President Obama stands with Vice President Joe Biden as he makes a statement about Syria in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.
(Photo: Charles Dharapak, AP)
WASHINGTON (WXIA) -- With members of Congress returning to Washington on Monday, more of them are beginning to weigh in on their positions regarding a possible strike on Syria.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, (R) GA, who, at first, was supporting a military strike against Syria, late Monday afternoon announced he will vote against a military strike. "It is clear to me that Georgians overwhelmingly oppose our country getting involved militarily in Syria," Isakson's statement said. "The administration's lack of a clear strategy is troubling, and the potential fallout following a military strike is also troubling."
Rep. Tom Graves (R - 14th District) announced from Washington Monday evening that after attending a classified briefing, he would vote No.
"The Obama Administration has not provided a clear or convincing strategy for inserting our military into the conflict," Graves said. "I am also deeply concerned about the extent to which al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists are involved in the rebellion. President Obama has made clear his opinion that this situation does not currently present a direct or imminent threat to the United States."
Rep. Paul Broun's (R-10th District) office contacted 11Alive News Monday morning to note his opposition to military action in Syria. The office released a formal statement from the Congressman.
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"I do not believe America should be militarily involved in Syria. Without there being any direct threat to American national security, I do not find military intervention in Syria to be within our national interest, particularly in our current economic state," Broun's statement said.
And Rep. Doug Collins, (R - 9th District) also announced he will vote No to a military strike.
So, as of Monday, eight of Georgia's 14 House members, all Republicans, were on record opposing military action. Georgia's five Democrats in the House, as well as Rep. Tom Price, (R - 6th District), had not announced their positions, yet.
GRAPHIC | Where members of Congress stand on Syria
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, (R) GA, said on Fox and Friends, on Fox News, Friday morning that although he still supports some sort of action against Syria, he wants to see the exact wording of the Senate resolution before he decides for sure whether he will vote Yes.
"We'll just have to see what the final form of that resolution turns out to be before anybody can really say whether or not you support the resolution," Chambliss said.
Chambliss was among a group of influential Republican lawmakers at a dinner meeting with President Obama and Vice-President Biden Sunday night to discuss possible military action in Syria.
MORE | Continuing coverage of the trouble in Syria
The members of the House of Representatives and the Senate returned to formal session Monday afternoon. Debate is expected to begin immediately, with votes in both bodies potentially happening as soon as Wednesday.
As of late last week, six Georgia Republicans from the House said they planned to vote against a military strike in Syria - Representatives Jack Kingston (R, GA1); Lynn Westmoreland (R, GA3); Rob Woodall (R, GA7); Austin Scott (R, GA8); Paul Broun (R, GA10) and Phil Gingrey (R, GA11).
The remaining Georgia Republicans in the House - Representatives Tom Price (R, GA6); Doug Collins (R, GA9) and Tom Graves (R, GA14) -- as of Friday evening were saying they were not ready say how they would vote.
The members of Georgia's Democratic House delegation - Representatives Sanford Bishop (D, GA2); Hank Johnson (D, GA4); John Lewis (D, GA5); John Barrow (D, GA12) and David Scott (D, GA13) -- had not, as of Monday, declared their intentions one way or the other yet.
Johnson said he remained "deeply skeptical that use of force in Syria is in our national interest."
Barrow and David Scott both said they were concerned that a military strike could lead the U.S. into another war.
Lewis and Bishop both said they would decide after seeing classified briefings this week.
Georgia's senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, both Republicans, said, at first, they supported the President's proposal for a military strike against Syria.
House of Representatives
Jack Kingston (R, 1st District) - No
"As the crisis in Syria poses no direct threat to the US, President Obama should seek congressional authorization before sending our troops." - 8/29
Sanford Bishop (D, 2nd District) - Undecided
No formal statement at this point.
Lynn Westmoreland (R, 3rd District) - No
"As most of you know, Syria is in the middle of a violent civil war. According to the latest media reports, the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against its own people and now President Obama is considering some type of a military intervention in Syria.
However, Article II, Section 8 of the US Constitution clearly gives Congress, and not the president, the power to "provide for the common defense" and "to declare war." Therefore, any use of military force in or against Syria must be authorized by Congress. That is why I signed on to a letter with my colleagues in the House urging President Obama to "consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of US military force in Syria." We cannot allow this president to ignore the Constitution, once again, and get our country involved in what is clearly a religious-based civil war in an unstable region without authorization by Congress. It is our constitutional responsibility and I refuse to sit by and let President Obama trample all over our Constitution any more than he already has.
There is also a larger issue here as to whether or not the United States should so cavalierly be involving ourselves in every internal dispute in the Middle East. I agree that the reports out of Syria of the staggering death toll and the reported use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime are troubling. But that does not mean that the United States should intervene. This is a complicated situation and there are conflicting reports about exactly what is happening. While it is certainly not easy to sit back and watch some of what is being reported on the news, we should not get involved without all of the information. We do not want a repeat of what happened with US military intervention in Libya back in March 2011. Then, President Obama bypassed Congress - like he is attempting to do now - and directed the military to conduct missile strikes to enforce a no-fly zone. Eighteen months later, the Libyan Ambassador and four other Americans were brutally murdered in Libya. And now, more than two years later, that country is still unstable and the situation is not getting any better.
Until we are able to get accurate information about exactly who the rebels are and what their long-term plans are if they win out, the United States needs to be very careful about getting involved in Syria. And the president should not unilaterally make a decision that could involve our country in an unwinnable war." - 9/02 (via web site)
Hank Johnson (D, 4th District) - Undecided
"I don't believe the President needs Congressional approval to conduct limited strikes in Syria, however I respect his decision to seek authorization. At this time, I'm deeply skeptical that use of force is in our national interest." - 9/02
John Lewis (D, 5th District) - Undecided
"Once Congressional debate begins and the Congress has had a full briefing, we will make a statement. We do not want to do so without that preparation." - 9/02
Tom Price (R, 6th District) - Undecided
"President Obama imposed his self-determined 'red line' over a year ago warning Syria that action would follow the use of chemical weapons. He then ignored the use of those same weapons this past spring. Clearly, leading from behind has consequences. It has been my firm stance that a vote must be taken in Congress to authorize the use of military force, and President Obama has stated that he will now seek congressional approval for military action in Syria. This new-found interest in what Congress thinks about anything is enormously welcome, and Congress will thoughtfully and deliberately evaluate information presented by the administration. It will require, however, that the president coherently present his rationale and strategic goals that may be accomplished by his plan. While we condemn the horrific murder of innocent people within Syria, the United States must determine whether or not our national security interest is best served by military intervention." - 9/02
Rob Woodall (R, 7th District) - No
"Our Founding Fathers provided the President with the power as Commander-in-Chief to use our Armed Forces in the event of attacks against the United States and its interests. Sometimes when those attacks have occurred an immediate response by a President is required. Such is not the case with Syria. In Syria, the President created a "red line" and threatened action if it was crossed, and in doing so he backed America and himself into a corner. Now that we are in that corner, but with no immediate new threat to the American homeland, the President must not act alone. He should come to Congress immediately, not behind closed doors but in a special session for all Americans to see, and he must make his case for the involvement of American forces in Syria's civil war.
I joined a group of my colleagues in the House this week in sending a letter to the President expressing our commitment to have Congress reconvene immediately, should he feel military action is necessary, so that the voice of the American people can be heard on this issue. With the facts that I know now, I do not support an American attack on Syria, but if an attack is what the President wants, I welcome him to come to Capitol Hill and make his case to Congress and all of America." - 9/01 (via web site)
Austin Scott (R, 8th District) - No
"I am following the developments in Syria closely given my position on the House Armed Services Committee. In this situation, we must proceed with extreme caution.
"While I'm concerned with the use of chemical weapons and deeply troubled by the attacks against innocent civilians in Syria, we must have a thoughtful debate over the merits, goals and consequences of U.S. military involvement in that country.
"At this time, given the information I have been presented on the current state of affairs, I do not believe we have sufficient evidence which would necessitate a U.S. military strike on Syria." - 9/06
Doug Collins (R, 9th District) - Undecided
No statement as of this point.
Paul Broun (R, 10th District) - No
"I do not believe America should be militarily involved in Syria. Without there being any direct threat to American national security, I do not find military intervention in Syria to be within our national interest, particularly in our current economic state." - 9/09
Phil Gingrey (R, 11th District) - No
No statement released as of this point.
John Barrow (D, 12th District) - Undecided
"Any proposal should outline what we hope to achieve, and how we expect to achieve it, but we should not authorize anything that could draw us into another land war. It's important for Congress to debate the issue and vote on it, and the sooner the better. In fact, Congress should immediately return to Washington to get this debate underway." - 9/3 (via email)
David Scott (D, 13th District) - Undecided
"We need to put a pause button on this. This President does not need to be suckered into a situation where he's out there all alone. Before we commit any resources, any of our sons and daughters on the line, we want to make damn sure we know what we're doing and not make the same mistakes we've made in Iraq." - 9/2 (via telephone interview)
Tom Graves (R, 14th District) - No
"I intend to vote against authorizing the president to use military force in Syria. The Obama Administration has not provided a clear or convincing strategy for inserting our military into the conflict. I am also deeply concerned about the extent to which al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists are involved in the rebellion. President Obama has made clear his opinion that this situation does not currently present a direct or imminent threat to the United States. If a resolution to authorize force fails to pass, the president must refrain from engaging militarily in Syria." - 9/09
Saxby Chambliss (R) - Yes
"I believe the evidence is clear that the president's red-line was crossed long ago, and the United States must respond. However, while I appreciate the president seeking congressional approval, he should have already presented Congress with a strategy and objectives for military action, including what impact this will have on our allies and enemies alike in the region. Leadership is about reacting to a crisis, and quickly making the hard and tough decisions. The president should have demanded Congress return immediately and debate this most serious issue." - 8/31
Johnny Isakson (R) - No
Here is Isakson's statement on August 31, supporting a military strike: "It is appropriate for the president to seek authorization from Congress, although I wish he would have called us back to vote on this immediately rather than waiting until Sept. 9. I support the use of military action in Syria. If we fail to take strong action against Syria for this horrendous attack, then we are sending a signal to Syria as well as to Iran and North Korea that they are accountable to no one." - 8/31
Here is Isakson's statement on September 9, saying he had decided to vote against a military strike: "After carefully weighing this very important issue, I have decided that I will vote against the resolution to authorize a U.S. military strike in Syria. Over the past week, I have traveled my state and have talked personally to hundreds of Georgians. Thousands more constituents have contacted my office by phone and email. It is clear to me that Georgians overwhelmingly oppose our country getting involved militarily in Syria. The administration's lack of a clear strategy is troubling, and the potential fallout following a military strike is also troubling." - 9/09
Given the overall Red State leanings of Georgia's electorate, combined with the anti-war voting records of pacifist Georgia Democrats in specific districts such as the 4th and 5th of the Atlanta area, this may end up being one of the rare instances where all 14 of Georgia's House members vote alike -- voting No -- for different reasons when votes are taken.
According to a USA Today survey of lawmakers, only 44 of the 533 members of the Senate and House have indicated they will support the use of military force in response to the use of chemical weapons by Syria. A much larger number -- 19 senators and 130 House members -- say they will oppose a resolution that would authorize military strikes.
As our lawmakers continue to provide information and details regarding their decisions and the reasons for them, we will update this article to reflect those positions.