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McKeon: Obama put 'prestige of US on the line' with Syria threat

President Obama has threatened U.S. prestige by possibly boxing the nation in on Syria, House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said Monday. 

McKeon, who said he remained "open" to a military strike on Syria, complained Obama risked the U.S. reputation by delaring Syria's use of chemical weaopns was a 'red line.'

It's unclear whether that red line will be backed up with force. Obama has asked Congress for authorization to attack Syria. 

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"I think that when the president said he shouldn't cross a red line, he should have put a little more thought into it before he said it," McKeon told CNN. "That's why we're in this position now — it's because of his statement and, frankly, I think that this scurrying around trying to reach Congress now is a little bit late."

The California Republican said Obama should have consulted with lawmakers "before he ever made the comment" abuot the red lne.


"I think the prestige of the United States is on the line," McKeon said. "It's something that we're going to have to look at very carefully."


McKeon also said that President Obama "needs to fix" sequestration — the billions in across-the-board cuts that hit earlier this year when Congress was unable to strike a deficit reduction deal.

"This would be a great time to fix that to show the military that while we're asking them to continue on with mission after mission after mission," McKeon said.

The congressman said he did not presently have any concerns about the military's capability to strike Syria if so commanded. But, he said, he did worry about preparedness down the road.

"What I’m looking at is what they've been hit with the last couple years. Where will they be the next time they're asked?" McKeon said.