Lawmakers propose alternative to bombing Syria

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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As the Obama administration pushes Congress to authorize military strikes on Syria, a group of lawmakers are drafting alternative legislation that would — at least initially — avoid bombing the country.

On Monday, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat, said she and other lawmakers are crafting legislation that she says “provides a better path forward” than military action on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

“The proposal would give the Assad government 45 days to sign an international chemical weapons ban and begin the process of turning over its chemical weapons,” Heitkamp said in a statement released by her office.

“During this time, the U.S. would work to build international support and create a global response on the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” she said. “If, after 45 days, the Assad regime mistakes our deliberate and careful democratic process for lack of will and immunity, it does so at its own peril.”

Heitkamp said fellow Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is one of the lawmakers working with her on the effort.

The North Dakota lawmaker is one lawmaker in President Obama’s party who opposes the White House-backed Syria strike resolution.

“I cannot support the current Senate resolution to authorize force at this time,” she said Monday.

“At its core, I believe the current Senate resolution falls short because it calls for military action in Syria without carefully looking at diplomatic or alternative solutions,” she said.

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