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Esty Votes Against Obama's Plan To Arm Syrian Rebels

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty Photo Credit: File

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- As the House of Representatives voted Wednesday night to arm moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against the Islamic State, U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District) joined a large group of Democrats in opposing the plan from President Barack Obama.

The measure passed by a vote of 273-156, empowering Obama to ship weapons and provide training to the Free Syrian Army and other participants in Syria’s civil war to battle ISIS.

The Senate is expected to vote Thursday on the plan.

Esty was joined by most of her Connecticut colleagues in opposing the plan. U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes and John Larson also voted no. U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney voted yes.

Esty issued the following statement Wednesday on her vote.

“ISIS poses a real threat to American personnel and our broader security interests in the Middle East, and I continue to support air strikes to counter ISIS. Moreover, ISIS’s horrific beheading of American journalists and murderous persecution of religious minorities demands a coordinated response from the international community. However, I have not received sufficient assurances that the proposed plan to train and equip Syrian opposition forces will advance U.S. national security interests. At this time, based on the evidence presented in classified briefings, I believe that there remain too many troubling and unanswered questions about the capabilities, intentions, and even priorities of the Syrian opposition forces we would potentially train and arm. For these reasons, I could not support the McKeon amendment.

“I applaud the President for pursuing and securing commitments from our allies and partners in the region, and I believe that multinational collaboration will be essential in order to protect America’s interests and national security.

“Finally, I will continue to urge the President to seek and receive explicit authorization from Congress before deploying combat troops. It is now clear that the effort to protect the American people from the ISIS threat will need to be sustained over time, and Congress has an obligation to exercise its constitutional authority over any military involvement in Iraq or Syria. Therefore, I believe it is imperative for Congress to shoulder its responsibility by debating and voting on this matter with a new, specific, and limited Authorization for the Use of Military Force.”

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