More senators express support for strike against Syria

August 26, 2013

This item has been updated and corrected.

Lawmakers of both parties are expressing support for a U.S. military response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) called the use of the weapons "despicable" and said he's pleased to hear that the Obama administration is consulting with Congress while considering potential military options.

"Absent an imminent threat to United States national security, the U.S. should not be engaged in military action without Congressional approval," Kaine said in a statement issued late Monday. "And while it’s important that we continue to work closely with our allies to help Syria achieve a negotiated, inclusive political solution, those who employ such weapons and indiscriminate violence must be held accountable.”While traveling in Illinois, Sen. Mark Kirk (R) went a step further by endorsing calls for a targeted military strike on the Syrian unit responsible for using chemical weapons on civilians.

"My hope is to find the military unit that possibly was involved and hit their headquarters to cause a direct price for gassing civilians," Kirk said while traveling through the Quad Cities, according to local news reports.

Kirk compared a potential strike on Syrian units to a 1998 U.S. military attack on Iraq designed to curb that country's use of weapons of mass destruction. He also rejected any extended U.S. military involvement in Syria, saying that a naval strike instead would prevent any harm to U.S. service members.

Earlier Monday, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said he had been in touch with the White House as it weighs potential response options and said that he expects the Obama administration to further consult Congress before taking action.

And Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in multiple television interviews Monday that he's been in touch with the administration and that “I think response is imminent."

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Correction: An earlier version of this report suggested that Kaine has supported specific military action, but the senator didn't explicitly discuss any type of military involvement in his statement. The story has been corrected.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.
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