Local House members cautious on Syria

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Frank Schultz
Tuesday, September 3, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Neither of the local congressmen is ready to give the president the thumbs-up for a military attack on Syria.

Reps. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, and Mark Pocan, D-Madison, both said they want to hear more before deciding.

President Barack Obama is asking for Congress to authorize military action in response to what most believe was the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons against civilians and rebels.

These are statements the congressmen released Tuesday in response to a Gazette request:

Ryan: “The president has some work to do to recover from his grave missteps in Syria. He needs to clearly demonstrate that the use of military force would strengthen America's security. I want to hear his case to Congress and to the American people.”

A Ryan spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for a list of "grave missteps."

Pocan re-issued a statement released Sunday after he attended a classified briefing on Syria in Washington, D.C.:

“A strong discussion occurred today, however I am still not convinced that there is a compelling national security interest that necessitates a military response, solely or largely born by the United States. We need to engage the international community to find the appropriate response to the use of chemical weapons, and to do so will require a much broader discussion with all proper options given full consideration. The use of chemical weapons is completely unacceptable, but this is an issue that is best addressed by the international community. I look forward to reviewing the United Nations report as we move forward in this discussion.”

A Ryan spokesman said Ryan did not attend Sunday's briefing. He was attending Labor Day weekend events in the district.

Leaders in the House have said they do not plan to take up the president's request until Monday.

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