- Title: U.S. Senators weigh in on Syria strikes
- Date: 7th April 2017
- Summary: ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES (APRIL 7, 2017) (REUTERS) THE PENTAGON AND ITS PARKING LOT
- Embargoed: 21st April 2017 18:50
- Keywords: U.S. air strike on Syria Assad war chemical gas attack military action U.S. Congress lawmakers reaction Senators
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Lawmaking,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00C6BEJZGN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:U.S. Senators from both parties on Friday (April 7) appeared to back President Donald Trump's cruise missile strikes on Syria, but demanded he spell out a broader strategy for dealing with the conflict and consult with Congress on any further action.
In the biggest foreign policy decision of his presidency thus far, Trump ordered the firing of cruise missiles at a Syrian air base that U.S. officials said was the launching point for a deadly chemical weapons attack against Syrian civilians this week.
"It was the right thing to do. It ought to teach Assad a lesson that he better not use any chemical weapons," said Democratic Senator for Florida Bill Nelson. "And if he does it again, I think we ought to strike and strike all of the airfields and completely take out all of his airplanes so he doesn't have an Air Force."
Whether or not they favored the strikes, many Senators said Trump should seek Congress' approval if he decides to take further military action in Syria.
"Protracted military conflict requires congressional authorization, but a commander in chief has long had the authority to react to a specific circumstance," said Republican Senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz who added that he looked forward to knowing what Trump's broader strategy will be.
But other lawmakers said Trump was not authorized to carry out the strikes and that he needed approval from congress even for a 'one-off' strike.
"(Trump) knew four years ago taking military action against Syria for using chemical weapons against civilians is something that Congress has to approve," said Democratic U.S. Senator and Hillary Clinton's former running mate for Tim Kaine. "He told President Obama 'it's a big mistake if you don't come to Congress.' And that he would now, that he has the power just do it on his own without consulting Congress, it worries me, in this instance, and it worries me about other steps like this that he might do in the future," Kaine said.
Republican Senator Rand Paul called the Syrian air strikes "illegal".
"I would assume they (the Trump administration) will present the intelligence that shows that the Assad government was complicit in the chemical attacks. I think that should be shown to us before we vote, obviously. But they're showing it as a 'Good boy, here's some information, take this treat and don't give us any grief over what we're going to do anyway'," Paul told reporters.
House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi asked Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan to call members back from their recess to debate a former authorization to use military force in Syria.
The House was not due to return to Washington until late April.
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