WASHINGTON — Congressman Tom Reed said this week that he stands with President Trump on the decision to kill Iran’s top military leader, Major General Qassem Soleimani.
“I appreciate the President taking the action he did,” said Reed in a conference call with reporters this past week. “There is no doubt in my mind after the briefing I received … that Soleimani represented a dire threat to American citizens and American men and women in the military. The taking out of Soleimani was appropriate and the right call.”
Iran responded to the assassination by firing a number of ballistic missiles at two U.S. bases in Iraq Wednesday. No one was injured.
Reed said “now is the appropriate time to de-escalate the situation” with diplomacy. The goal, he said, is to convince Iran to end “state-supported terrorism, stop attacking American interests.”
The strike against Soleimani was a message to Iran to change its ways, said Reed, pointing to attacks by Iran and its proxies against U.S. interests in recent months, including a rocket attack on an Iraq military base that killed an American contractor.
“Hopefully the message has been received that America has limits,” he said. “Right now, I’m comfortable with what has been done.”
Reed also commented on the War Powers Resolution that was to be taken up by the House Thursday, saying that “Congress should go on record” on military action against Iran.
While he believes Trump was within his authority to take out Soleimani without congressional approval, Reed said there is a limit.
“When it comes to things like boots on the ground and a protracted entanglements, obviously I believe Congress should act on that,” he said.
However, both he and the region’s other House member, John Katko, R-24, Camillus, voted against the bill, which passed largely along party lines, 224-194.
“I voted against the overly broad resolution before the House today,” said Katko. “This partisan measure would limit our nation’s ability to defend against threats in the Middle East, protect Americans abroad, and support our allies. While I believe that a well-considered change to the existing Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to reflect modern challenges is something Congress can and should review, the measure before the House today is non-binding and would infringe upon the President’s ability to act during this time of crisis. Doing so would be an incredible mistake and would only embolden an already dangerous Iran.
“Iran remains the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism and has consistently and aggressively provoked and threatened the United States and our allies,” Katko continued. “Iran continues to pose a global threat, and we must be vigilant as we look to keep the country safe in the wake of recent tensions. In my role as Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Cybersecurity Subcommittee, I remain particularly focused on preventing any retaliatory cyberattacks by Iran or its proxies.”