Nevada delegation undecided on Syria
September 3, 2013
Members of Nevada's congressional delegation were noncommittal Tuesday on whether they will support President Barack Obama's call for military action in Syria.
After a White House meeting Tuesday, leaders of both parties in Congress said they are convinced Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his own people and that the United States should respond.
Making that case to other members of Congress and their constituents could be a harder sell.
On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the use of military force against Syria is "both justified and necessary."
Reid said the United States has a "moral obligation" and national security interest in "defending innocent lives against such atrocities."
"Assad must be held accountable for his heinous acts and the world looks to us for leadership," Reid said, adding the Senate will vote on a resolution no later than next week.
But Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Nevada's four U.S. House members took a more cautious approach.
They want more information on what any proposed military action would entail and how it would be in the best interest of the United States.
Heller continues to "listen and weigh all sides of the argument," spokeswoman Chandler Smith said. Heller has called reports of chemical strikes against innocent victims appalling and said military action should be considered "as a last resort."
Republican Rep. Joe Heck was encouraged that Obama agreed to seek congressional approval before ordering a strike but he has reservations about what military action would accomplish beyond punishing the Assad regime, spokesman Greg Lemon said.
Fellow Republican Rep. Mark Amodei also urged congressional authorization before using military force. He was expected back in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday for a member briefing on Syria, his office said.
Democratic Reps. Dina Titus and Steven Horsford said the United States must have clear objectives before launching a strike.
"The president must demonstrate to the American people and Congress that any use of military force would be strategic, effective and short term and promote our national security and stability in the Middle East," Titus said.
She urged her constituents to share their opinions on her Facebook page or by calling her office.
Horsford said he hasn't decided whether he will vote to authorize military force, but said any discussion "must consider the best interests of our country, those we are trying to help and the international community."