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McCollum backs narrowed Syria attack authorization

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.”

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

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/05/2013 - 01:44 pm.

    She’s lost my vote.

    OK, so I haven’t been her biggest fan and there’s little likelihood that she’ll be defeated by a Republican opponent. I can hope, however, that a Democrat challenges her in the next primary.

  2. Submitted by rolf westgard on 09/05/2013 - 03:20 pm.

    Complete madness

    Interfering in a centuries old Shia-Sunni war makes no sense. I though my representative had more brains than she is showing here. But then she is apparently joined by our equally confused Senators.

  3. Submitted by Leonard Foonimin on 09/05/2013 - 04:52 pm.

    I can’t believe

    our Favorite Congresswoman and Senator Rand Paul are actually showing more, (it pains me to say this), understanding of the Syrian morass than my own Congresswoman and two Senators.

    What Assad has done is reprehensible, but what Obama and some Congressional members who should know better are proposing will not stop or change that. If Assad wins we lose, if if the Syrian rebels/AlQuida win we lose

    As a life-long supporter of the DFL Party my vote against re-election will not mean much but if this travesty should come to pass my only recourse will be to actively donate and work against re-election of McCollum, Klobuchar , and Franken.

    • Submitted by Richard Callahan on 09/05/2013 - 10:08 pm.

      Neither Democrats nor Republicans for me

      I too was a life long Democrat, but having seen how ineffective and irrational they can be when actually in control of something I see little benefit in supporting them any longer. Whether the Democrats or Republicans are in charge we’ll still enter senseless wars, funnel money to the wealthy, and generally fail to deal with any real problem affecting me and mine.

      Why bother?

  4. Submitted by michael n on 09/05/2013 - 11:50 pm.

    It’s all a no-win scenario

    We can’t win if we strike Syria or if we do not. Sending a few Tomahawks in didn’t work when Clinton did it to Bin laden and it won’t work now. Our best course of action is to stay out of it and tell the Arab countries to handle it. We didn’t sell them billions in aircraft for nothing, or did we? Personally, I’m tired of having the rest of the worlds countries come to us and put our people in harms way for them because they won’t do anything for themselves anymore. It’s a good part of the reason we have to spend so much on defense and they have little more than a token in the pot. The world should not be using our sons and daughters as a police force.

  5. Submitted by rolf westgard on 09/06/2013 - 05:56 am.

    Saving money

    Now I have a good excuse to keep the check book closed when I get one of their frequent requests for campaign contributions.

  6. Submitted by Mike Downing on 09/06/2013 - 11:19 am.

    “How should I vote Nancy and Mr. President?”

    The “finger up in the air” is aimed at Nancy Pelosi and President Obama. So of course my Representative will not represent her constituents. Instead my Representative will represent Nancy, Barack and her party…

  7. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/07/2013 - 03:21 pm.

    Al and Amy

    Shouldn’t Al and Amy be following John McCain’s lead and hold town hall meetings to explain their position on bombing Syria and to take questions from the voters?

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