Pa.’s congressional delegation reacts along party lines to strike on an Iranian General 

Most Republican members have said they support the move; Democrats say they’re worried about destabilizing the Middle East and concerned Trump didn’t seek congressional approval 

  • Katie Meyer

(Harrisburg) — Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation—half Republicans, half Democrats—seems to be split down party lines on ​this week’s attack, authorized by President Trump, on a top Iranian general.

Qassem Soleimani led Iran’s powerful Quds Force, and was a high-profile military figure in the region. He was killed in a drone strike in Iraq as his convoy left the Baghdad International Airport.

The U.S. defense department has said he was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” and said he was involved in recent attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

As Washington reacted to the overnight attack Friday, Pennsylvania’s two U.S. Senators, Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Bob Casey, seemed to set the tone for the rest of the commonwealth’s politicians.

Toomey issued an unequivocally supportive statement, saying the world is a better place now that Soleimani is dead.

“Every American should be grateful to our armed forces who carried out this strike with incredible skill and precision,” he said. “The Trump administration was right to restore deterrence against Iran.”

Scott Perry, the GOP House Representative for Pennsylvania’s 10th district, echoed the sentiment in an appearance on Fox Business.

“It’s about time,” he said. “Quite honestly, it’s about time that somebody did it, and that’s why we’re happy President Trump is the Commander in Chief specifically in that regard.”

Casey also said Soleimani “was directly responsible for the killing of hundreds of American soldiers and civilians.” But he added, he has “grave concerns” about the implications of Trump not sharing a comprehensive strategy for the delicate region.

“As we prepare for fallout in the coming days, Congress has a critical role to play in assessing the legality of the strike, understanding its impact on U.S. national security and conducting oversight over this Administration’s actions abroad,” he said.

Five of Pennsylvania’s nine Democratic House members voiced similar worries that Trump didn’t consult with Congress about the strike, and warned that any erratic behavior could destabilize the region.

Nationally, some Democrats, like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, said the U.S. needs to avoid war with Iran. None of Pennsylvania’s Democratic representatives invoked the prospect of war so strongly, though Dwight Evans (D-1) came closest.

“President Trump’s erratic approach to war and peace has not worked with North Korea, and the American people will not be well-served by cowboy behavior in the Middle East either,” he wrote on Twitter. “President Obama worked to de-escalate tensions in the region through a nuclear limitation deal with Iran – President Trump broke that deal and the result has been increased danger.”

One Republican—Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-15)— and four Democrats—Brendan Boyle (D-2), Matt Cartwright (D-8), Conor Lamb (D-17) and Mike Doyle (D-18)—didn’t comment on the strike against Soleimani.

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