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Welch Wants Debate Before U.S. Military Action In Syria

It’s not often that Democratic Congressman Peter Welch and Republican Rep. Michelle Bachman of Minnesota join together to co-sponsor legislation, but that’s exactly what has happened on a bill blocking the Obama Administration from taking any military action in Syria without the express approval of Congress.

Welch says Congress has a need and a right to be involved in this debate.

If Congress does not have to make a decision on military involvement it means there is never a debate - Rep. Peter Welch

“If there’s military involvement and that is a major decision for the people of this country, and a major expenditure, then Congress should be active in the debate and in the decision, not a passive bystander,” said Welch. “We’ve backed ourselves into situations; look at Iraq and look at Afghanistan where at the end of the day it’s been a huge expense and a bad outcome.”

Welch was part of a Congressional fact finding trip to the Syrian border several weeks ago and he says it’s clear that the situation there doesn’t lend itself to simple solutions. He feels it’s mistake to provide arms to anyone right now.

“This is a genuine civil war and the notion that we can micro manage the outcome and carefully calibrate who we give the arms to with confidence that they’ll be quote the good guys and have confidence that the arms won’t end up in the hands of quote the bad guys I think is a stretch,” said Welch.

Republican senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is a sponsor of a similar bill in the Senate. Welch says this is one of those issues where he and Senator Paul are in agreement.

“Both of us have a common ground in believing in accountable government and limited government and if Congress doesn’t have to make a decision on military involvement it means there’s never a debate,” said Welch.

Welch says he hopes to force a discussion on this legislation in the coming weeks by attaching it as an amendment to an upcoming Defense Department Budget bill.

Humanitarian aid would not be included in Welch's bill. 

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