Where they stand on the Syria resolution

We reached out today to the Bay Area’s House delegation and California’s U.S. Senators to see where they stand on President Obama’s draft resolution to authorize U.S. military action against the Assad regime in Syria.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Tuesday she definitely intends to support military action against Syria. “I will vote to support the president. The final text of the resolution is, as of yet, unknown, so I reserve the right to amend — for example, language to respond to a Syrian reprisal if necessary.”

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif, said at today’s Foreign Relations Committee hearing that she’ll support some sort of military-force resolution, but perhaps not the one Obama has proposed. “I believe America’s morality, America’s reputation and America’s credibility are on the line,” she said. “And I will support a targeted effort but not a blank check to respond to Syria’s unspeakable deeds to gas its own people to death.”

Rep. Sam Farr, D-Santa Cruz, definitely will oppose an attack on Syria, because prolonged involvement in another nation’s civil war “would leave us weak strategically while simultaneously increasing the suffering of the Syrian people,” he said in a statement issued Saturday. “Without the full support of our allies and a firm case that our national security is at risk, I cannot in good conscience vote now to commit our troops to war.”

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, also has made up her mind to oppose an attack. “We must respond to the heinous use of chemical weapons, but the danger of a military strike and its unintended consequences, including the possibility of further loss of life and the danger of escalated violence in the region, demand that we work with the international community and consider all the alternatives,” she said Tuesday.

Other local House members said it’s too early to decide.

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, said Tuesday that Obama’s draft resolution “is overly broad and therefore unacceptable as a starting point in this important debate.” It must be rewritten so Congress can consider only “a narrow and effective military strike to degrade the ability of the Assad government to use chemical weapons against its own citizens and to send a message to all nations that the United States and other countries will not tolerate the use of weapons of mass destruction.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, also said Tuesday that the resolution is too broad for him to support as is. “I will consider a limited U.S. military response. However, I want to make clear that I stand in strong opposition to putting troops on the ground,” he said. “Any resolution to authorize force must have clear language limiting the scope and duration of American involvement.”

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, is still monitoring the situation, spokesman Austin Vevurka said Tuesday. “He does not take the decision to authorize the use military force lightly and will not commit to voting one way or the other until he knows exactly what the authorization bill will look like, and has reviewed all the intelligence,” Vevurka said, adding Thompson wants an international coalition as part of any military response.

Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, said Tuesday that she’s “skeptical but studying the question,” a day after she and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, jointly wrote a letter to National Security Advisor Susan Rice seeking more information. They asked Rice to specify the exact goal of a U.S. attack; what the United States would do if Syria used such weapons again even after a U.S. attack, or if Syria retaliated against Israel, Turkey or Lebanon; which allies will join the U.S. in such an attack; and what an attack’s implications would be for U.S.-Russian relations.

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, said he won’t “support any U.S. military action that is unilateral or largely unilateral or any actions that draws us into the complicated sectarian civil war in Syria. But if Assad is indeed responsible for these brutal chemical weapons attacks, I will support building a multilateral international coalition to hold him accountable and deter further chemical weapons attacks.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, wrote to her House colleagues Tuesday telling them it’s up to them to decide. “It is in our national interest to respond to the Syrian government’s unspeakable use of chemical weapons,” she wrote, but “the shape and content of the final resolution will depend on what (House) members can support.”

“I look forward to working together on this challenge in the coming days,” she wrote. “For many, ignoring Bashar Al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons is a luxury humanity simply cannot afford.”

I’d asked lawmakers to respond by 3 p.m. today. I’ve not yet received answers from Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton; Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose; and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo.

UPDATE @ 3:29 P.M.: Add Mike Honda to the list of those who apparently are leaning against a military strike on Syria. “There are many problems that could be exacerbated by an extended U.S. intervention, including the spread of violence to neighboring states, an increase in the al Qaeda presence in Syria, and the overwhelming impact refugees are having on their neighbors,” he said today. “I firmly believe that true stability in the region will only be achieved through long-term diplomatic commitment and broad international support.”

UPDATE @ 9:53 A.M. WEDNESDAY: McNerney spokeswoman Lauren Smith sent this statement this morning: “The Congressman continues to review the information and monitor the situation. The decision to use military force is a serious one. He will make a final decision after a House floor debate concludes and the details of the authorization bill are known. He believes that President made the right decision in seeking congressional approval.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR Senile Columnist

    From the archives: B. Lee, speaking Sept 3, 1941: We must make it clear to the Axis nations that we demand they immediately withdraw from the lands they have overrun. While the President has pointed out there aren’t many countries still at peace, it would be totally irresponsible for Americans to resort to violence. The warring lands cannot afford to fight much longer. We have urgent tasks at home. We can’t afford another war.

  • Publius

    The evolution of Nancy “the Hawk” Pelosi.

    In 1991 Nancy voted against the first Iraq war
    UN resolution
    Congressional approval
    International Coalition
    Republican President

    In 2002 Nancy voted against the second Iraq war
    UN resolution
    Congressional approval
    International Coalition
    Republican President

    In 2007 Nancy opposed the “surge” in Iraq
    With in a year the strategy was successful
    Republican President

    In 2013 Nancy is pushing for Military action in Syria.
    No UN resolution
    No international Coalition
    Doubtful congressional approval
    Democratic President

    From dove to hawk. All it took was a Dem president.

  • JohnW

    A KGO talk show host yesterday (a liberal) made a good point. She said that if you want to correct your dog’s behavior, you have to do it at the time he does something bad. Yelling at him for pooping on the carpet a week earlier doesn’t do much good.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    Boxer & Feinstein are typical Jewish Senators. Attack & kill any & all possible enemies of Israel. Even if it starts World War 3. They are the same brain dead Senators always screaming for gun control. How can the people of California keep re-electing these hypocrites? Oh! The corrupt maninstream media loves them, as much as they love higher taxes.

  • Elwood

    Brucey, you should get out of the toy business.

    You’ve been sniffing too much glue.

  • RR Senile Columnist

    Brucie: Boxer, Feinstein, Obama. It’s a Muslim-Jewish conspiracy!

  • For Liberty

    A good example of the DANGERS of party politics. Throw principles out the window, as long as we stand behind our man, so we’ll make the list for the next White House dinner/s.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    I agree with Mike Honda. He sounds like the most intelligent politician of the bunch. I wonder what’s with the talk about him being to old? He’s 10 years younger than Senator Dianne Goldman. If he was that old, he would have stories about his time in the concentration camps.

  • James B.

    Swalwell is all in favor of bombing Syria, invading Syria, etc. His public “deliberation” is a sham. Swalwell is AIPAC’s “boy” and always has been. He will do what’s best for Israel first. Why do you think that he was AIPAC’s “special guest” in Israel this summer, as reported in the Political Blotter blog? He is a warmonger, just like his mentor Ellen Tauscher was back in 2002-03 with Iraq. He’s the Bay Area’s “little Joe Lieberman.” Citizens of his district need to question him very intensely. He also needs to be asked whether or not he agrees with Tauscher’s decision to start the Iraq War. This boy Swalwell is mostly unknown — and very dangerous as his loyalties are not with the people of his district, but rather to one of the most powerful and shady lobbies in Washington.

  • Alcoahead

    @9 —

    It would appear that the Corbett for Congress campaign has formally begun…and I’m impressed by the spelling, punctuation, and overall sentence structure — quite un-troll-like.

    [Just for the record, no, I am NOT “James B.”]