President Donald Trump was right to order air strikes in Syria after evidence emerged of a chemical weapons attack, said Tennessee's U.S. senators.
But Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, both R-Tennessee, cautioned the president against taking future action in the country without involving Congress.
“The precision strikes last night send a clear signal to the Syrian regime, and I applaud the president for following his words with action ..." said Corker, who serves as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"Going forward, it is imperative that the administration engage directly with Congress and clearly communicate its plan to the American people."
A report issued Saturday by the French government concluded the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad carried out the April 7 chemical attack.
A Corker spokeswoman confirmed the senator spoke with Trump earlier in the week about Syria, but declined to provide additional details about the conversation. Corker spoke Friday night with Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan.
In a statement Saturday afternoon, Alexander said the strikes epitomized the country's disgust at the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons. But military action is not the only way to respond to the use of such weapons, Alexander said.
"If the president intends for there to be a sustained U.S. military response in Syria, that requires the approval of Congress, according to our Constitution," Alexander said.
"During the congressional debate, I will assess whether additional military action would do more harm than good by setting off a chain of consequences that could involve American fighting men and women in another long-term Middle Eastern conflict.”
There is a debate as to whether the president has the authority to order targeted strikes without the approval of Congress. Since 2001, presidents have interpreted a measure known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force to order strikes without the congressional go ahead.
Corker is expected to hold hearings later this month to discuss the details of a possible new authorization bill, according to CNN and other media outlets.
There are about 2,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Syria, working as advisers to assist local anti-Islamic State fighters.
USA TODAY contributed to this report.
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