Congress split over Scotland

The heads of the Friends of Scotland Caucus and the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus are split over whether Scottish voters should declare their independence and break away from Great Britain in a referendum on Thursday.

While the Friends of Scotland Caucus is officially neutral, Co-Chairman John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) broke from many lawmakers and from the Obama administration, which have indicated support for Scotland remaining part of the U.K.

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Duncan said Scotland would be better off independent.

“I think it would be a good thing for Scotland to be independent, because when it comes to government, smaller is better, and closer to the people is better,” Duncan said. “If they follow free-market, small-government policies, they could become very, very prosperous.”

Duncan’s co-chairman, Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), is in a unique position because he also leads the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus. His office did not respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this week, Duncan and McIntyre introduced a resolution stating that the referendum is a decision that can only be made by the Scottish people and that they believe “a strong and prosperous Scotland is important for United States national priorities.”

Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), a co-chairman of the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus, said he personally thinks Scotland shouldn’t secede.

“I personally believe that it will be much better for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland if the United Kingdom stay united. If Scotland were to separate, this will only be a further negative disruption to global stability and the world economy. I hope the people of Scotland vote ‘no,’ but I do not get a vote,” Campbell said.

On Monday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. would like to see the United Kingdom remain “united.”

“We certainly respect the right of individual Scots to make a decision about, along these lines,” Earnest said. “But, you know, as the president himself said we have an interest in seeing the United Kingdom remain strong, robust, united and an effective partner.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) introduced a separate resolution last month that advocates for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom but “respects the right of the Scottish people to make their decision regarding their status in the September 18th referendum.”

“It’s clear from this side of the Atlantic that a United Kingdom, including Scotland, would be the strongest possible American ally,” Sherman said.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, have signed on as co-sponsors to Sherman’s resolution.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain#JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday #JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday New poll finds little GOP support for spending cuts to specific federal programs MORE (R-Ariz.), who is of Scots-Irish heritage, said Scotland’s economy might suffer if it leaves the United Kingdom.

“To break up what is left of Great Britain, I think, would not be good for their economy, but I’m not going to tell them how they ought to vote,” McCain said.