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NH's Congressional delegation and others call for Syria strategy

From Staff and Wire Reports
April 14. 2018 11:46PM
A Syrian firefighter is seen inside the destroyed Scientific Research Centre in Damascus, Syria April 14, 2018. (REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki)

WASHINGTON - Typically on the opposite sides of most Washington debates, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., agree on this: President Donald Trump needs to deliver a "comprehensive strategy" to deal with the Syrian morass.

Both high-profile senators - and potential presidential candidates - used those words in statements delivered in the wake of the joint missile strikes delivered Friday by U.S., British and French forces.

The sentiment was echoed by lawmakers across the political spectrum who seized on the retaliatory attack - delivered to deter Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons - to rekindle twin debates about America's interests abroad and the President's power to take military action absent congressional approval.

But members of Congress, and both parties, are divided on what that strategy should be and how much latitude Trump and his successors should be given to intervene in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

"If (Trump) wants to expand American military involvement in Syria's civil war, he must seek approval from Congress - & provide a comprehensive strategy with clear goals & a plan to achieve them," Warren tweeted Friday.

Rubio didn't mention congressional approval in his statement. He called for "a real and comprehensive strategy for ending Assad's threat to his people, to the region and to U.S. security, and for countering Russian and Iranian support for the Syrian dictatorship's ongoing barbarity."

Members of New Hampshire's Congressional delegation also called on the President to consult with Congress and develop a clear strategy on Syria.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.:

"The Assad regime's brutality cannot go unanswered. With the assistance of Russia and Iran, Bashar al-Assad has committed mass murder against his own people. I support these air strikes, done in coordination with our allies, but remain adamant that the administration must develop a comprehensive strategy for ending the Syrian civil war. Tonight, I once again call on the White House to issue a clear policy on Syria and urge the Senate to pass legislation to this effect."

Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.: "The targeted air strikes launched by the United States, France, and United Kingdom in response to Assad's chemical weapons attacks are appropriate. However, continued direct U.S. involvement in Syria requires the President to consult with Congress. ... It is critical that the President present the American people with a consistent and comprehensive strategy for Syria that includes a path to a post-Assad political solution and that addresses the continued support of Russia and Iran for the brutal dictator."

Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H.: "The coordinated strikes with Britain and France against Assad's assets appear to be a proportional response to his violation of international law. ... It's now time for President Trump to come to Congress for an Authorization for the Use of Military Force so that the scope of the United States' role in Syria and the authority of the President can be clearly defined. The American people deserve an open debate about our role in the Syrian conflict."

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H.:

"The continued slaughter of innocents, violations of international law, and use of chemical weapons have no place in a civilized world. The suffering of the Syrian people has long been an urgent humanitarian crisis that the international community must address. ... President Trump needs to come to Congress to get an Authorization for the Use of Military Force. He also needs to come up with a clear strategy to address these challenges and unite us before he takes action again."

The Washington Post contributed to this report.

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