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N.M. delegation: Consult Congress

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WASHINGTON – Most Democrats in New Mexico’s congressional delegation said Tuesday that President Barack Obama is right to consider military intervention in Syria, while the delegation’s lone Republican said he opposed U.S. involvement.

Meanwhile, all five members of the delegation said Obama should consult with Congress before taking action.

Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the U.S. should consider a military response to use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.

“I remain opposed to arming the rebel forces and deeply concerned about Americans becoming further involved in the Syrian civil war, but I also believe the use of chemical weapons is an atrocity that must have consequences,” Udall said. “The president and Congress should consult about an appropriate response, in collaboration with the international community, and if military strikes are proposed as an option, Congress should vote on whether to authorize the use of force.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich’s office said it makes sense to consider “limited” military action in Syria, but the New Mexico Democrat said he would oppose putting any troops in the war-torn country.

“Senator Heinrich has grave concerns about the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against innocent civilians near Damascus last week,” said Heinrich spokeswoman Whitney Potter. “He believes the indiscriminate use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and warrants careful consideration of limited, military action by the United States. However, Senator Heinrich has very serious concerns about entangling our troops in another Middle Eastern war and would strongly oppose putting U.S. troops in Syria.”

Rep. Steve Pearce, the only Republican in New Mexico’s congressional delegation, said the U.S. should not intervene in Syria’s civil war.

“America cannot fight every battle – intervention in Syria would be a wrong and costly course,” Pearce said. “Before the president takes any action, he must consult and receive authorization from Congress.”

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., called consideration of military intervention “appropriate.”

“It is appropriate that the president, based on advice from military and national security leaders, as well as consultation with the congressional leadership, is considering taking action in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its own citizens,” she said. ” The United States must continue to work with the international community to hold the Assad regime accountable for the horrific slaughter of innocent people.”

Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., said Obama should seek input from Congress before intervening militarily in Syria, but didn’t say if he supports such action.

“The situation in Syria is complex and there should be a thorough discussion of the best path forward that prevents the further use of chemical weapons on innocent people,” Luján said.

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