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Local Democrats Want Limited Air Strikes If Diplomacy With Syria Fails

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Two Democrats in the region are working on a Plan B if the Obama administration's effort to reach a diplomatic solution with Syria fail.

The president's call for Congress to hold off on voting on a military authorization in Syria is being well received by lawmakers in the region, including Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen.

"We agree that we should take a pause," he says.

Still, Van Hollen and Northern Virginia Democrat Gerry Connolly are floating an alternative proposal in case talks with Russian leaders dissolve. Their proposal would authorize limited air strikes against Syria if within 30 days of passage the Syrian regime refuses to take steps to hand over its chemical weapons. Van Hollen says the resolution can be pulled off the shelf if the president requests congressional action.

"What we're doing is putting forward a revised resolution that could be taken up in the House and the Congress if and when the president determines that it would be necessary to proceed with that kind of legislation," he explains.

As for whether the Russians can be trusted to help contain Syria's arsenal, Connolly says he believes the two countries can work out an acceptable agreement.

"You don t have to trust somebody fully to engage with them. The question is what kind of verifications will you put in place, what kind of assurances will you demand, what kind of sort of milestones will have to be achieved before we accept the final product in full," he says.

For now lawmakers on Capitol Hill are collectively breathing a sigh of relief as the spotlight has been taken off them and turned on to the UN Security Council.


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