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Ryan: ‘Appropriate’ for Trump to consult Congress on next steps in Syria

Ryan: ‘Appropriate’ for Trump to consult Congress on next steps in Syria
© Greg Nash

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBiden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day Revising the pardon power — let the Speaker and Congress have voices MORE (R-Wis.) is encouraging President Trump to give Congress a voice when it comes to the military’s next steps in Syria. 

While the Speaker says Trump was well within his authority to launch a missile strike Thursday against a military airfield controlled by Syrian President Bashar Assad, he’s also urging the administration to confer with Congress ahead of future operations. 

“The chemical weapons attack committed by the Assad regime was a flagrant violation of international standards, and preventing a deepening of the humanitarian crisis and instability in Syria is clearly in the United States' national interest. As such, last night's response was fully within the president's authority,” a Ryan spokeswoman said Friday in an email.

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“It is now appropriate for the administration to consult with Congress as it considers next steps to resolve the long-running crisis in Syria.”

Ryan’s position is sure to ease some of the concerns from lawmakers in both parties who are calling on Trump to engage with Congress before taking further actions.

But Ryan, by stopping short of advocating for a new resolution authorizing the use of military force, is certain also to disappoint a number of members who say Congress's constitutional power is being trampled by continual military activity in Syria and other terrorist hotbeds.

Rep. Thomas Massey (R-Ky.) on Thursday highlighted a 2013 tweet from Trump criticizing Obama for similar unilateral actions.

“The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria –– big mistake if he does not!” Trump tweeted at the time.

“#bigmistake,” Massey noted.

Administration officials are scheduled on Friday to brief Senate lawmakers on the Syria strike. House lawmakers, however, left Washington on Thursday for an 18-day break, leaving open the question of when they’ll be updated on the operation. 

On Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) penned a letter to Ryan urging the Speaker to reconvene the House to address the future of U.S. military operations in Syria. 

“The President’s action and any response demands that we immediately do our duty,” she wrote, urging debate on a new use-of-force resolution.

Ryan’s office was quick to throw cold water on that request, however, saying the Speaker has no plans to adjust the calendar.