As the full Congress gets ready to take up the debate on Syria, the fault lines between Democrats and Republicans are becoming even more evident. Two members from opposing parties, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), joined The Daily Rundown to discuss their views on the issue.
Connolly said that he doesn’t support Obama’s proposal on Syria because it’s “overly broad, it’s open ended and it’s not going to pass the House of Representatives,“ and is instead joining forces with fellow Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) to write a more narrow proposal.
Connolly, who said he realizes the shadow of the Iraq War weighs on the public, argued that the situations are completely different.
“We’re not speculating whether the weapons exist–they do. We’re not speculating about whether he used them–he did,” Connolly said. “And we’re not talking about a president who’s hungering and thirsting and can’t wait to invade another country.”
Furthermore, he believes President Obama “needs to go on television and explain” these differences more publicly and to talk personally with members of Congress. The president, speaking from Russia Friday, said he will address the public from the White House next Tuesday, Sept. 10.
Kinzinger, a proponent for the Democratic president’s military strike on Syria on the other hand, agrees that the U.S. needs to take action in Syria if it would like to maintain its credibility.
“We’ve held very strong to the fact that chemical weapons are not acceptable” and failure to enforce the red line against chemical weapons means that we’ve “lost legitimacy to enforce a chemical weapons ban anytime into the future,” said Kinzinger.
His support for Obama’s proposal, however, doesn’t mean that he isn’t criticizing Obama’s lack of clarity and leadership on the issue. Obama, he said, “needs to be all over the television selling this to the American people.”