Who knew how amusing Obama’s Syrian folly would become?
Though the Congressional Black Caucus has not taken an official stance, the going bet is that the 41 voting members will vote a collective “no” on military action in Syria. Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge hasn’t chimed in yet. But her silence coupled with a “let’s wait and see” from House Minority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) isn’t exactly a vibrant display of enthusiasm. Sure, there are a few “YES” votes — noteably from Reps Corrine Brown (D-FL) and Alcee Hastings (D-FL) but they are the exception not the rule.
“While I applaud the President’s efforts to reach out to Congress, any proposal to be voted upon should enumerate clear-cut objectives, should be thoroughly debated, and should keep in mind the full consequences of increased military action in the Middle East,” said Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) in a statement today. Bishop is one of the CBC’s more conservative members and a ranking member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, that he’s not burning with enthusiasm on military action is noteworthy.
“Whether Syria poses a national security threat, either immediate or long term, is what the president and the secretary of defense have to address,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said in an interview with the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Lee sent a letter to the White House with 60 of her colleagues signed on and called for a full congressional debate on the situation. Days after, President Obama announced he would do just that. Sixteen members of the 43 member Black Caucus signed on to Lee’s letter warning of an “unwise war.” The signatories included CBC Chair Fudge.
Freshman Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) reference a feeling heard on Black talk radio over the last week. That is, that money that would be used to attack Syria would be better spent here in the U.S. on domestic problems. ”There are two major considerations to take into account,” Jeffries told the New York Times, “The prestige of an administration we strongly support versus an open-ended conflict in the Middle East that risks the lives of the people we represent if war were to break out. Not to mention the diversion of resources back into our communities that sorely need it.”
So they still love Obama, but would rather siphon off more money for their own pet causes. Got it. Meanwhile, Fudge has now chimed in. Shut up, she says.
CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) sent an email Tuesday to CBC members asking them “to limit public comment on the issue,” Fudge spokeswoman Ayofemi Kirby said Thursday.
“The chair believes Congress and the American public need more information, and she awaits more briefings between now and early next week before commenting further,” Kirby said.
As an increasing number of African-American lawmakers voice dissent over the Obama administration’s war plans in Syria, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has asked members to “limit public comment” on the issue until they are briefed by senior administration officials.
A congressional aide to a CBC member called the request “eyebrow-raising,” in an interview with The Cable, and said the request was designed to quiet dissent while shoring up support for President Obama’s Syria strategy.
In the end enough arms will be twisted that they line up for Obama. You know it will happen.