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After Airstrike, Congress Wants To Hear the President’s Strategy


The USS Ross fires a Tomahawk missile, April 7, 2017, from the Mediterranean. The United States blasted a Syrian airfield with a cruise missiles in retaliation for this week's chemical weapons attack against civilians.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday he ordered a targeted military strike against an airfield controlled by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. A deadly chemical attack was launched this week from that base.

Here are the reactions of some members of Congress:

House Speaker Paul Ryan

“This action was appropriate and just. Resolving the years-long crisis in Syria is a complex task, but Bashar al-Assad must be held accountable, and his enablers must be persuaded to change course. I look forward to the administration further engaging Congress in this effort.”

FILE - Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., (left) and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wait to speak during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 21, 2016.
FILE - Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., (left) and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wait to speak during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 21, 2016.

Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham

“Building on tonight’s credible first step, we must finally learn the lessons of history and ensure that tactical success leads to strategic progress. That means following through with anew, comprehensive strategy in coordination with our allies and partners to end the conflict in Syria.”

Senator Bob Corker, chairman Senate Foreign Relations

“It is critical that Assad knows he will no longer enjoy impunity for his horrific crimes against his own citizens, and this proportional step was appropriate. As we move forward, it will be important for the administration to engage with Congress and clearly communicate its full strategy to the American people.”

Rep. Edward Royce, R-Calif., questions Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen while she testifies before the House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 11, 2014.
Rep. Edward Royce, R-Calif., questions Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen while she testifies before the House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 11, 2014.

Representative Ed Royce, chairman House Foreign Affairs

“Assad was warned, repeatedly, by the U.S. and the U.N. that the intentional targeting of innocent men, women and children is intolerable. Now Assad has been caught red-handed carrying out another abhorrent chemical attack, and the administration has taken a measured response.”

Representative Adam Schiff, ranking member, House Intelligence

“I will be reintroducing an authorization for use of military force against ISIS and al-Qaida when Congress returns to session. Congress cannot abdicate its responsibility any longer and should vote on any use of force not made in self-defense. This is necessary whether action is taken against terrorist groups or, as here, against regime capabilities.”

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer

“Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do. It is incumbent on the Trump administration to come up with a strategy and consult with Congress before implementing it.”

Senator Ben Cardin, top Democrat on Senate Foreign Relations

“I cannot emphasize this enough, any longer-term or larger military operation in Syria by the Trump administration will need to be done in consultation with the Congress. Furthermore, it is the president’s responsibility to inform the legislative branch and the American people about his larger policy in Syria, as well as the legal basis for this action and any additional military activities in that country.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, speaks at a rally, Feb. 21, 2016, in Franklin, Tenn.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, speaks at a rally, Feb. 21, 2016, in Franklin, Tenn.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican on Senate Foreign Relations

“What must follow is a real and comprehensive strategy to ensure that Assad is no longer a threat to his people and to U.S. security, and that Russia no longer has free rein to support his regime.”

Republican Senator Rand Paul

“While we all condemn the atrocities in Syria, the United States was not attacked. The president needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution, and I call on him to come to Congress for a proper debate. Our prior interventions in this region have done nothing to make us safer, and Syria will be no different.”

Senator Dick Durbin, Democratic Whip

“My preliminary briefing by the White House indicated that this was a measured response to the Syrian nerve gas atrocity. Any further action will require close scrutiny by Congress, and any escalation beyond air strikes or missile strikes will require engaging the American people in that decision.”

Democratic Senator Chris Coons

“While I’m encouraged that the Trump administration has felt compelled to act forcefully in Syria against the Assad regime, I’m gravely concerned that the United States is engaging further militarily in Syria without a well-thought-out, comprehensive plan. Frankly, the president’s actions today generate more questions than answers.”

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