Democrats warn Trump's Turkey sanctions don't go far enough

Democrats warn Trump's Turkey sanctions don't go far enough
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats quickly signaled on Monday that President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE's decision to slap new financial penalties on Turkey won't be enough to quash backlash over the administration's Syria policy. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level Progressive groups urge Schumer to prevent further cuts to T plan MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Jack ReedJack ReedOvernight Defense & National Security — Quick vote on defense bill blocked again Rubio blocks quick votes on stalemated defense bill Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE (D-R.I.) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezFive ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan Spending bill faces Senate scramble Republicans raise concerns over Biden's nominee for ambassador to Germany MORE (D-N.J.) — the top Democrats on the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, respectively — urged Republicans to support a resolution asking Trump to reverse his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria. 

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"Strong sanctions, while good and justified, will not be sufficient in undoing that damage nor will it stop the consequences stemming from the ISIS jailbreak," they said in an apparent reference to reports that some ISIS fighters had broken out of prisons in the wake of Turkey's military invasion.  

"The first step when Congress returns to session this week is for Republicans to join with us in passing a resolution making clear that both parties are demanding the president’s decision be reversed," they added. 

After days of mulling new sanctions against Ankara, Trump announced new financial penalties and travel restrictions that would target Turkish officials involved in human rights abuses or “threatening the peace, security or stability in Syria.”

But Democrats quickly signaled that the action won't be enough to stop the push on Capitol Hill for additional legislation. In addition to a sanctions package, lawmakers are also discussing a resolution that would formally oppose Trump's decision to pull back U.S. troops and call on him to reverse course. 

"President Trump should use this moment to step up, do the right thing, and correct course. He can listen to his national security and military advisors, and to the chorus of bipartisan voices in Congress and across the world who made it clear that this was a grave mistake worth reversing," Schumer, Reed and Menendez added.  

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) added in a tweet that "sanctions are a necessary step—as long as they are stringent & swift—but more must be done to help repair the broken promises & shattered lives caused by Trump’s reckless & senseless betrayals." 

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPhotos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Biden move to tap oil reserves draws GOP pushback MORE (R-S.C.), a close Trump ally who has been critical of his Syria decision, spoke before the president's announcement about the need for a sanctions package and the separate resolution opposing the administration's strategy.  

Asked if Trump’s statement scuttled the need for additional legislation, a Democratic leadership aide added that “we have no details beyond a vague statement. Regardless, there is significant bipartisan interest in advancing a legislative sanctions package.”