Members of Congress and I received a classified briefing on the crisis in Syria from the President's national security team and I met with the President's Chief of Staff at the White House with several of my freshmen colleagues.
After careful and continued consideration of the President's arguments in favor of military intervention in Syria during and after those meetings, including a searching review of the intelligence presented by the White House national security team and a good faith assessment of the Administration's military strategy, I remain firmly opposed to authorizing the use of force in Syria.
- I am not at all convinced that the Administration's specific plan would advance the national security of the United States. In fact, the President’s plan would likely increase, not decrease, the threat to our national security.
- I am specifically concerned that the Administration's strategy fails to prepare for contingencies or prevent chemicals weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists who pose a threat much greater than the Assad regime.
- I am troubled by the Administration's hesitant and contradictory approach, advocating a "limited" yet "consequential" attack, and specifically disclaiming military victory as a strategic objective.
- I am discouraged by the President's indecision and vacillation, first arguing for two and a half years that the United States had no interest in the Syrian civil war, then announcing to our potential enemy his intent to commit the United States to military action, next seeking congressional authorization and now asking Congress to postpone a vote.
- Finally, and most importantly, I take seriously the strongly expressed opinions of my constituents, who are overwhelmingly opposed to military action in Syria and are justifiably skeptical that the President's ill-defined plan for a half-hearted military strike would make the American people more safe.
The President's indecision and vacillation on Syria underscores the fact that he does not have a coherent foreign policy approach to the Middle East and reinforces my opposition to authorizing the use of force in Syria. Although I view with skepticism the agreement reached with Russia to secure and remove chemical weapons from Syria, I will continue to closely monitor the Administration's efforts to resolve their crisis through diplomacy.
If the President once again shifts course and returns to the idea of asking Congress to authorize the use of military force, I will vote "no."