By Ronnie Ellis / CNHI News Service
Kentucky Republican Congressman Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, is leaning against voting to authorize military action against Syria.
“I’m leaning toward voting no, but I want to hear the case before making a final decision,” Rogers said Friday during a visit here.
Rogers was here Friday to meet with the Interim Joint Judiciary Committee about Operation UNITE, a drug enforcement, education and treatment program he founded and which has put a sizeable dent in the widespread substance abuse problem in southeastern Kentucky.
He spent some time talking with Kentucky Adjutant General Edward Tonini about the crisis in Syria and what the president’s call for a response.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are trying to persuade Congress to authorize a “limited, targeted” strike against Syria after the regime of Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on its own citizens during the civil war there.
During a press conference Friday in Russia where the president is attending the G-20 Summit of western leaders and Russia, Obama conceded he knew securing the support of the war-weary American people and Congress would “be a hard sell.”
The measure is thought to have a better chance in the Democratic controlled Senate where it has already passed the Foreign Affairs Committee. But the measure faces stiff opposition in the Republican House, including many who have previously called for U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green, has already said he will vote against the measure while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Louisville hasn’t said how he plans to vote.
The Republican opposition seems if anything to be growing in the House despite the open support of Republican Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, both of whom have been briefed by the White House.
Many Republican House members — back home during a recess — have found their constituents overwhelmingly opposed to any intervention by the U.S. and some polls have put public opposition to the measure as high as 80 percent.
Rogers is wary of seeing the United States involved in another Middle East regional conflict.
“I have great reservations about sparking a fire in a tinder box part of the world, especially so close to our friends like Israel and Jordan,” Rogers said.
Rogers said he will attend a classified briefing by administration officials on Monday when he returns to Washington and he wants to hear the president’s case to the American people when Obama addressed the nation Tuesday night.
“I want to hear all the facts, but I’m leaning no,” Rogers said.
Rogers said if the vote were taken today, it would fail in the House of Representatives and he doesn’t see its chances improving there.
“Unless things change dramatically, it won’t pass the House,” Rogers said.
Obama plans to address the nation on Tuesday night to build support for a strike which he and Kerry say will significantly “degrade” Assad’s military capability and ability to use chemical weapons in the future.
RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.
By Ronnie Ellis / CNHI News Service
- State News
- Ernie Moore
Politics of coal severance
If you want to be governor of Kentucky, especially a Democratic governor, you must look to the hills of eastern Kentucky.
Coal severance funds have gone lots of directions
It was supposed to be different. When Kentucky started sending half of its coal severance taxes back to coal-mining counties, it was supposed to be used for economic development in anticipation of the days when coal would no longer dominate the coal-field economy.
SOAR summit met with wait-and-see attitude
As organizers kicked off a mountain summit here to discuss ways to diversify the eastern Kentucky economy, the dominant sentiment seemed to be a mixture of skepticism and hope.
Rogers: SOAR summit not the end
Its land and people fueled the industrialization of an entire country but that country has largely ignored the ravaged land and the human despair left behind.
Panel moving slowly in sexual harassment probe
A special committee of state House lawmakers who are supposed to recommend action on charges against a former colleague met again Thursday — but it met behind closed doors only to tell reporters afterward its members decided “to move forward.”
Senate Democrat to run for judge-exec in Rowan
The Democratic minority in the Kentucky state Senate might get a bit slimmer as Sen. Walter “Doc” Blevins of Morehead Thursday filed to run for Rowan County Judge/Executive.
Republicans eye House takeover in ‘14
The 2014 U.S. Senate race for the seat now held by Republican Mitch McConnell may be the most important in the nation, but it might be the second-most important election inside the state.
Kentucky Power seeks to withdraw rate increase
Kentucky Power is asking the state Public Service Commission to withdraw its June request for a base rate increase to recover costs associated with its purchase of half interest in a West Virginia power plant.
Matt Bevin makes it official
Matt Bevin, the Louisville investment manager who’s trying to lead a Republican primary insurgency to topple incumbent U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, said Friday those seeking change in the Washington must change who they vote to send there.
- More State News Headlines