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued the following statement:
“The president wants to put to rest any doubt the American people may have. I support the president’s decision. But as far as I’m concerned, we should strike in Syria today. The use of chemical weapons was inhumane, and those responsible should be forced to suffer the consequences.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
“I agree with the decision to seek Congressional approval before taking military action in Syria. And I believe Congress should return to Washington immediately and begin to debate this issue. The United States should only engage militarily when it is pursuing a clear and attainable national security goal. Military action taken simply to send a message or save face does not meet that standard.”
Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, D-Miramar
“I thought he was particularly brilliant (in seeking Congressional approval). He did what is constitutionally correct.”
"I will review every line [of the classified intelligence report] and then when we vote, if it is as the president says it is, I will vote in favor of authorization."
But he said if he suspects there is something amiss with the intelligence report, like he did with the WMD claims in Iraq, he will vote against authorization. He voted against military action in 2002.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston
“I welcome President Obama’s announcement today that he would seek Congressional authorization for the use of force against the Assad regime in Syria. The President’s announcement follows multiple consultations and briefings with Members of Congress during the past week about the best course of action following evidence that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons to murder its own people, including hundreds of children.
“As a member of the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, I welcome the President’s decision to ask Congress for approval of his proposal for a limited strike against Syria. This debate will help make our country stronger and ensure that we are united in a course of action.”
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami
“The many gaps in his short and insufficient statement include what the military objective would be, what effect it would have in the outcome of the Syrian conflict, and what steps are being taken to protect our allies in the region.
“As I previously stated, while I would like to wholeheartedly support our Commander-in-Chief in the event of military action in Syria, any use of force must be purposeful, overwhelming, and in furtherance of specifically enumerated national security interests. Unfortunately, the President has failed to provide a coherent policy on Syria to date. His poorly conceived ‘red line’ unnecessarily leveraged U.S. credibility, and placed him in the regrettable position of either following through on the promised retaliation or confirming that his threat was a hollow one.”