One day after saying he was "leaning no" against supporting a U.S. strike in Syria, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann announced his opposition to the proposal put before Congress last week by President Barack Obama.
In a news release, the congressman described it as a "somber decision" and said he had sought input from residents of Tennessee's 3rd District in making his choice to oppose.
"After hearing the information presented by the administration, I cannot support the authorization for the use of military force in Syria, should it come before the House for a vote," Fleischmann said. "I am deeply concerned about the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war and have given great thought to the impact this decision could have on the Syrian people, our allies and the instability in the region as a whole."
The congressman added that his concerns on the issue had boiled down to two main questions—neither of which had been adequately answered by officials.
"My concerns about the use of military force in Syria have centered on two essential questions: What is our goal, and what are the implications following military action? Neither of these questions has been adequately answered by the administration," Fleischmann said. "In fact, if anything, my concerns have grown."
The congressman's no puts him in a camp with at least 171 other House lawmakers who have declared their opposition to a resolution, according to a New York Times analysis Tuesday afternoon. In Tennessee, he's one of six House lawmakers to have declared opposition to a strike, a group that also includes Rep. Scott DesJarlais.
Sen. Bob Corker is the only Tennessee lawmaker in either chamber to support a resolution for military action in Syria. But in light of developments, including a Russian proposal that could involve Syria eliminating its stockpiles of chemical weapons, Corker was reported saying Congress should "hit pause" on voting on a resolution until elements of the proposal could be gauged.
"There's obviously been a change in circumstances, and I think we ought to hit the pause button for a short amount of time and see if the White House can discern if there's any credibility in this offer," Corker told reporters, according to a political report Tuesday afternoon.
Corker, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, co-wrote and introduced a resolution last week granting authorization to the White House for ordering a strike on Syrian targets. The resolution was approved by the committee in a 10-7 vote.
Obama is set to address the nation on Syria from the White House tonight at 9 p.m.
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