CBC Members Urge Obama to Not Move Too Fast on Syria

Lawmakers also do not want the U.S. to act alone and push for consensus in the international community.

Posted: 09/03/2013 12:09 PM EDT

The Congressional Black Caucus is one group that President Obama can reliably count on to support him on various issues. But authorizing a military strike in Syria for some may be a very hard sell. 

Rep. Charles Rangel has already begun speaking out publicly against the option that Congress will debate when lawmakers return to Washington next week.

During a Labor Day appearance on MSNBC, Rangel was asked whether taking action there would send the wrong message to countries that cross certain lines.

“I love Obama, and you’ll never find a truer Democrat than me,” Rangel said. “But this whole idea of any president of the United States drawing lines saying that if any country does something that he considers wrong that the nation is going to war, it’s unheard of, drawing a red line. So, of course, it’s embarrassing. I wish it didn’t happen.”

He also expressed hope that the international community will take the decision out of Congress' hands by taking action so "we are not putting our kids in harm’s way to solve an international problem that we feel bounded, not by law, but because the president has drawn a red line."

In a letter to the president, several lawmakers, led by California Rep. Barbara Lee, strongly urged him to not allow the nation to be drawn into "an unwise" war without first seeking Congressional approval and an international consensus.

"We strongly support the work within the United Nations Security Council to build international consensus condemning the alleged use of chemical weapons and preparing an appropriate response," they wrote. "We should also allow the U.N. inspectors the space and time necessary to do their jobs, which are so crucial to ensuring accountability."

Sixteen CBC members were among the more than 50 representatives who signed the letter, including Rangel, Georgia Rep. John Lewis and Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, who chairs the group.

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(Photo: Courtesy MSNBC)

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