By Mike Grant
---- — LOOGOOTEE — The use of chemical weapons may have been verified in Syria, but 8th District Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Newburgh, says he will not vote to support military action against the Middle East country. The congressman made the comments to a small group in Loogootee as part of his “Listening Tour” through the district. Bucshon says one reason he is opposing military action is that people in his district don’t support it.
“I have not talked to a single person in the district who believes we should fire missiles into Syria,” said Bucshon. “The leadership from both parties will stand by the President on this, but I won’t vote for a resolution to authorize military action.”
The congressman says there are additional reasons that he opposes military strikes. “My concern about Syria is that if we hit them, then Iran will get involved and fire missiles into Israel, and it will become a bigger conflict and we will eventually have troops on the ground.”
Even if a war would remain confined to Syria, the congressman has doubts about the U.S. maintaining a limited involvement. “It always starts with a few air strikes, but it doesn’t always end that way,” he said. “We don’t need to get our troops in the middle of a civil war. That will just make them targets for both sides.”
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry made the case for Congress to approve armed action against the current Syrian regime saying there is evidence that chemicals weapons were used against the rebels. Bucshon says he is not convinced that happened. “There are multiple groups fighting against the Assad regime, and there are reports that some of them overran a chemical weapons facility,” said Bucshon. “There is the possibility those rebels used the weapons in an effort to draw the U.S. into their war.”
Finally, he says his opposition is based on the way the Obama administration is approaching Syria. “If you are going to draw a red line, draw a red line and stick to it,” said Bucshon. “There was evidence in March that chemical weapons had been used,” said Bucshon. “He should have taken action then. Now the president has punted on this and passed it onto Congress.”
Syria may have ben the first topic discussed in Loogootee, but it wasn’t the only one. The federal health care law continues to be hot button issue. Bucshon has already voted 4 times to do away with the law known as “Obamacare.”
The bills have all passed the House of Representatives but die in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Now he hopes a different tactic will help slow down the law. “There is a measure to defund Obamacare in the appropriations bills,” he explained. “I am pushing for this to come up for a vote and I will vote to defund it.”
That measure alone though wouldn’t stop the Affordable Health Care Act. “The Health Care bill for the most part will move forward because it does not rely on annual funding,” said Bucshon. “I am pushing that we pass a new bill that would be an alternative to Obamacare.”
Immigration was another issue the congressman was questioned about. “I won’t support the Senate Immigration Bill and I don’t think it will pass,” he said. “I expect we’ll deal with this piecemeal. We’ll start with border security, beef up e-verify for employers, and look at the visas for agricultural workers.”
The big question to be worked out on immigration is what to with the millions of illegal immigrants who are already in the country. “I don’t think there will be a general amnesty for illegals,” he said.
The congressman says he is also doing what he can to try and help Indiana’s coal industry. “EPA is killing the coal industry in Indiana and the midwest and we’re fighting back in every way we can,” said Bucshon. “We’ve tried to cut the EPA budget by $3 billion. We are trying to reign in these federal agencies.”