Corker: Congress must authorize strikes in Syria

The Obama administration must get congressional approval before carrying out airstrikes against Islamist militants in Syria, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Tuesday.

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“We should certainly authorize this,” Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerPollster says Trump unlikely to face 'significant' primary challenge GOP gets used to saying 'no' to Trump Democrats introduce bill to rein in Trump on tariffs MORE (R-Tenn.) said on MSNBC.

He said it had “been interesting to watch” President Obama update lawmakers on operations in Iraq under the War Powers Act, which allows 60 days of activity without coming back to Congress, but “this is going to have to be something far more coordinated."

Corker said he hopes the president will reach out to lawmakers for a “new authorization for a new threat that has evolved over time.”

“For the American people’s sake, Congress should weigh in. Congress should be a part of this,” he said.

The president has reportedly authorized surveillance flights over Syria, which could be a prelude to strikes against fighters with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) operating in that country. Thus far, Obama has only authorized airstrikes against the group in Iraq.

On Monday, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), another member of the Foreign Relations panel, released a statement repeating his argument that the president should get congressional approval before taking any additional military action against ISIS.

Obama went to Congress a year ago to authorize strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has been mired in a civil war with ISIS and moderate opposition. However, the administration has refused to say if it would go before lawmakers again for their stamp of approval for ISIS strike in Syria.

Corker also chided the White House for not sharing its plans to defeat ISIS, saying he had checked in with the administration “several times” in recent days.

“I haven’t heard back,” he said.