Paul, Lee: Congress needs to vote on Trump's military action in Syria
© Greg Nash

A pair of libertarian-leaning GOP senators are calling on President Trump to get congressional authorization before taking military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad. 

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenators pledge action on Saudi journalist’s disappearance Bernie Sanders: US should pull out of war in Yemen if Saudis killed journalist Senators warn Trump that Saudi relationship is on the line MORE (R-Utah) said on Thursday if the president is going to increase the U.S. military involvement in Syria, he should "follow the Constitution" and ask Congress to authorize the use of force.

“President Trump should make his case in front of the American people and allow their elected representatives to debate the benefits and risks of further Middle East intervention to our national security interests," he said in a statement. 

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulNoisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks Five things to watch for in deteriorating US-Saudi relations MORE (R-Ky.), a frequent ally of Lee's on military issues, separately told Fox News that he is "against going to any war without a vote."

Their push for Trump to seek a formal authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) comes as the president is inching closer to military action targeting the Syrian regime.

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CNN reported on Thursday that that Trump told lawmakers that he's considering action in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 70 civilians. Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLive coverage: McSally clashes with Sinema in Arizona Senate debate Is there difference between good and bad online election targeting? Murkowski not worried about a Palin challenge MORE (R-Ariz.) separately confirmed with reporters that he spoke by phone with Trump about Syria. 
 
The push from Paul and Lee for Congress to approve military actions against Assad comes as lawmakers have been stalemated for years over a separate AUMF targeting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 
 
McCain told reporters that while he thinks Congress should pass a new AUMF he also believes Trump currently has the authority to carry out strikes targeting Syria's aircraft.
 
Lee added on Thursday he would support cutting short an upcoming two-week recess that is scheduled to start on Friday so lawmakers can debate increasing military action. 

“I stand ready to stay in Washington, or come back to Washington, in order to properly consider any further military action and the national security interests of the American people," he said. 

Paul and Lee previously sent Trump a letter shortly before his inauguration stressing that an uptick in military operations, including a no-fly zone or increasing the number of troops, in the Middle East or northern Africa should only take place after "formal authorization by Congress."