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McCollum backs narrowed Syria attack authorization

WASHINGTON — McCollum said Thursday that she’d back a narrow version of a Syria strike resolution.

Rep. Betty McCollum

WASHINGTON — Democratic U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum said Thursday she would support a narrow resolution authorizing a strike on Syria authored by House Democrats.

The resolution, from Democratic whip Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Gerry Connolly, would put limits on the scope and length of any Syria mission. Democrats hope to offer it as an alternative to the authorization resolution submitted to Congress by President Obama, which lawmakers had criticized as too broad. 

“This atrocity violates the most basic international standards of acceptable behavior, even in war, and it is too egregious to ignore,” McCollum said in a statement. “President Obama is correct – a forceful, coordinated international response to the Assad regime’s crimes is needed. Yet, an open-ended, poorly defined authorization for the use of military force is not acceptable to me, but neither is the prospect of doing nothing in the face of this evil act against innocent civilians.”

The Van Hollen-Connolly resolution would prohibit the use of ground trips in Syria, set a 60-day time-limit for any U.S. attacks, and stipulate the mission as one to “prevent and deter the further use of chemical weapons in Syria or by Syria against any other group or country.”

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The resolution is similar to one passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. Democrats in that chamber had criticized Obama’s original resolution, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers signed off on one of their own instead. That bill could go to the full Senate next week. 

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com.