published Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann says he would vote against using military force in Syria

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann says he would vote against the use of force against Syria should the U.S. House of Representative face a vote on such action.

"Throughout this process I have sought the opinion of my constituents across East Tennessee and committed to listen to the President’s plan," Fleischmann said. "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 had earlier said he had received the largest amount of feedback he has received on any issue since taking office

"It's clear there's a mandate from the 3rd District to vote no," the Tennessee Republican congressman said in a phone interview from the Capitol earlier today. "It could be of the magnitude of 25 to one, with close to 1,500 calls into the office."

Fleischmann said constituents have expressed they are "war-weary" after prolonged conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and that they feel there are no clear goals in President Barak Obama's strategy.

Fleischmann attended Monday's closed-door briefings on the matter, but said the information presented has not swayed his stance.

Fleischmann said he believed the world needed to "strongly condemn" the use of chemical weapons, but that the U.S. should push forward with more diplomatic and humanitarian action instead of military engagement.

The congressman said he believed recent calls for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons for destruction "a step in the right direction."

At this point, there are no firm "yes" votes for a military strike among the Tennessee House delegation.

For more information, read Wednesday's Times Free Press.

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