Congressional Black Caucus May Determine If US Strikes Syria

Source: Perry Bacon Jr. /  theGrio

The Congressional Black Caucus, at times ignored by the Obama White House and rendered irrelevant in a GOP-controlled House, will play an outsized role as Congress decides whether to approve military strikes in Syria.

A sizable bloc of Republicans in the House are expected to vote against the resolution calling for intervention in Syria, arguing the military strikes either don’t serve U.S. national security interests or could lead to a broader conflict. That’s left Obama administration officials aggressively courting the House’s 200 Democrats, who are expected to provide many of the votes if a resolution authorizing military action is approved.

And that means that the 43 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, all of whom are Democrats, are a critical swing group. Fifteen of the current CBC members voted against the Iraq War in 2002 (many of the remaining 28 members opposed the war too but were not yet serving in Congress) and are determined never to allow the U.S. to unwisely intervene in a country abroad again. Some, like Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), are generally opposed to any war. CBC members say their constituents are wary of this intervention, and a Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week showed a majority of African-Americans do not support striking Syria.

And a bloc of black congressmen, like Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), have become increasingly wary of President Obama’s foreign policy vision, voting for example to defund the National Security Agency’s controversial “metadata” program that was exposed by Edward Snowden. More than a dozen CBC members, including chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio.), backed that legislation, which only narrowly failed.

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