Congressional Delegation Weighs In On President's Decision To Launch Airstrikes In Syria

Apr 14, 2018

Independent Senator Angus King says he is "hopeful" that airstrikes ordered against Syria have been "carefully calibrated.”

Speaking on Weekend Edition Saturday, King said that had the President sought authorization for the strikes from Congress, he likely would have gotten it, but a policy needs to be developed going forward on how much to get involved.

“Intervening in this tragic civil war is a much broader question,” the senator says.

King, who sits on the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, says chemical weapons, such as those likely used by the Syrian government cannot be tolerated. But he says he would like Congress to take on a bigger role in making major decisions to act, and to plan an overall strategy in how to go forward regarding Syria.

King said late Friday night that any action that is not carefully targeted and coordinated could result in an unintended escalation of the conflict from a civil war to an international struggle.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins was more comfortable with the actions taken by President Trump. "The President and his national security team’s decisive action was an appropriate response to this barbaric attack," says Collins. "And the close coordination with Great Britain and France sends a message that the international community will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons."

All members of Maine's delegation strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons, but Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree was dismayed that the president had chosen to act alone, and she wonders what will be next. "The President’s remarks imply that this may not be the last military action his administration takes, but as of yet, Congress has yet to hear a definitive strategy for preventing Assad from using chemical weapons on his people again in the future."

Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin called the airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons program, "measured" and in close concert with U.S. allies. But like Pingree , he was concerned over the next step. "President Trump should come to Congress if he is considering further aggressive military action. It’s important Congress has an opportunity to review proposals for further aggressive military action.” says Poliquin.