Pa. lawmakers oppose Trump's troop withdrawal in Syria
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Damage control continues in Congress as a growing number of lawmakers formally opposed President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Northern Syria. Action now heads to the Senate as Turkish forces continue their battle against Syrian Kurdish forces.
“In the aftermath of that bad decision, we now have to take steps to try to mitigate,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.).
From the start, Casey, a third-term Democrat, has opposed Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Northern Syria, which borders Turkey. He’s among a growing number of bipartisan senators who are urging Trump to keep forces in the region and support Kurdish allies who helped the U.S. weaken the Islamic State, or ISIS.
“Turkey’s escalation of hostilities of Syrian Kurish partners who have helped the United States fight terrorism is completely and totally unacceptable,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday on the Senate floor.
“President Trump, through this thoughtless action, is allowing ISIS to gain new strength,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) following McConnell’s remarks.
That’s the fear in the House of Representatives, as well, as House members on Wednesday, overwhelmingly supporting a resolution opposing Trump’s foreign policy plan by a 354-60 vote. Locally, U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly and Glenn Thompson sided with the Democratic majority. U.S. Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), whose district covers Chautauqua County, was among the 60 House members to side with Trump by voting against the resolution.
The vote now adds to the already growing pressure on Senate Republicans to oppose the move on the record, as well.
Members of both the House and Senate are scheduled to introduce sanctions against Turkey this week. Casey says that is something he would support.
“The President should be working with us to prevent the resurgence of ISIS,” Casey said.
The stark rebuke in the House the latest sign of a Congressional consensus that Trump’s move could damage U.S. interests in the Middle East.
“It was a policy that was working,” Casey said. “I think it’s a policy the President should have stayed with.”
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) was not available for comment on Wednesday. However, he has expressed concern in recent days that the withdrawal will destabilize the region.
"The president’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the northern Syrian border poses a significant threat to our national security and risks reversing the progress made in the region to destroy ISIS," Toomey tweeted on Oct. 7. "President Trump should rethink this decision immediately."