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U.S. Rep. Paulsen says current Syria resolution too broad

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under 3rd District, Minnesota congressional, President Obama Updated: September 5, 2013 - 4:31 PM

Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen said on Thursday that he would vote ‘no’ on President Obama’s current request for approval of the use of force in Syria but would continue to study various proposals as they come forward.

Asked if he could see himself supporting a more limited resolution than what is currently on the table, Paulsen said: “I’ll look at every resolution that comes in front of me because this is something that you take very seriously in terms of putting troops in harm’s way. So I’ll look at everything.”

While the resolution that passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week authorizes “the limited and tailored use of the United States Armed Forces against Syria,” Paulsen said it was too broad to win his support.

U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen/ Star Tribune files

U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen/ Star Tribune files

“I remain still a skeptic of the existing resolution. There may be dueling resolutions and different support to do different things and we will have to kind of see how that falls out, but I’m a skeptic (of) the president’s request right now. It’s, again, very open-ended, very broad. It’s a very risky proposition. I’ve got concerns about getting involved in a Syrian civil war,” he said Thursday afternoon when asked reporters asked him about his stance. “I’m a 'no' on the existing request."

Congress as a whole has been leery about the use of force in Syria with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle expressing concerns. Among the Minnesota delegations, U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann, a Republican, and Rick Nolan, a Democrat, have both strongly come out in opposition.

Although House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, have both supported the use of force in Syria, Paulsen said he has gotten no pressure from his party over his views on the issue.

He said he believes the proper response to the accusation that Syrian government used of nerve gas on its own people  would be to rally the international community and make sure that there are war crimes that are charged. He said he would probably introduce a war crime resolution “to encourage that direction.”

 

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