PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon’s national political leaders weighed the debate over a military strike on Syria during the long holiday weekend.
Most of Oregon’s congressional delegation met with constituents at an annual Labor Day picnic at a local amusement park.
The members of congress all welcomed the President seeking their approval for limited military action, but some seemed more inclined to support him than others.
“This is an important decision. The use of chemical weapons is horrific, but we need to make sure we have all the information to make an informed decision in congress,” said Democratic congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici.
Congressman Kurt Schrader, also a Democrat, insisted that more international support is needed for a military strike. He called on the United Nations to lead the way.
“Our security is not at stake. What we need right here at the Labor Day picnic is to create jobs and get our own economy going. We don’t want to spend any more damn money in some foreign country when people are suffering here at home,” he said.
Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley welcomed the debate, but also shared concerns that Syrian President Basher al-Assad would have time to react to a potential strike.
“I’m sure he’s engaged in making it more difficult for the U.S. and international community to respond. On the other hand, the War Powers Act does require the President to consult congress, so he’s doing the right thing,” said Merkley.
Senior Senator Ron Wyden, who serves on the Select Intelligence Committee, said he believes there is time for debate, without losing an edge on Assad.
“The biggest challenge in my view, looking back at history, is -- what are the options for our country after there is a strike particularly when there is a civil war?” he said.