WASHINGTON (AP) - House Speaker John Boehner is calling on President Barack Obama to personally explain to the nation and Congress how U.S. military action against Syria will secure American national security.
Boehner sent a letter to the president on Wednesday. The Ohio Republican also pressed for legal justification for any use of U.S. military force in response to the Obama administration's contention that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its people.
In the letter, Boehner pointed out that he has been supportive of Obama's calls for Syrian President Bashar Assad to resign and administration policy to date.
Boehner asked Obama to specifically address a number of questions, including the effect of possible U.S. military strikes and contingency plans if Syria retaliates against U.S. allies in the region.
9NEWS asked each member of Colorado's congressional delegation if they think the U.S. should take immediate action against Syria.
Rep. Diana DeGette, (D) 1st District:
"The Syrian government's use of chemical weapons on its own people, including innocent women and children, is abhorrent and inexcusable. The Administration should work alongside our allies to determine an appropriate response."
Rep. Scott Tipton, (R) 3rd District:
"There is no scenario in which the use of chemical weapons on innocent civilians is acceptable, and I'm deeply troubled by reports that this has occurred in Syria. As the President considers the course of action to respond to this developing situation, I encourage him to fulfill his obligation to consult with Congress before authorizing the use of military force, and explain the reasons for proposed actions to the American people. If there's an imminent threat to the US and/or our direct interests, under the War Powers Act, the President can take military action without consulting Congress-the current situation doesn't meet that criteria. Military action should be an absolute last resort, and I urge the President to consider a non-military response first."
Rep. Cory Gardner, (R) 4th District:
"If the allegations that the regime in Syria used chemical weapons are proved true, then this violation of human rights must be taken very seriously. President Obama must not act unilaterally, Congress must approve any military action. If this means Congress return to session immediately, then so be it."
Rep. Mike Coffman (R) 6th District:
"I would support the president if he did respond. But he should respond in a measured way. It merely sends a signal to the Assad regime not to use chemical weapons again. I don't think beyond that that this is our fight. I don't think beyond that we should be engaged in really what is a sectarian war between two major factions of Islam, Sunni and Shia. I think America's slow to realize that."
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) 7th District:
"The use of chemical weapons against innocent women, men and children in Syria is horrendous. I think there should be targeted military action against Syria to prevent further atrocities and the use of chemical weapons in the future."
The communications director for Senator Michael Bennet, Adam Bozzi, released this statement:
"Senator Bennet believes Syria's use of chemical weapons is deplorable. There has been a clear red line on chemical weapons and their use of these weapons should be condemned and come with consequences. "As we explore our options, we must be careful and measured due to the enormous challenges in the region and the complexity of the situation. Our military is already extended, Syria is engaged in a civil war, and several nations are experiencing unprecedented transition."
Earlier this week, Senator Mark Udall responded to Secretary of State John Kerry's call for accountability:
"As a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, I welcome Secretary Kerry and the administration's condemnation of the Syrian regime for the indiscriminate killing of its own people. Secretary Kerry reminded us that the president's 'red line' is about more than the Syrian conflict - it is about the regime's use of weapons that nearly all of the world's countries have recognized should be banned entirely," Udall said. "This line cannot be crossed without consequence.
"Secretary Kerry was clear that it is now a question of how, not whether, the United States will respond, but Congress still needs to hear from the president directly. More importantly, the president needs to explain his plan to the American people, who are understandably reluctant to support further military engagement in the Middle East. I have real concerns that any surgical strike could lead us into deeper involvement in a complicated civil war, but last week's attacks - and the Syrian regime's years-long war against its people - demonstrate that staying on the sidelines may carry risks just as grave."
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)