San Diegan politicians released statements Saturday on the debate over whether the U.S. should get involved in the Syrian conflict. From left to right, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Juan Vargas, Rep. Duncan Hunter and Rep. Susan Davis.
Reactions from local politicians over whether or not the U.S. should conduct military actions in Syria trickled in Saturday evening after President Barack Obama announced that he would seek congressional approval before getting the nation involved in the war-torn country.
At a press conference Saturday morning, President Obama discussed plans for U.S. military actions that he said would be of “limited duration and scope” against the Syrian regime, led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as a reaction to an alleged chemical attack that killed 1,429 people, including more than 400 children.
The President’s biggest reveal was that he would seek approval from Congress before launching any actions in Syria.
Congress is set to return from a five-week recess on Monday, Sept. 9. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said that the upper chamber would begin hearings on the issue next week, ahead of what he pledged would be a vote no later than the week of Sept. 9th.
On Saturday, reactions from local politicians over the President’s announcements were overwhelmingly positive.
At a press conference, U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas (D) shared his thoughts on the situation in Syria.
“If in fact chemical weapons were used to kill these people then I think we have to act,” said Vargas. “Because if not then I think you're going to see a larger, more emboldened group of people in this world wanting to use chemical weapons, maybe nuclear weapons, biological weapons. There has to be a price to pay."
Around the same time, U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) also released a statement to NBC 7:
"Given the situation at this time, the only responsible decision for the President was to request Congress make a decision on whether to authorize military action. In the coming days, Congress will review the same classified information the President has seen and both the House and Senate will be in a better position to make a judgment based on the facts."
U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (D) said she also looked forward to debating whether the U.S. should get involved. Davis released the following:
“In the spirit of the President's statement, I look forward to intense and rigorous meetings and debate prior to a vote of the Congress, which is the right thing to do.
“It is unconscionable for a government to use chemical weapons against its own people. Making a decision on what is in the best interests of the American people will take thoughtful and cautious deliberation.
"I have engaged on these issues before and am honored to represent my constituents at this very difficult time.”
In his statement, U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D) of the 52nd district mentioned the toll that past overseas endeavors by the U.S. have taken on San Diegans. His full statement is as follows:
“Reports that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against its own people, including children, are shocking. Acts like these are unconscionable and reprehensible. I understand President Obama’s concern that these atrocities not be ignored.
“As I consider the President’s request for support, I will need to determine our intended objective, the specific actions to be taken, the expected response, our exit strategy, and how these efforts will protect American interests both in the region and here at home. San Diegans have paid a particularly heavy price for our engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past decade.
"That's why I welcome the President's call for Congressional input on this very serious matter. This debate will allow Congress and the American people to have more clarity on the facts that have been gathered and on what our commitments will be moving forward. I personally look forward to a fully informed discussion in the coming weeks.”
NBC 7 reached out to Republican Darrell Issa. He has yet to respond.
Check back for updates on this developing story.