WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning) will be in Chautauqua County later today as part of his effort to seek public input regarding the possibility of the U.S. using military intervention in Syria. On Monday, Reed announced that he would be visiting six different locations in his district between Tuesday and today, including stops at the JCC Campus in Olean today at noon and also Dunkirk City Hall this afternoon at 3 p.m.
Reed said he is trying to garner as much public input as possible prior to a congressional vote on military action. The resolution, brought forward by the president, calls for the U.S. to take military action against Bashar Assad’s regime. But Congressman Reed said that unless more evidence can be brought forward by the President showing that military force is needed, it’s unlikely he’ll support the resolution.
“It’s dangerous and absent some compelling information to the contrary, I am not going to support this,” Reed said on Tuesday. “To me the risk of escalation is great. The lack of having a consistent foreign policy in regards to the Middle East by this president has contributed a significant amount to the place we now find ourselves and a final point – for me – is that its time to focus on America rather than these military operations overseas.”
Reed also said that although he is against the use of chemical weapons against citizens – which is what President Obama is accusing the Syrian government of doing – he still doesn’t support using U.S. military action unless there is a direct threat against American people or American interests.
The use of chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction is something that is despicable, appalling and is something that I am very concerned about,” Reed explained. “But what we need to make sure we are doing is that we are not running the risk of escalating the situation in the Middle East that the president’s proposed, limited military strikes runs the risk of doing.”
As for today’s public meetings, Reed says he’s encouraging anyone who has a thought on Syrian intervention to come out and share their feelings with him or send them to him via email or by calling his office.
Meanwhile, other federal legislators from New York are divided on whether to authorize U.S. military action against Syria. Chautauqua County’s previous congressman, Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo), is against using any force, saying the U.S. should not involve itself with what is basically a Civil War taking place in another country. Both Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand favor limited military action that would not involve U.S. ground troops operating in Syria.
The House and Senate will return to the capital next week to vote on military action against Syria.