Congress is preparing to debate and vote on whether to authorize the President to launch a military strike against Syria for its use of chemical weapons against its own citizens. All five members of West Virginia’s Congressional delegation have made comments about the Syrian situation and several are on the record with definitive positions. Here’s where they stand.
–West Virginia 3rd District Congressman Nick Rahall supports a military strike. The Democrat said in an interview on Metronews Talkline, “It has to be a surgical strike. It has to be a penetrating strike at sites of high value from which this chemical warfare was launched. It has to be very limited in scope with no boots on the ground.”
Rahall adds that since the President stated last year that the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” U.S. credibility is at stake. The U.S. must demonstrate that it will back up its words with actions.
–2nd District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito opposes military action, but with a caveat. The Republican said on Talkline that she would remain in opposition, unless the Administration could use supporting intelligence to convince her otherwise.
“I’ve been in Congress for a long enough time to know that just because the intelligence says it’s so on first blush, I’m not sure we’re all going to accept that without the deep detail that I think we need to have and that the President should bring to Congress,” Capito said.
–David McKinley, the Republican 1st District Congressman, is on record against a limited military strike. “We’re not the police enforcement of the world,” McKinley said on Talkline. “I think the President has other tools in his toolbox and he should use those things.”
McKinley added that after 12 years in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans are war weary.
–On the Senate side, Democrat Joe Manchin is hesitant about a strike, but he has not yet reached a final decision. “Whether we take control and jump in there, it just makes more of an adversarial relationship with the Arab world,” Manchin told Metronews. “I would be very reluctant to do that.”
However, Manchin added that he will keep an open mind, saying he wants to “have all the facts and intelligence available to me before the Senate begins debate on the authorization of force.”
Senator Jay Rockefeller has said the least so far of any member of the delegation. The Democrat did, however, issue a statement Tuesday through spokesman Andrew Beckner saying the Senator is “reviewing the information provided by the White House and plans to attend classified briefings of the Senate Intelligence Committee this week.”
Beckner went on to say that Rockefeller “believes that any vote to authorize the use of force must be based on careful consideration of all the facts, as well as a full vetting of the accuracy of the underlying intelligence.”