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Chris Coons ’92MAR, ’92JD: a vote for action in Syria

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chris Coons ’92MAR, ’92JD, of Delaware found himself in the middle of the hottest debate on Capitol Hill this week. Coons, a Democrat, was part of the majority in a 10–7 vote yesterday that approved a resolution authorizing the use of force in Syria.

Coons, a first-term senator who won Joe Biden's former seat in 2010 after the Republican party chose Christine O'Donnell to run against him, had said on Tuesday that he was leaning toward voting for the resolution, but that he needed to be persuaded that there was a clear strategy for the air strikes, that the targets were acceptable, and that the intelligence linking Assad to the attacks was sound.

Coons and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) successfully added an amendment to the resolution that would requre the Obama administration to present strategies to Congress for controlling chemical and biological weapons, for coordinating its policy with Israel, Jordan, and Turkey, and for addressing the plight of refugees.

In a statement on the vote, Coons acknowledged the widespread opposition to military action. “What I have heard from Delawareans in the last week is that ours is a nation weary of war, and wary of repeating the mistakes of the past," he said. "The commitment of America's military strength is one of the most important issues that we will ever debate in Congress, and it is one I take very seriously." He concluded by saying that "I continue to believe it is possible for the United States to take action that responds to and deters future chemical weapons attacks, and is part of a strategy that will lead to a more stable and secure Syria.”

Filed under Chris Coons, Syria
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