Foreign Policy
10:47 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Illinois Lawmakers Back Obama's Action

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, left, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, left, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin

President Obama's statement on Syria has drawn responses from Illinois' elected representatives.

On Saturday, the president said the White House plans to take military action against Syria's regime for its use of chemical weapons, but added that he first will  seek approval from Congress.

16th District Congressman Adam Kinzinger says if he is asked to go to Washington right away, he would support taking military action. But the Republican says the longer it takes to get approval, the action taken by U.S. forces becomes less effective.

"What we've done is we've given [Bashar] Assad a week to plan, to know what's going to happen," Kinzinger said.

Congress is on recess until September 9. President Obama said he believes he has the authority to act without Congress but added, "I know the country will be stronger if we take this course." Kinzinger says while he currently supports a limited military strike, details from the White House in the coming days could change his mind. He says he looks forward to the debate, while acknowledging that many Americans are war-weary.

Meanwhile, Illinois's senior U.S. Senator, Democrat Dick Durbin, says President Obama made the right call by turning to Congress about a possible military strike in Syria.

Before he can back a military response, Durbin wants to hear the president’s plan.

“Of course if anyone attacks the United States, there’s no question of his authority as commander and chief, ” Durbin said. "But, in this case, we’re dealing with an atrocity which occurred within another foreign country – not an ally of the United States -- and what our responsibility might be.

"This is new territory for a president to embark on, ” he added. "I can hardly think of many examples in the past quite like this."

Echoing what the president said, Durbin says he would not support troops on the ground in Syria.

More Congressional Reaction

Representative Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline) calls the chemical weapons attack on Syrians "unthinkable and a horrible reality." She says while a U.S. response is deserved, she needs more questions answered before  Congress can determine "the most appropriate course of action." 


 “The President is right to include Congress on this decision. Now we must debate on the best response, if any, by our country.  If we can take steps to reign in Assad’s use of chemical weapons without engaging in a war and committing troops, I’m open to weighing courses of action with a clear purpose and defined end goals.”

Congressman Bill Foster (D-Naperville) is one of four members of Congress from Illinois invited to attend a classified briefing Sunday regarding Syria.  Bill Enyart of Belleville, Mike Quigley of Chicago, and Brad Schneider of Deerfield also attended the meeting. Foster says he wants to make sure President Obama's powers are limited in scope when it comes to using use of force.