90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Our Interviews With Three U.S. Congressmen on Syria

Part of President Obama’s plan last week on intervening in the ongoing Syrian crisis was that the United States Congress deserved to have a say in the way forward. Now that votes in the U.S. Senate have been delayed to see if a Russian proposal on chemical weapons removal advances, there’s a chance Congress won’t have to weigh in.

So what did members of Congress think about the President’s prime time speech to the nation on Tuesday evening? Were they convinced by his words on chemical weapons and international diplomacy? Or still stuck somewhere in the middle? We talked to Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) for their take on Syria and Congressional action. Highlights are below.

 

Rep. Michael Burgess, (R-TX)

“It was a Republican president, Dwight David Eisenhower in 1954 who said you should never get involved militarily for purely emotional reasons…

“I am grateful we are not putting our men and women into this conflict — where in my opinion they don’t belong — but I felt the same way about Libya. And of course, the President did not come to the Congress on Libya, he went to the international community and sort of made the announcement on plane runway on the way to Brazil…

“[However,]Once the troops are there, I would be supportive of whatever it takes to support the troops once they’re engaged.”

 

Alan Grayson (D-FL)

“I’m pleased that we’re not going to be immediately engaging in military intervention in Syria, and I think that i join something like 250 million other Americans in relief. I think we breathe a sigh of relief and we’re happy that we’re going to give peace a chance…

“However, having come to the Congress for our advice and consent, I think many of us feel a little disappointed that the President simply hasn’t listened to what we’ve been saying, which is that the specific attack that he has planned out would be pointless, would be dangerous and there are better options available…

“The purpose of getting the advice and consent of the Congress was, first of all, Congress has the constitutional authority to declare war. But secondly, we’re giving him meaningful advice. We’ve seen the classified briefings, we know the plan of attack and what we’re doing overwhelmingly is telling him this won’t work.”

Eliot Engel (D-NY)

“People are war weary in this country, and so am I. People are tied of war, people are skpetical when it’s said, ‘Don’t worry, there won’t be boots on the ground, this won’t lead us into a quagmire’ and that’s understandable…

“There is no stomach in the Congress for moves that would bog us down into another war and so I think that  what the President is trying to do is to find a center here, a common ground whereby so we can express our revulsion at using chemical weapons without getting us bogged down into a larger war. I think ultimately that what’s going to happen in Syria will be decided by the Syrians…

“I took the position, and still do, that the President needn’t go to Congress for something like this. That according the War Powers Act, that he could strike and then come to Congress within 60 days. We’ve had other Presidents do, as we had Bill Clinton in Kosovo, we’ve had Reagan in Grenada, we’ve had the first Bush in Panama, there’s Obama in Libya,  so there’s ample precedent of dong that.

But the President, from what I understand, felt strongly about coming to Congress and I think that he has to really try to get the vote, and let’s hope diplomacy works, that all I can say.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 1, 2014
Pro-democracy protesters hold umbrellas under heavy rain in a main street near the government headquarters in Hong Kong late Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. The protesters demanded that Hong Kong's top leader meet with them on Tuesday and threatened wider actions if he did not, after he said China would not budge in its decision to limit voting reforms in the Asian financial hub. (AP)

China, democracy and Hong Kong. They’re in the streets in Hong Kong with their “Umbrella Revolution.” What now?

Oct 1, 2014
Actress Eva Longoria, center, Henry R. Munoz III, co-founder of the Latino Victory Project, left, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, are seated at an event launching The Latino Victory Project, a Latino political action committee, at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, May 5, 2014. (AP)

Latino America. It is very large and growing very fast. How will it move the country?

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 30, 2014
In this Jan. 15, 2013, photo, Rosser Pryor, Co-owner and President of Factory Automation Systems, examines a new high-performance industrial robot at the company's Atlanta facility.  (AP)

Nicholas Carr says automation, all over, is turning us into zombies. Out of touch with the world. He’s with us.

 
Sep 30, 2014
St. Louis county police officers advance on protestors trying to shut down Interstate 70 in Berkeley, Mo. on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 near the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo. where Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year old was shot and killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9. (AP)

Police shootings, cop culture, body cameras. And the big debate over how to protect the public and the police.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Transcript: Peter Thiel Wants Us All To Go From ‘Zero To One’
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Entrepreneur Peter Thiel on innovation, technological failure and humanity’s uncertain future.

More »
Comment
 
Transcript: Sexual Violence Under ISIS Control
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

A transcript from our September 25, 2014 conversation on the Islamic State and sexual violence.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: September 26, 2014
Friday, Sep 26, 2014

All of you love to listen to old broadcasts when we play them, and Taylor Swift loves the Internet.

More »
Comment