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Lawmakers urge Trump to engage Congress on Syria

Lawmakers urge Trump to engage Congress on Syria
© Greg Nash

Several Democratic lawmakers on Thursday urged caution after President Trump shot more than 50 Tomahawk missiles at an airfield in Syria.

A number of Democrats called on Trump to ask for congressional authority to use military action in Syria. 

They were joined by some Republicans, while others in the GOP asked for Trump to engage with Congress. 

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Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffIn our 'Bizarro World' of 2020 politics, the left takes a wrong turn Greenwald slams Schiff over Biden emails on Fox Hillicon Valley: DOJ accuses Russian hackers of targeting 2018 Olympics, French elections | Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats | House Democrats slam FCC over 'blatant attempt to help' Trump MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, warned that military strikes alone will not unseat Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom officials say used chemical weapons on Syrian citizens earlier this week.

"I fully concur that the regime has to go, because as long as Assad is there that fighting is going to go on, that terrible war is going to go on," Schiff said in comments on Rachel Maddow's show on MSNBC. "But this is not something that can be accomplished via the air at a standoff location."

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Graham dismisses criticism from Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Lewandowski: Trump 'wants to see every Republican reelected regardless of ... if they break with the president' MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader nancy Pelosi also offered measured support.

“Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do," Schumer said in a statement. 

“It is incumbent on the Trump administration to come up with a strategy and consult with Congress before implementing it. I salute the professionalism and skill of our Armed Forces who took action today.”

Pelosi said "The crisis in Syria will not be resolved by one night of airstrikes."

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“Tonight’s strike in Syria appears to be a proportional response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons.  If the President intends to escalate the U.S. military’s involvement in Syria, he must to come to Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force which is tailored to meet the threat and prevent another open-ended war in the Middle East," she said. 

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), a progressive Democrat who was the only member of Congress to oppose military action in Afghanistan, said Trump should have requested approval for the actions from Congress.

"This is an act of war. Congress needs to come back into session & hold a debate. Anything less is an abdication of our responsibility," Lee wrote on Twitter.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) warned that such attacks could put U.S. troops already stationed in Syria at risk of retaliation from the country's authoritarian government.

"Trump sent US ground troops to Syria last month purportedly to fight [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria]. Now our troops are at risk of being attacked by #Assad forces," Lieu wrote on Twitter.

Some Republicans also raised concerns about the lack of congressional approval.

Those voices included Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul rips 'leftwing media' for focusing on COVID-19 cases: 'Mortality rates are plummeting' Rand Paul suggests restaurants should hire COVID-19 survivors as servers during pandemic Two Loeffler staffers test positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Ky.), a frequent critic of U.S. military engagement. 

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was more blunt in his criticism. He quoted a 2013 tweet from Trump himself arguing that that former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOvernight Health Care: Trump testing czar says rise in cases is real | Obama rips Trump's pandemic response | CDC: Increasing numbers of adults say they wear masks Trump calls Fox 'disappointing' for airing Obama speech Trump blasts Obama speech for Biden as 'fake' after Obama hits Trump's tax payments MORE "must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria."

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Pelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats MORE (R-Wis.) issued a statement offering general support for Trump's actions, though he also said he looked forward to Trump engaging with Congress on Syria. 

"This action was appropriate and just," Ryan said. "I look forward to the administration further engaging Congress in this effort."