With the debate on Syria heading to Congress, U.S. Sen. Al Franken made plans to cut short a trip to northern Minnesota and return to Washington on Sunday.
The move comes as the White House has offered up classified briefings to members of Congress on the alleged chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime against as many as 1,500 civilians, many of the children.
The White House, announcing it would seek congressional approval before taking any military action in Syria, also briefed senators by telephone Saturday.
Among them was Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, who praised the president’s decision to consult with Congress before launching an attack.
“The decision to allow Congress to debate will give us the ability to carefully consider the evidence and consult with military officials before making a decision,” she said in a statement. “I continue to strongly believe that we should not have American troops on the ground in Syria. I also urge the President to continue to work with our international allies."
Franken was not able to make a conference call Saturday, according to his staff. But he issued a statement in light of the president’s remarks:
“There are no good options on Syria. But as I’ve said, the use of chemical weapons to kill over a thousand people and injure many more is a horrendous act, and there have to be consequences for that. Whatever action the United States takes, it has to be limited action. This can’t be an open-ended commitment, and it definitely should not lead to American boots on the ground. ”
The Senate is scheduled to begin committee hearings on Syria this week. The House is not scheduled to return until Sept. 9. Already, disparate voices such as Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann, a critic of President Obama, and Minnesota Democrat Rick Nolan, a veteran of the anti-war movement in the Vietnam era, have warned against military action in Syria.
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