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Senate to hold public hearings next week on Syria: Harry Reid

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The U.S. Senate will hold public hearings next week on possible American intervention in Syria, and will vote no later than Sept. 9, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said a statement Saturday night.

The Nevada Democrat also said he supports American military action toward Syria: "I believe the use of military force against Syria is both justified and necessary. I believe the United States has a moral obligation as well as a national security interest in defending innocent lives against such atrocities, and in enforcing international norms such as the prohibition against the use of chemical weapons. Assad must be held accountable for his heinous acts, and the world looks to us for leadership."

The complete text of Reid's statement follows:

Las Vegas, NV - Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement today following President Obama's call for Congress to debate the use of limited military force against Syria:



"Given the atrocities committed by Bashar al-Assad against his own people, including the use of internationally prohibited chemical weapons and the murder of innocent children, it is time for Congress to debate and vote on whether Syria's heinous actions should be met with a limited use of American military force.

"I believe the use of military force against Syria is both justified and necessary. I believe the United States has a moral obligation as well as a national security interest in defending innocent lives against such atrocities, and in enforcing international norms such as the prohibition against the use of chemical weapons. Assad must be held accountable for his heinous acts, and the world looks to us for leadership.

"The Senate will engage in this critical debate right away, beginning with public hearings and briefings for members next week. The primary jurisdiction over this issue lies with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I have spoken to Chairman Menendez, and he will convene hearings next week to provide senators and the public with the opportunity to hear from senior Obama administration officials. I have also spoken with Chairmen Feinstein and Levin, and they will convene both classified and unclassified briefings for senators throughout next week, for which the Obama administration will also make key national security officials available.

"Following the hearings and briefings, the full Senate will convene and debate a resolution authorizing the use of limited military force against Syria. The Senate will vote on the resolution no later than the week of September 9th, as requested by the Obama administration. This will provide ample time for a robust public debate, while ensuring that this critical issue receives a vote in a timely fashion.

"The decision to take military action is not one to be taken lightly, and this decision will receive the full and open debate it deserves."

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