Baucus Says Too Soon to Say on Syria

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — U.S. Sen. Max Baucus said Tuesday that the situation with Syria is too fluid to say how he might vote on a resolution.

Baucus told The Associated Press that the situation has changed with recent developments suggesting the possibility of a diplomatic end to Syria’s use of chemical weapons banned by international treaty.

The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to vote this week for military action against Syria, a request that has so far received a lukewarm response. But by Tuesday, hopes for a deal, with the help of Russia, where Syria possibly could turn over its stockpile of chemical weapons were intermingling with the threat of a military strike.

Baucus said the developments may change what Congress is asked to vote on.

“I think It is best to see how things settle out in respect to the Russian proposal and what countries might take what actions and whatnot, and what the president thinks the best course of action may be,” Baucus said in an interview. “Everything is very fluid right now based on yesterday’s developments.

“I think all of us are waiting to see how that settles out. It is too premature, I think, to make a definite decision right now.”

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has not said how he might vote. His office said the senator is also eyeing the new developments.

“The Senator is hopeful that the new momentum will lead to an internationally-led solution to the crisis in Syria,” spokeswoman Andrea Helling said in a statement. “Sen. Tester wants to avoid a new conflict while preventing additional use of chemical weapons.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines said after an hour-long telephone town hall on Monday that he will oppose military action in Syria.

Daines said that opposition to such an attack has been overwhelming from Montanans.

“If it does come to the House floor, I will be voting no,” Daines said.

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