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Inside the Beltway

Washington politics and government with a New Mexico flavor

Updated with Rep. Lujan: Heinrich weighs in on Syria; Udall participating in Syria hearing today

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Sen. Martin Heinrich on Monday said President Obama is right to seek congressional approval on any military intervention in Syria, and Sen. Tom Udall will take part in a Senate hearing on the volatile topic this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Obama’s proposal to take limited military action in Syria, which appeared in grave jeopardy over the long holiday weekend, picked up some major steam today.

I asked members of the New Mexico congressional delegation to respond to the president’s proposal on Saturday, but could not reach Heinrich or Rep. Ben Ray Lujan for comment. You can read that story here.

Heinrich issued a statement Sunday that said in part that Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval “represents a return to a more constitutionally sound and serious approach to the issue of when American force is justified and appropriate.”

UPDATE: Rep. Ben Ray Lujan’s office just sent me this statement at 1:45 MT, in the midst of the Senate hearing on Syria.

“The President has made the right decision to seek authorization from Congress. The situation in Syria is complex and the country should have a vigorous debate over the best path forward” said Lujan, a New Mexico Democrat. “I will carefully examine the President’s plan in the face of the heinous acts by the Assad regime.  The use of chemical weapons against innocent people is deeply disturbing, but we must have a serious discussion on how best to address the crisis in Syria.”

I’ve included Heinrich’s full statement below.

In about an hour – at 12:30 New Mexico time – Udall is likely to offer fresh remarks on the Syrian proposal during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which he is a member. You can watch that here.

Here is Heinrich’s full statement:

“I want to commend President Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval for military action against the Assad regime in Syria.  His choice represents a return to a more Constitutionally sound and serious approach to the issue of when American force is justified and appropriate.

“As I have said in the past, I am firmly against putting U.S. troops in harm’s way in Syria and I do not believe we should become directly involved in the Syrian Civil War.  Additionally, I continue to oppose arming opposition groups that, too often, are working arm-in-arm with  al-Qa’ida affiliates such as the Al-Nusra Front. 

“However, having carefully reviewed the evidence, it is evident that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on a broad scale against civilian non-combatants and even children.  Assad has willfully committed war crimes against his own people.  The question at hand is what to do about it.

“My decision on any resolution for the authorization of military force will be guided by what our country and the international community could hope to achieve through those actions.  I believe that if America is to use military force it must not be an

“I want to commend President Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval for military action against the Assad regime in Syria.  His choice represents a return to a more Constitutionally sound and serious approach to the issue of when American force is justified and appropriate.

“As I have said in the past, I am firmly against putting U.S. troops in harm’s way in Syria and I do not believe we should become directly involved in the Syrian Civil War.  Additionally, I continue to oppose arming opposition groups that, too often, are working arm-in-arm with  al-Qa’ida affiliates such as the Al-Nusra Front. 

“However, having carefully reviewed the evidence, it is evident that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on a broad scale against civilian non-combatants and even children.  Assad has willfully committed war crimes against his own people.  The question at hand is what to do about it.

“My decision on any resolution for the authorization of military force will be guided by what our country and the international community could hope to achieve through those actions.  I believe that if America is to use military force it must not be an undefined and open-ended commitment, but rather a narrow and forceful action designed to minimize the illegal use of chemical weapons in the future.

“If those goals can be achieved, I would urge the President to make that case to the Congress and to the American people.”

and open-ended commitment, but rather a narrow and forceful action designed to minimize the illegal use of chemical weapons in the future.

“If those goals can be achieved, I would urge the President to make that case to the Congress and to the American people.”

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