Gannett – Miss. lawmakers weigh on Syria

Mississippi lawmakers welcomed President Barack Obama’s announcement Saturday that he will seek congressional approval before taking military action in Syria.

“I respect the president’s decision to seek congressional approval for any military force in Syria,” Rep. Gregg Harper, R-3rd District, tweeted. “I stand ready to evaluate his plans.”

Mississippi Republicans, including Steve Palazzo, 4th District, and Alan Nunnelee, 1st District, joined more than 140 other lawmakers in signing a letter earlier in the week calling for Obama to get congressional approval before taking military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Administration officials said Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against its own people, including children, in that country’s civil war.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, 2nd District, the only Democrat in the delegation, said late Friday he did not support military action.

In his announcement Saturday, Obama said congressional leaders will schedule a debate and a vote when lawmakers return to Washington in a week.

“In the coming days, my administration stands ready to provide every member with the information they need to understand what happened in Syria and why it has such profound implications for America’s national security,” Obama said. “And all of us should be accountable as we move forward, and that can only be accomplished with a vote.”

Mississippi lawmakers have said they would be willing to return to Washington early to debate action in Syria. But they raised serious questions about what action the country should take.