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U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy talks to constituents in a "Coffee With Your Congressman" event Thursday morning, Sept. 5, at Dunn Brothers Coffee in Hudson. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)

Rep. Duffy tells Hudson audience he expects to vote against strike on Syria

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During a meeting with constituents in Hudson Thursday morning, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy said he anticipates voting against President Barack Obama’s request for Congress to authorize a military strike against Syria.

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“I look at American involvement and what we want to get out of any kind of military action, and I have to tell you, I’m confused,” the Republican told the group of around 40 people inside Erbert and Gerbert's sandwich shop.

Duffy said the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad include many radical Islamists and members of al-Qaeda, and that Obama has ruled out regime change as the objective.

Chemical weapons could be released if they are hit by bombs, he said, and the president has telegraphed his intention to strike for a month, allowing Assad time to hide airplanes, tanks and other military assets. Some have been placed in civilian neighborhoods, he said.

“So I don’t know what the end outcome is. And for every action – especially in the Middle East, but anywhere – there is a reaction. And I don’t know what the reaction is going to be,” Duffy said.

“…I’ve seen it as just a shot across the bow because the president drew a red line in the sand. That’s not a good enough reason.”

The Obama administration is calling for the strike in response to a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government that reportedly killed 1,429 people, including 426 children. There have also been earlier chemical attacks in which few people were killed, the administration says.

Duffy said he would listen to the intelligence briefing he and other members of Congress receive when he returns to Washington, D.C., on Monday, but he doesn’t expect it to change his mind.

“Those who I have talked to who have already had theirs, they’re not swayed, and I anticipate voting no on Syria when I get back next week,” the congressman said.

Duffy also addressed the call by some Republicans to defund the Affordable Care Act by rejecting any appropriation bill that includes spending for it in the coming weeks.

Duffy said a bill defunding Obamacare doesn’t have a chance of making through the Democratic-controlled Senate and the president would never sign it.

The result would be a government shutdown that the “liberal media” would blame on Republicans, he said, adding, “I’ve been to this rodeo before.”

Duffy said his approach will be to delay implementation of the health care law and bring about its ultimate demise.

That didn’t sit well with some of the people at the 7 a.m. “Coffee With Your Congressman” event. They encouraged him to join with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republicans willing to shut down the government over funding for the law.

More on the Hudson event that lasted a little more than an hour will be reported in the Sept. 12 Hudson Star-Observer.

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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