Local Members of Congress React to Syria Missile Strike
What local Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York congress members are saying about last night's missile strike on a Syrian air base, authorized by President Trump.
(R)- Republican Party
CT Senator Richard Blumenthal (D):
Released the following statement in response to U.S. missile strikes in Syria:
“The missile strike sent a message to the murderous Assad regime and his enablers, Russia and Iran. But it will have no real practical meaning or legal force without a strategy that is authorized by Congress, and engages regional allies and resources,” Blumenthal said.
“This strategy at a minimum must link military action to our national security interests, and set limits and goals. Striking a single air field cannot stop Assad from continuing atrocities against his own people. It risks further escalation of the war in Syria and may endanger our own forces operating against ISIL. Stronger steps involving Russia and Iran – aiders and abettors -- are necessary, including increased sanctions. Assad must be prosecuted for war crimes.”
“As a moral and humanitarian matter, providing refuge to Syrian victims of Assad’s atrocities is now more urgent than ever.”
Joe Courtney (D) Connecticut District 2: via Twitter
"Further direct US engagement in the Syrian conflict will have serious consequences. We need a comprehensive, diplomatic, deliberate approach"
Elizabeth Esty (D) Connecticut District 5:
Released the following statement:
“Last night's missile strike was a measured and proportionate immediate response to Assad’s heinous use of chemical weapons against his own people. However, continued military engagement in Syria will require congressional approval. Congress has abdicated this responsibility for far too long. We can’t pour resources and risk the lives of our troops in a new military conflict without a clear, comprehensive strategy and full consideration of the long-term ramifications. This was my position during the Obama administration, and it continues to be my position during the Trump administration. A comprehensive strategy should account for diplomatic avenues, a plan for dealing with Russia’s support of Assad, and a thoughtful refugee policy to alleviate the terrible humanitarian crisis created by the ongoing violence.”
NJ Senator Robert "Bob" Menendez (D):
Senator Menendez said on his Facebook Page:
"Bashar al Assad's most recent chemical attack on innocent Syrian civilians was a crime against humanity. Last night's air strikes targeting the launch site of those chemical weapons sent a message to Assad and to the world that using chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians is a gross violation of international law that will have consequences.
As I did when Assad first used chemical weapons against his own population in 2013, I believe this heinous act merited an international response. As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee then, I worked with a bipartisan group of senators to authorize the use of military force for the purpose of getting rid of Assad’s chemical weapons. Evidently, Syria has violated their obligations under that agreement to fully do so. As we consider further response to Assad’s brutal actions, we must also look at those actors complicit in his years of carnage, including Vladimir Putin in Russia. President Trump must also be prepared to address Russia’s role in this horrific conflict as well. Unless we change Russia and Iran’s commitment to propping up Assad, the slaughter will continue. Lastly, this latest chemical attack should serve as a gruesome reminder to the Trump administration of the horror in this brutal conflict, which has led to the worst refugee crisis since World War II. The United States has always been a beacon of hope for those fleeing persecution and violence, and bombs alone will not bring about a resolution. We must also have a humane refugee policy as this humanitarian disaster continues to unfold."
Donald Norcross (D) NJ District 1,
Released the following statement about the U.S. strikes against the Syrian government:
“The strikes were an appropriate, proportional response to Bashar al-Assad regime’s horrific use of chemical weapons against civilians, including innocent children. Assad’s regime has disregarded international norms and committed awful humanitarian crimes. The United States must stand in solidarity with the international community in condemning the abhorrent actions of the Assad regime and denouncing the regime’s legitimacy entirely. Moreover, the Russian government should be held accountable for fostering the events that led to this crisis.”
“Moving forward, it’s vital the Administration provides Congress, the American people and the men and women of our armed forces with an outline and explanation of its Syria strategy.”
Frank LoBiondo (R) NJ District 2: On Twitter
"President Trump’s response to Bashar al-Assad’s chemical attack on his own people was justified. The U.S. must no longer lead from behind."
"I strongly encourage the President and his National Security Team to fully engage Congress in this effort."
Tom MacArthur (R) NJ District 3:
Released the following statement on Syria:
“I fully support this decisive action against the Assad regime and salute our service members for carrying out this mission. Earlier this week, Assad launched a barbaric chemical weapons attack against the Syrian people—killing innocent people, including many children. These strikes send an important message that America will not stay silent and allow this type of evil to exist in the world.”
Albio Sires (D) NJ District 8:
Made the following statement in response to U.S. missile strikes in Syria:
“Assad continues to target innocent women and children with barrel bombs and chemical weapons. With support from Russia and Iran, Assad has already slaughtered nearly 400,000 people. If the President plans to continue using military force in Syria he must consult with Congress, make his case in front of the American people, and present a coherent long term strategy for further action. Assad is a brutal dictator and the international community must ban together to confront his aggression and care for the millions of refugees and displaced persons and help them heal from the wounds of war.”
Bill Pascrell, Jr.(D) NJ District 9:
Released the follow statement in response to the U.S. airstrikes in Syria:
"Seeing how the President did a 180 degree shift of his viewpoint on the utility of striking Syria, I hope he will also shift his thinking on Syrian refugee ban. 'No child of God should ever' be shunned from our shores after fleeing civil war and the murderous Assad regime.
"The atrocities committed by Assad certainly required a response and the Russians must explain how chemical weapons remain in Syria. Entering a complex civil war, the Administration must inform Congress and the American people about strategic plans, goals to be achieved, and views on regime change. And critically, any escalation of American military operation in Syria requires a specific authorization by the Congress. We recently have increased our troop presence in the region and I worry they are in harms way without a long term plan."
Donald Payne Jr. (D) NJ District 10:
Issued the following statement on U.S. airstrikes in Syria:
“President Trump’s unprecedented missile strikes in Syria will not put an end to the atrocities committed by the Assad regime. While the chemical attack on Syrian civilians necessitated a response, these strikes on their own are insufficient. Moving forward, the Trump administration must work closely with Congress to develop a comprehensive strategy to end Syria’s crisis in a way that keeps American troops safe and avoids another war in the Middle East.”
Bonnie Watson Coleman (D) NJ District 12:
Released this statement after U.S. forces conducted a tomahawk missile strike targeting a Syrian government airfield:
“We need to take decisive steps to combat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s war crimes, but Congress has a Constitutional duty to ensure a calculated and warranted response – especially when that response requires military action. We honor and pray for the courageous men and women of our military for their continued sacrifices on behalf of our nation. The commitment of these men, women, and their families make it critical for the President to engage in a dialogue with Congress about the rationale of this drastic measure and any further action being considered – a debate that should have transpired ahead of these airstrikes. Seemingly short-sighted actions like these strikes have a potential to be regressive and dangerous. Passing a new Authorization for Use of Military Force would allow Congress to establish a responsible plan through debate to move toward peace in Syria. This President owes the American people an explanation of his strategy and a clear plan to execute his goals. The Administration’s “America First” agenda cannot leave out the American people nor the men and women elected to serve in their best interests.”
NY Senior Senator Chuck Schumer (D):
Released the following statement on Syria:
"Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do. 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."
NY Junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D):
Issued the following statement on the bombing of an air base in Syria:
“The chemical attacks by the Assad regime in Syria are unconscionable atrocities and a direct violation of international law; these attacks demand a firm response from the U.S. and the world community.
“However, unilateral military action by the U.S. in a Middle East conflict causes grave concern, given the lack of any Authorization for Use of Military Force from Congress and the absence of any long-term plan or strategy to address any consequences from such unilateral action.
“Furthermore, there is no ‘military only’ solution to the suffering in Syria. The American people need answers from the Administration about their plan here and how they will bring coalition partners to the table for a long-term diplomatic solution.”
Lee Zeldin (R) NY District 1:
Issued the following statement:
“Bashar al-Assad’s barbaric decision to again use chemical weapons against his own civilian populace resulted in the murder of dozens of innocent men, women, and children. The rest of the world must not sit idly by witnessing such horrific acts of cruelty against innocent civilians. Not only should these chemical weapons have already been destroyed, but the deployment of these illegal weapons are clearly a direct violation of international law. A destabilized Syria has contributed to the rise of ISIS and other regional and global threats. Most recently, it contributed to children being senselessly and tragically murdered. Tonight’s decisive action by the Trump administration sends a powerful message that this particular red line can never be crossed without consequences. It is important to note that the U.S. missile strike in Syria targeted infrastructure, not people. Complacency and inaction has proven to be very costly in the past and we must be smarter and more effective with our efforts, which must include broadening our coalition of support to turn the tide in a country that is sadly in complete chaos, culminating in inhumane chemical warfare against innocent lives. The next chapter for Syria should be one that changes direction in favor of stability and peace. I’d be remiss if I didn’t note tonight how in the United States this evening, Americans are reminded yet again of how very blessed we are to have the finest men and women in uniform serving the most amazing and talented military this world has ever seen.”
Peter "Pete" King (R) NY District 2: via Twitter
"I call on all Americans to support President Trump's missile attack vs. Syria. It is essential to U.S. security."
Gregory Meeks (D) NY District 5:
Issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s decision to launch targeted airstrikes in Syria:
“The Assad regime's most recent use of chemical weapons killed innocent civilians in the Idlib province of Syria on Tuesday in a heinous act that demanded a response and strategy.
“The President's decision to launch U.S. air strikes must be followed by immediately engaging Congress on the Administration's intentions. Congress has a constitutional obligation to use its authority to shape any plan to address the tragedy in Syria, especially one that involves our military.
“An Authorization for the Use of Military Force that is well over a decade old must not be used for continued military engagement. Our men and women in uniform deserve an updated AUMF and a Congress and White House that agree on the mission and goals.
“The Syrian government clearly intends to disregard all attempts to stop its violation of international law and perpetration of war crimes including the agreement reached between the Obama Administration and the Russian Government in 2014 to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria. Launching Tomahawk missiles sends a message, but it isn't a strategy. Any solution to the civil war in Syria must ultimately involve regional Middle East partners, U.S. allies, and the UN Security Council.
“The President has sent signals in the past that he was prepared turn a blind eye to Assad's actions and Russia's support for the regime. He also made it clear that he wants to shut America's doors to those innocent Syrian victims seeking refuge here. If he is now prepared to change his posture and take action, the President must consult with Congress immediately.”
Nydia Velazquez (D) NY District 7: Via Twitter
"I have to ask after the strike on Syria whether @POTUS will reconsider his position on turning away refugees fleeing that troubled region."
Yvette Clarke (D) NY District 9: Via Twitter
"Chemical attacks by #Assad prove the need to allow Syrian refugees into the United States to escape imminent harm."
Jerrold Nadler (D) NY District 10:
Released the following statement after yesterday’s U.S. military strike targeting a Syrian government airfield in response to President Assad’s deadly chemical weapon attack earlier this week:
“President Bashar al-Assad’s recent use of chemical weapons against a civilian population is the latest demonstration of his regime’s disregard for human life and continued violation of legal and moral codes. Over the past few years, the civil war in Syria has exhibited horrific scenes of violence and misery, including hundreds of thousands killed and millions more forced to flee as refugees. There is zero justification for targeting innocent men, women and children with deadly poison gas. Without equivocation, the unspeakable human atrocities perpetrated by the Assad Regime deserve total condemnation.
“While the United States has a moral duty to react to the atrocities perpetrated by the Assad Regime, yesterday’s air strikes represent a new course of military action that required prior Congressional authorization. The Constitution clearly grants Congress the power to declare war and grants the President the power to decide how to wage a congressionally declared war. The President has no legitimate power to initiate a war with a foreign state, absent an imminent threat to the United States that does not allow time for Congress to act. In recent decades, the threat of imminent and rapid attack by bombers and missiles has greatly eroded this Constitutional framework. Presidents have used alleged imminent threats to drag the country into war without Congressional approval. But where, as here, there is no imminent threat to the United States, Congress should have been asked to authorize military action against Syria in advance.
“The President’s action in attacking Syria without Congressional authorization was clearly illegal and unconstitutional. Our action against Libya in 2012 without an imminent threat to the United States and without prior Congressional approval was similarly illegal and unconstitutional, as I said at the time. It is essential that the power to decide whether or not to take the country to war rest with the people, through their representatives in Congress, as the framers intended, rather than in any one person.
“Furthermore, while it is heartening to know that President Trump was moved by photos of slain Syrian children earlier this week, there have been countless images over the past few years of children laying face down on sandy shores or floating lifeless in the water as they flee the devastations of war at home. Yet the President’s approach to the Syrian refugee crisis flies in the face of the moral decency he cites as the reason to launch a military strike against Assad. I hope President Trump develops the same sense of moral decency when dealing with the Syrian refugees fleeing from Assad’s brutality.”
Adriano Espaillat (D) NY District 13: Via Twitter
Any further action following the #SyriaStrikes requires
debate in Congress @SpeakerRyan bring the House back into session.
Joseph Crowley (D) NY District 14:
Issued the following statement on the U.S. airstrikes in Syria:
“The recent chemical weapons attack against the Syrian people is an affront to the United States and the civilized world, and demands a compelling strategy to stop the normalization of chemical weapons use. This horrific assault against men, women, and children highlights the pressing need to bring an end to the terrible Syrian civil war that has cost hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. As the leader of the free world, the U.S. should never sit on the sidelines as atrocities unfold. The decision to strike an air base in Syria after Bashir al-Assad perpetrated the deadly attack against his own people appears to be a proportional response by the Trump Administration.
“President Trump owes it to our men and women in uniform and the American people to explain his long-term strategy toward Syria and how it enhances American security and advances protections of human rights. This explanation is critical given that just last week the Administration signaled a hands-off approach in response to the atrocities in Syria, the President’s long, effusive praise for the Assad regime’s patron Vladimir Putin, and his long-held position that the U.S. should not intervene in Syria.
“There is also an unmistakable need to consult with Congress about authorization for the U.S. to move beyond limited strikes. I support calls for Speaker Ryan to bring Congress back to Washington to consider a new Authorization for Use of Military Force, as well as to hold discussions on the path forward.
“Furthermore, the need for military strikes against Syria also begs the Trump Administration to reevaluate its inhumane policies toward refugees – many of whom are seeking to flee the brutal dictatorship of Assad. As President Trump explains to the American people what his strategy is, I hope to also hear about how he will welcome refugees who are seeking safety and security in the U.S.”
Eliot Engel (D) NY District 16:
Made the following statement:
“Tonight’s missile strike was an appropriate response to Assad’s most recent chemical weapons attack on the Syrian people. War crimes must have consequences. I commend our servicemembers who carried out this operation, and I thank them for their courageous service.
“In the wake of this strike, we must be clear-eyed about a few facts.
“Assad will continue to murder civilians, and he has no future as a leader in Syria. At the same time, there is no military solution to this crisis, and it’s incumbent on the Administration to work toward a long-term strategy that will stop the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian people and hold accountable those who have committed war crimes. Tomahawk strikes are not a long-term strategy. My legislation, the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, would crack down on the regime and its enablers in Moscow and Tehran and push parties back to the negotiating table.
“Tonight’s strike also starts the clock for Congressional action. Military force against Assad can only continue in the long term with Congressional approval. Regardless of whether this is a limited strike or part of a longer engagement, the Administration must come to Capitol Hill and consult about the best path forward.
“Lastly, I hope this crisis serves as a wake-up call to President Trump about the weight of American leadership. I am convinced that the Administration's policy shift away from removing Assad emboldened Assad to take this barbaric action. If the world’s superpower is on the sideline, butchers like Assad will act with impunity. I wish that this lesson for the new Administration had not come at such a bloody cost.”
Nita Lowey (D) District NY 17:
Released the following statement on the U.S. missile strike against a Syrian government airbase in response to the Assad Regime’s chemical weapons attack on civilians:
“This week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad again used chemical weapons to brutally massacre innocent Syrian men, women, and children. There is absolutely no place in human society for chemical weapons, and those who would use these barbaric tools must be held accountable.
“President Trump's missile strike was a measured response to deter further use of chemical weapons by Assad and the Syrian regime. However, this strike will not solve the Syrian crisis nor provide humanitarian assistance to millions of Syrians so desperately in need.
“President Trump now must present to the American people and Armed Forces a comprehensive, long-term strategy for ending the Syrian crisis, providing stability to the region, removing Assad, and holding him accountable for his crimes.”
John Faso (R) District NY 19:
Issued the following statement:
“The US attack on the Syrian air base associated with the chemical weapons attack was the correct response. The civilized world must respond to the horrific use of chemical weapons, especially against innocent civilians, or else we risk normalizing such behavior which has been outlawed since the end of World War I."
Elise Stefanik (R) NY District 21:
Issued the following statement on the U.S. military strikes in Syria:
"This week the world watched in horror as the Assad regime used chemical weapons to murder dozens of men, women and children. The Obama Administration policy towards Syria has failed and we need a new strategy. As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, this will be an important part of our work and I will be monitoring the situation closely with my colleagues."
Claudia Tenney (R) NY District 22:
“Earlier this week, the Assad regime launched a brutal chemical weapons attack in Syria that killed innocent men, woman and children.
The policies of the past administration have failed and it is now time for a new strategy.
Last night, President Trump’s action showed the world that the United States will not sit idly by while the Assad regime continues to murder their own people.
Going forward, it is vitally important that the administration involve Congress in any future decisions regarding the region.”