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Rep. McCollum's E-newsletter: Syria, U.S.S. Minnesota, and More

September 9, 2013

McCollum Supports Strict Limits on Military Action in Response to Syrian Use of Chemical Weapons
Rep. Betty McCollum announced her support for draft legislation authored by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) that authorizes limited military action.  This bill responds to the Syrian regime’s killing of over 1,400 civilians, using sarin gas in violation of the global ban on the use of chemical weapons. The Van Hollen-Connolly Joint Resolution strictly prohibits U.S. troops on the ground in Syria, limits the authorization for military action to 60 days, and limits the objective of military action to deterring the repeated use of chemical weapons. 

“The legislation put forward by Reps. Van Hollen and Connolly is the right approach. It clearly defines limitations to prevent an open-ended military commitment. Yet, it provides President Obama the support of Congress to take military action, in coordination with international partners, to enforce the chemical weapons ban and deter their future use. U.S. national security and our vital leadership role in the Middle East are at stake. I urge my colleagues and constituents to support this responsible approach,” said Congresswoman McCollum.

Rep. McCollum said her vote on the authorization of force will depend on the inclusion of strict limitations in the final language of the resolution.  No final language has yet been determined for a House vote. Furthermore, no vote on authorizing military action against Syria has been scheduled in the House of Representatives.

McCollum Speaks at Commissioning of the U.S.S. Minnesota – Virginia Class Submarine – in Norfolk, VA
On Saturday, Congresswoman McCollum, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, participated in the commissioning ceremony for the U.S.S. Minnesota (SSN 783) – a Virginia-class submarine, in Norfolk, VA.  Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Al Franken (D-MN), and other state and local officials from Minnesota also joined McCollum at the historic event.  

Measuring 377 feet long and weighing 7,800 tons, the U.S.S. Minnesota has a crew of 134 officers and enlisted personnel.  The $2 billion submarine is capable of diving to 800 feet.  When submerged, it can operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots (29 mph).

In the coming decades, the thousands of brave men and women who will serve on the U.S.S. Minnesota will have an unbreakable bond to the great state that I represent.  On behalf of Minnesota, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude and prayers to the officers and crew who will sail this remarkable submarine,” said Congresswoman McCollum.

McCollum Helps Kick Off Hamline University’s LEAP into St. Paul Freshmen Service Day
Last week, Rep. McCollum joined Hamline President Linda Hanson at the LEAP (Liberal Education As Practiced) into St. Paul freshmen service day.  At the event, 540 freshmen participated, making it the largest incoming freshmen class Hamline has ever had.

Hamline University provides the opportunity to learn from committed faculty who share a stake in your academic development,” said Congresswoman McCollum.  “From your campus in the heart of Saint Paul, you have the opportunity to discover all that Minnesota’s capitol city has to offer—from the Green Line/University Avenue to Lowertown, the Mississippi River and wonderful neighborhoods.

The LEAP into St. Paul effort aims to educate Hamline students about substantive engagement with community organizations while attending college. There are 30 sites that the students visited throughout the day.