09.18.14

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Senate Vote to Authorize an Expansion of American Military Efforts in Syria

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement on her vote against H.J.Res.124, a Continuing Resolution which included authorization for an expansion of U.S. military efforts in Syria.

“The Continuing Resolution has many provisions which I strongly support, including reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, providing funding to address the Ebola crisis, and preventing another government shutdown by funding our government. I would have voted in favor of the Continuing Resolution if these were the only matters before the Senate.

“However, I have serious concerns about the potential for another open-ended U.S. military entanglement in the Middle East so I cannot today support an expansion of military efforts into Syria without Congress having a full debate about the scope and length of our mission to combat ISIL. Authorizing American military involvement in Syria’s civil war deserves a separate vote and should not be rolled into a Continuing Resolution to fund our own government. Spending American taxpayer money to arm and train Syrian rebels demands a much fuller debate in Congress and it is fundamentally wrong for the campaign season here at home to prevent that from happening.

“ISIL is a group of barbaric terrorists who represent a threat to American personnel in Iraq, and to the stability of Iraq and the region.  So I do support using American leadership to help build an international coalition that both provides military assistance to confront this terrorist threat and helps build an inclusive and unified Iraqi government that has the capacity to be a strong partner in counterterrorism efforts against this terrorist group.

“But we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past, so it’s important for the Administration to more fully work with Congress as a partner in our efforts to combat the threat ISIL poses to our national interests. The Administration needs to set clear goals and establish benchmarks of success for American engagement in Syria and Iraq.  And I believe Congress has an important role to play in measuring these goals and benchmarks, and that is why the Administration needs to work with Congress to put in place an updated Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to confront the ISIL threat. It is my hope that when we return to Washington in November that Congress has the opportunity to engage in a full debate that both these issues and the American people deserve.”