VIRGINIA (WAVY) - Delaying what had loomed as an imminent strike, President Barack Obama announced Saturday he will seek congressional approval before launching any military action meant to punish Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons in an attack that killed hundreds.
WAVY.com reached out to lawmakers representing the state of Virginia to hear their reaction to President Obama's speech.
Senator Tim Kaine said he is in favor of a limited military attack.
"This will not end well for the United States or other nations if the signal coming out of this is suddenly, after nearly a century, the use of chemical weapons is okay, we'll regret that,” said Sen. Kaine.
Earlier this week, Sen. Kaine and Representative Scott Rigell both spoke to 10 On Your Side, urging the president to consult Congress. Saturday, Kaine reiterated the importance of such discussion.
“The debate in Congress will also be an opportunity to educate Americans about what the choices are and what the consequences are,” he said.
Representative Scott Rigell of Virginia Beach was also very vocal this week about the president getting authorization from Congress before any military attack.
Senator Mark Warner said he supports the president's decision to seek authorization from Congress. In a statement he said, "The decision about whether or not to use military force in response to the Syrian atrocities raises significant issues that should be considered and debated by Congress."
Statement from Senator Tim Kaine:
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, released the following statement today in response to the President’s announcement that he will seek congressional authorization for military action in Syria:
“I strongly support the President’s decision to seek congressional approval of military action in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Our nation is stronger in military matters when we act in a united fashion. The opportunity to fully debate this difficult situation will help educate the American public about the important issues at stake and ultimately provide a political consensus that our servicemembers must be able to rely on.”
In July, Kaine announced efforts to reform the 1973 War Powers Resolution in a way that lays out a clear consultative process between Congress and the President on whether and when to engage in military action. Recently, Kaine has called for the President to fully consult with Congress before initiating military action in Syria and advocated a debate and authorization of military action, before or shortly after any strike occurs.
Statement from Congressman Scott Rigell:
Today Congressman Scott Rigell (VA-2) released the following statement:
"I applaud and respect President Obama’s decision to seek Congressional authorization for the use of military force in response to the tragic chemical attack in Syria.
"The debates that will take place in the House of Representatives and Senate will increase our understanding of the President's strategy. The votes that will follow will reflect the collective wisdom and the definitive position of the American people on the use of force in Syria as expressed by their elected representatives.
"Absent, though, was a commitment from President Obama to honor and adhere to the outcome of these votes. Setting that issue aside, I look forward to the House coming back into session and engaging in this critical debate. Only then, after all sides and voices are heard, can I cast a fully informed vote.
"President Obama seeking authorization is a very welcomed announcement, one that advances an adherence to our Constitution. That is good for every American, especially, I believe, for those who wear our nation’s uniform and would be called upon to execute any order that the President might issue."
Statement from Senator Mark Warner:
U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement today in response to the President's decision to seek congressional authorization for military action in Syria:
"I commend the President for the decision to seek authorization from Congress. The decision about whether or not to use military force in response to the Syrian atrocities raises significant issues that should be considered and debated by Congress. This debate will help define how America views its role as a world power.
"The tone that we use while having this discussion also is vitally important. These are issues that should not break down along typical partisan lines, and the debate will provide an opportunity to demonstrate that America's elected leadership can come together to resolve serious issues. People across the country and indeed around the world will be watching closely as the world's greatest democracy debates, and then decides, these important questions."
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