GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - West Michigan lawmakers say President Barack Obama must consult with Congress before taking any military action against Syria.
United Kingdom and U.S. reports say it is "highly likely" that Syria's government is responsible for a chemical attack that killed at least 300, though many lawmakers still want concrete evidence of the regime's involvement.
There are now five U.S. guided-missile destroyer ships near the Syrian coast in the Mediterranean Sea waiting for orders. Russia has sent two ships of its own.
West Michigan Republican representatives Justin Amash and Bill Huizenga both want more answers and say that only Congress can make the call on whether to strike Syria.
"I hope our president doesn't make another mistake, as he did in Libya, by not consulting Congress before any kind of action. I think that's problematic. I think another thing is we have to get the Arab League engaged. If they're not willing or able to step up, it makes it awfully hard for Western powers to come in and suddenly assert themselves without it looking like another type of invasion," Huizenga, of Zeeland, said.
"I'll tell you what people have been saying to me in my town halls: They don't want us to go into Syria. They think it's a mistake. The American public overwhelming disapproves of going into Syria right now," Amash, of Grand Rapids, said. "If the president can make the case for it and comes to Congress and makes the case, then we'll have a vote on authorization, and if he makes the case for it, I'm sure it will pass."
They say an invasion without Congressional approval would violate the U.S. Constitution.
Michigan Democrat Sen. Carl Levin, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued a statement about the issue Thursday:
"I have previously called for the United States to work with our friends and allies to increase the military pressure on the Assad regime by providing lethal aid to vetted elements of the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I suggested that we should do so while UN inspectors complete their work and while we seek international support for limited, targeted strikes in response to the Assad regime’s large-scale use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people. I appreciate the administration’s continuing efforts tonight to consult with Congress about the situation in Syria, and its commitment to further consultations with Congress."
Fred Glespie was found not guilty in the death of three children who died in an apartment fire.
Police are looking for the suspect in an armed robbery that occurred at a gas station in Plainwell Thursday night.
The rink will be open that day from 3-9 p.m.