South Carolina's politicians lean 'no' in Syria vote - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

South Carolina's politicians lean 'no' in Syria vote

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

As Capitol Hill continues debate on whether or not to authorize air strikes against Syria, South Carolina's politicians seem to largely disagree with intervening in the civil war-stricken country.

President Barack Obama is looking to bomb several parts of the Syrian regime's military bases as punishment for President Bashar-Al Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons against his own people.

Out of the nine politicians South Carolina sends to Washington, four appear to be completely against any strikes against the country, four are undecided, and only one is leaning toward giving the President authorization.

That lone potential yes vote? Senior U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Graham, along with Arizona Sen. John McCain, have been long-time proponents of aiding the rebels in Syria against Assad, but have argued against putting boots on the ground.

"John and I both would like a more sustained military effort, but we understand where the president is at on that issue," Graham said after a meeting with the President on Sunday. "But it is my hope that even a limited military strike can degrade Assad's ability to project force, especially chemical weapons."

Several other of the state's elected officials remain on the fence about the issue. Rep. Mick Mulvaney told the Rock Hill Herald while he's against a broader intervention in the country, he is "deeply, deeply undecided" about limited strikes.

"I know what I can't vote for, but I don't know what I can vote for yet with everything, but I can sure folks I am not taking this lightly," said Mulvaney.

Newly-minted U.S. Sen. Tim Scott has remained mum on the issue, and so has Rep. Tom Rice.

Meanwhile, four of South Carolina's representatives in the House have come out completely against authorization: Reps. Joe Wilson, Trey Gowdy, Mark Sanford, and Jeff Duncan.

In a statement released by his office Wednesday afternoon, Wilson says his decision comes after a House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing with Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

"The President's failed foreign policy over the last four and a half years has allowed Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad to engage in horrific acts of violence against his own people," said Wilson in a statement. 

Congressmen Gowdy and Duncan came out against the U.S.'s potential role in the region at a meeting with constituents on Monday.

Congressman Sanford was one of the first from the Palmetto State to come out against the President's plan, saying the public's opinion should weigh in heavily before a strike is given a green light. 

"Body bags don't go back to Washington," said Sanford. "They go back to Memphis, Tennessee and Charleston, South Carolina and a lot of other little towns in-between."

A resolution to strike Syria was approved by a Senate panel on Wednesday afternoon. No word on when the full Senate or the House plan to take a final vote on the issue.

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