Local lawmakers say Congress needs to be consulted on any action against Syria

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on August 28, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 10:03 AM

NORFOLK-Hampton Roads' congressional delegation is of one mind as tensions in Syria grow and talk of a U.S. military strike grows louder in the wake of an apparent chemical weapons attack.

They're urging President Barack Obama to consult Congress prior to any engagement of the U.S. military there.  

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-2nd District) is pushing lawmakers to sign his letter urging the president not to act without them. 

Rigell went on several network TV and radio shows and is using the power of social media - his Twitter feed -  to ask for support and to keep his followers up to date on that effort.

At 5:45 p.m., the Republican tweeted "FINAL TALLY: 116 Members of Congress (98 Republicans and 18 Democrats)"

Among those on board is Rep. Randy Forbes (R-4th).  He told 13News Now on Wednesday, "We are stretched so thin. Doing military action in Syria would be incredibly difficult right now, number one. Number two, you've got a situation where many of our experts say if we do any significant action, we could be locked in there for 10 years."

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-3rd District) hasn't signed the letter, but in a statement Tuesday, he said, "The revelations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against innocent civilians are alarming. As the President continues to deliberate with our allies on how to respond to these atrocities, I fully expect the President to consult with Congress on what level of involvement, if any, our military should have."

U.S. officials say a response most likely would involve sea-launched cruise missile attacks on Syrian military targets. Logistical and military considerations could also play a role in determining when the U.S. and others take action. Military experts and U.S. officials said strikes probably would come during the night, a strategy that could help minimize civilian casualties.

Four Norfolk-based destroyers, the USS Gravely, USS Mahan, USS Ramage and USS Barry, are currently stationed in the eastern Mediterranean.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the military is ready to strike if the order comes.

Meantime, at the United Nations, the five permanent members of the Security Council have been meeting informally to discuss the language of a draft resolution that would authorize the use of military force against Syria.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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