Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley was among a select few members of Congress who attended a White House briefing on Syria by Vice President Joe Biden on Monday afternoon. Grassley, a Republican, says he’s still undecided on the issue though he does plan to watch President Obama’s address on the subject tonight.
“I’m leaning opposed but I think that I should give our commander-in-chief an opportunity to explain his position,” Grassley says. “I suppose part of the briefing by Biden was my assent to that.” The Senate vote that was scheduled for Wednesday on a resolution authorizing a U.S. strike on Syria has been pushed back.
Another private briefing for members of Congress is scheduled for Wednesday and Grassley says he does plan to attend — and to listen closely. “I think I should take all that information and give fair consideration to all aspects of it before I finally make up my mind,” Grassley says. “Even after yesterday afternoon’s meeting with the vice president, I still maintain my position of leaning opposed.”
A potential diplomatic solution has surfaced that Syria surrender all of its chemical weapons by week’s end to avert the threatened U.S. attack. Grassley says a military strike should be our nation’s last resort. “Going to war is a tough sell for me,” Grassley says. “From what I heard directly from Iowans, both email and phone calls as well my town meetings, they strongly oppose a military strike by the United States. I heard concerns from Iowans and their questions about what the president has proposed.”
The proposed U.S. attack would be a response to the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons on its own people in Damascus last month that killed more than 1,400 people.