Congresswoman Karen Bass
Congresswoman Maxine Waters
Congresswoman Janice Hahn
In the most significant decision during his second term, President Barack Obama was joined by California Congressional members Maxine Waters, Karen Bass and Janice Hahn as he weighed America’s options for military action in Syria this week.
In a nationally televised address to the nation on Tuesday September 9, President Obama indicated he wasn’t just seeking the trust of the country in support of war in Syria, but America’s trust—period.
“I know that after the terrible toll of Iraq and Afghanistan, the idea of any military action, no matter how limited, is not going to be popular,” Obama said in a prime-time address from the White House, adding that he has a “deeply held preference for peaceful solutions.”
The contentious debate on whether to use chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war lingers over his legacy as a world leader and the success of his broader second-term priorities.
The majority of Americans are against the use of force in Syria, but Obama asked them Tuesday to have confidence in his judgment as commander in chief if he launches a strike despite their opposition. The president also asked Americans to have faith that a president elected to end wars was still wrestling to achieve that goal.
The Syria standoff has called for delicate deliberations on Capitol Hill, as Obama tries to persuade Congress to pass immigration overhaul, rally support for budget issues or build backing for critical elements of his signature health care law.
“I know Americans want all of us in Washington – especially me – to concentrate on the task of building our nation here at home, putting people back to work, educating our kids, growing our middle class,” he said. “It’s no wonder then that you’re asking hard questions.”
Local Reps. Have aimed to balance the seriousness of Syria with the plight of their constituents here at home.
“I am pleased that President Obama is seeking congressional authorization before taking limited military action in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime on its own people. There are still many unanswered questions, such as what limited military action would entail, what will be the targets, what United States national interests are at stake, whether President Obama has pursued all possible diplomatic alternatives to military action, and whether military action by the U.S. will have the support of the international community,” said Rep. Waters in a statement.
“I am also deeply concerned about how U.S. military action will impact the civilian population of Syria. I will continue to listen to the concerns of my constituents and evaluate information from the Administration, as well as look forward to the completion of the United Nations investigation before making a final decision,” Waters added.
Congresswoman Bass, member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and ranking member of the Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights Subcommittee urged Russia to act.
“Russia can and must hold Syria accountable for the atrocities that have taken place and they should take that role seriously. However, this should – under no circumstances—be used as a stalling tactic. It is unfortunate that it took a threat of the use of force to bring about this development,” said Bass in a statement.
Bass stated that she is support of the president.
“I support President Obama and Secretary Kerry in identifying and pursuing a powerful diplomatic path forward with the international proposal to transfer control of Syria’s chemical weapons to international monitors for destruction. Such a solution would remove chemical weapons from Syria’s control, while ultimately saving lives, avoiding military strikes, and drawing support of the United Nations Security Council. By seizing and destroying the chemical weapons, this diplomatic solution would significantly degrade the Syrian regime’s ability to inflict devastating harm upon the Syrian people.”
Meanwhile, Hahn indicated that she would stand with her colleagues on the matter.
“The horrific images of innocent children and families being murdered in Syria are terribly heartbreaking and I can only imagine the incredible pain and suffering that the Syrian people are enduring. Earlier this week, I stood with some of my colleagues to call on the president to seek congressional authorization for any military action in Syria. I am pleased that the president heard the message and that Congress will have an opportunity to weigh the evidence before any action is taken.”