By BRIAN A. HOWEY
- Indiana’s Congressional delegation was split on a House bill that
would train and arm Syrian rebels on Wednesday. The House passed the
measure 273 to 156 and the Senate will vote today. There were 159
Republicans and 114 Democrats supporting the bill and 71 Republicans and
85 Democrats voting against. It found House Speaker John
Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi backing the bill, but
opposition came from both liberal Democrats and GOP hawks.
Republicans U.S. Reps. Todd Young and Marlin Stutzman voted against the measure along with Democrat U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky. The rest of the Indiana House members voted for, and Sens. Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly indicated they would support the measure on Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks,
R-Indianapolis, said she voted for the measure “because the whole world
is watching. ISIL is watching.” She noted that there are now “31,000
terrorists, many with Western and U.S. passports” said the legislation
will give President Obama until Dec. 11 to make many determinations.
Rep. Young, R-Bloomington, voted against the measure, telling
Hoosiers attending a Capitol Hill Indiana Chamber “Fly-In” that he had
“concerns about the process” and acknowledged many Members were
“conflicted” about the strategy. “We’ve heard conflicting statements”
from the administration, Young said, noting that President Obama has
vowed not to use U.S. ground troops while the Joint Chiefs of Staff
could not “recall the number of ground troops” already involved. “I was
encouraged some of my concerns were addressed,” Young said.
U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger,
explained, “This groups says their plan is to kill Americans. I take
them at their word. This group is a zero sum group.” Donnelly said he
wanted to give President Obama options to combat the growing army that
he said could eventually threaten Jordan and Saudi Arabia if left
U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Carmel, added, “We’re dealing
with an organization with the likes we’ve never seen before. I support
the president to go after ISIL wherever they are. I will be supporting
it tomorrow. This is a real defining moment for the country.”