Vermont’s Democratic congressman and a Republican representative from New York have submitted legislation that would restrict U.S. involvement in Syria. The two were on C-SPAN Wednesday morning to discuss their bill.
H.R. 2494, titled the “Protecting Americans from the Proliferation of Weapons to Terrorists Act,” would prohibit any funding to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense or any other intelligence entity that would directly or indirectly support military or paramilitary operations in Syria. It would cease to apply only if a joint resolution approving assistance is enacted by Congress. On Wednesday morning, the bill’s sponsors, New York Republican Representative Chris Gibson of the state’s 19th district and Vermont Democratic Congressman At-Large Peter Welch, appeared together on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program.
Welch, who is a member of the Oversight and Government Reform National Security Subcommittee, says their legislation basically means if the president wants to arm the Syrian rebels, he cannot do it without Congressional approval.
New York’s Gibson, a member of the Armed Services Committee and retired U.S. Army Colonel, says arming rebels would be a very serious escalation.
Both Congressmen are concerned that a military intervention could backfire and escalate U.S. involvement in the conflict.
The program took questions from callers and via Twitter, including Republican David from White Lake in Sullivan County, a constituent of Congressman Gibson.
Washington Journal Host Greta Brawner read a tweet posed to the duo.
The bill’s restriction does not apply to funding for non-lethal humanitarian assistance for the Syrian people. The Senate version of the bill is co-sponsored by Democrat Tom Udall of New Mexico, Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy, and Kentucky Republican Rand Paul.