Members of Congress call for Syria strike

WASHINGTON — A Republican senator and a House Democrat joined Sunday in calling for President Obama to launch air strikes against the Syrian regime in response to reports it used chemical weapons against its citizens.

“I do think we have to respond, and I do think we will take action,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on “Fox News Sunday.” He called for the administration to attack Syria in a “surgical way,” such as by launching cruise missiles directed at military targets.

Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), appearing on the same program, agreed the administration should launch an attack on Syria.

“I think we have to respond, and we have to act rather quickly,” he said. “We can’t afford to sit back and wait for the United Nations.”

Engel said the United States could hit a series of military targets, including attacking the bases and runways used by Syria’s air force. “We can destroy the Syrian air force,” he said.

While both urged swift military action by the Obama administration, Corker said the president should seek approval from Congress before acting. He predicted there would be bipartisan support for a measure that authorizes military action against the Syrian regime.

As lawmakers, “It’s time for us to step up and take responsibility,” he said.

david.savage@latimes.com

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