September 3, 2013

Maine's King, Collins returning to D.C. for Syria briefings

Neither senator has indicated whether they will support U.S. military involvement in Syria.

By Kevin Miller
Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Maine’s two senators were returning to Washington on Tuesday for briefings on the situation in Syria as Congress prepares to debate potential military action against the Syrian government.

Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent, plans to attend two classified briefings on Tuesday – including one for members of the Senate Intelligence Committee – as well as a Senate Armed Services Committee briefing on Syria on Wednesday.

“I have not yet arrived at a decision on how I will vote, but as I have previously said, I will continue to examine the facts and hear the arguments before arriving at a conclusion that I believe will best serve the interests of the United States,” King, an independent, said in a statement.

Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, planned to attend a second Senate Intelligence Committee briefing in the afternoon afternoon because she was speaking and receiving an award Tuesday morning at the Leading Women’s Luncheon in Waterville earlier on Tuesday, according to her office. Collins has already participated in discussions with top Obama administration officials on Syria.

Collins has applauded the Obama administration’s decision to consult with Congress but has not indicated whether she would support U.S. military involvement in Syria.

The White House stepped up outreach to members of Congress since Saturday when President Obama announced that he would seek congressional authorization for the use of military force against Syria. The administration is advocating for targeted strikes against the military of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who the White House alleges used chemical weapons against its own people.

Congress is expected to officially return to Washington next Monday and quickly begin debating whether to authorize military force against Syria.

Staff in the office of Rep. Mike Michaud, D-District 2, said Tuesday that he plans to attend briefings for members of Congress next week.

This story was updated at 3:22 p.m. on Sept. 3 to clarify that Sen. Susan Collins will attend a later Senate Intelligence Committee briefing.

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