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Lawmakers react after US carries out strikes in Syria and Iraq

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul called the response "long overdue" after the retaliatory strikes were launched.
Lawmakers react after US carries out strikes in Syria and Iraq
Posted at 4:58 PM, Feb 02, 2024

Lawmakers voiced their views after the U.S. launched retaliatory strikes in Syria and Iraq on Friday. Some U.S. lawmakers, including Iowa Republican Rep. Joni Ernst, reacted favorably to the strike, with some confirming with reporters they were notified in advance that the planned strikes would be carried out. 

Rep. Ernst said Friday, "Finally. Iran needs to know the price for American lives."

The strikes began at 4 p.m. ET according to U.S. officials who said the military targeted Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, along with affiliated militia groups. 

A spokesperson for Sen. Chuck Schumer's office confirmed to Scripps News that Sen. Schumer was notified in advance of the strikes. 

Virginian Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, who is on the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, said, "Iranian-backed militia groups killed three U.S. service members and injured many others. While we don't want to unnecessarily escalate the situation, when U.S. service members are killed and injured, we have an obligation to respond to hold those responsible to account."

Some have pointed out statements made by other lawmakers in the hours after the planned strikes, urging caution and warning their colleagues to be careful with their statements. 

Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois said some Republican lawmakers have been "making reckless, irresponsible comments that dangerously risk escalating tensions even further."

Sen. Duckworth said in a video posted to Twitter, "Our troops deserve better than that."

SEE MORE: US begins retaliatory strikes on Iranian armed forces in Middle East

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul said in a statement: "After almost a week, today's strikes are long overdue following a delay that allowed our enemies to prepare. The Biden admin must be decisive with sustained retaliatory strikes and begin to enforce oil and other sanctions to cut off the source of terror funding."

The strikes were the first direct response to a deadly Jan. 28 drone attack targeting a U.S. outpost in Jordan that killed three U.S. military service members, and also wounded at least 40 others. 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin said the strikes, at the direction of President Joe Biden, were conducted on "seven facilities, which included more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria, that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated militias use to attack U.S. forces. This is the start of our response."

Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, who is the highest-ranking GOP member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, "These military strikes are welcome, but come far too late for the three brave Americans who died and the nearly 50 wounded."

President Biden said in a statement that the strikes would "continue at times and places of our choosing."

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