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Congressman Chris Collins

Representing the 27th District of New York

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Lawmakers Divided on Obama's ISIS Plan

Sep 17, 2014
In The News

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are split over the President's plan to take on the militant organization known as the Islamic State.

"We have not set conditions for actions in Syria. There is no credible partner there; there is no political partner there, and that's really the issue," said Rep. Chris Gibson.

"We have not great choices here. But the worst choice is to do nothing," said Rep. Eliot Engel.On Tuesday, members of the House began debating a proposal that would allow the U.S. to arm and train Syrian rebels who would then take up the fight to destroy the terrorist group.

In a rare consensus, congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle support the plan.

But that agreement has not yet trickled down to every rank and file member, including many Democrats who fear the United States could be dragged back into a brutal war. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez says she's leaning toward voting "no." "This is a non-ending situation here. And it's a very serious one. What will happen if an American plane is shot down.

 Republicans will be the first ones to ask for troops on the ground," said Rep. Velazquez. In fact, a top military adviser to the President is leaving the door open to putting American combat forces on the ground if the strategy doesn't pan out as planned.

One Republican said the bill has safeguards to prevent against that and questions why every Democrat isn't backing it. "I find it hard to imagine why Democrats wouldn't support security for the United States of America where the President and Commander in Chief, who is obviously a Democrat, is calling for it," said Chris Collins.

For Democrats, that dynamic is making this vote an especially difficult one. The House is expected to vote on the plan this week.