Hanna, Owens support delaying vote on Syria

Sep 12, 2013

The ongoing civil war in Syria is dominating the discussion in Washington this week.  Rep. Richard Hanna, who represents an area from Utica to Binghamton, was one of many congressmen who received a classified briefing on Syria.

He said the U.S. should be looking at the Russian proposal for Syria to give up its chemical weapons, fairly, but also with some skepticism. Hanna, a Republican, said going to war again is not the best option.

"You can't blame anyone for saying to themselves and being cynical about Washington going to war again," Hanna said. "Should people really have confidence in what Washington does after Afghanistan and Iraq?"

President Barack Obama recently asked Congress to delay its vote on Syria while diplomatic discussions continue.

North Country Rep. Bill Owens, a Democrat, said pursuing the diplomatic option is a rational alternative to conducting a military strike against Syria, or doing nothing.

"I'm hoping that they will go through a meaningful negotiation," Owens said. "They will get a U.N. resolution that adopts a methodology for ensuring that these weapons are secured by an international group, and that we have audit processes in place and that we get this accomplished without a military intervention."

Hanna also said that Syria isn't the only issue lawmakers have to worry about, since it's taking place at the same time as the debt ceiling and budget discussions.

"You do see them taking it extremely seriously, as they should, and treating Syria as a separate issue and thinking about it as a matter of conscience and judgment," Hanna said. "And so I don't think it plays into it."