Kathy Castor Archives - SaintPetersBlog

#8 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Kathy Castor

Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor has now been in Washington for a decade, but Hillary Clinton’s loss in November to Donald Trump definitely hurt her ability to change policy in Washington. That’s because this is the first time since she was elected in 2006 that she is in a party that neither controls the House of Representatives or the White House, prompting rumors that she was considering a run for Tampa mayor in 2019 (at press time, Castor declined to respond to that story).

Though Republicans have controlled Capitol Hill since 2010, Castor was influential in working with President Barack Obama in having him re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba in December 2014.

Although redistricting reduced the number of Democrats in her congressional district in 2016, it didn’t appear that way at the polls in November, as she blew away Republican Christine Quinn by 24 percentage points.

Castor moves up from No. 10 to No. 8 in this year’s survey.

Joe Henderson’s Take

“The only question is how long this unabashed liberal wants to stay in Congress. She has a safe seat, so being re-elected is not the issue. There is a lot of chatter about her running for mayor of Tampa in 2019, and I think she would win easily. She is bright, engaging, informed and focused. What’s not to like, other than the fact Democrats for the moment have little power in Washington.”

For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who made up the panel that amassed it, please read here.


Universal support for Robert Mueller so far from Florida’s members of Congress

Across the aisles and across the Sunshine State Florida’s members of Congress are universally praising the announcement that former FBI Director Robert Mueller will lead a special investigation into Russian interference in American elections.

Some Democrats, while praising the appointment and Mueller’s integrity, still called for more, including the special commission that Democrats have been pushing for in a bill in the House of Representatives. They also almost universally expressed hope that Mueller will conduct a broad investigation that includes pursuing obstruction of justice allegations against President Donald Trump.

Fewer Florida Republicans than Democrats responded Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, but those who did expressed confidence that Mueller’s appointment is the right move, and that Mueller is the right man for the job.

Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Kendall once again got out front of other Republican in expressing concerns over Russia, going on MSNBC Wednesday night and alluding to the prospect that the Russians had American insiders helping them with their election influence operation.

“Because we all want to get to the bottom of what the Russians did to influence this election, and we need to know if any U.S. persons collaborated or colluded with the Russians, this is something that will get us much closer to the truth,” Curbelo told Greta Van Susteren on the For The Record With Greta show. “And it’s something we should be very happy about.”

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who’d been among the first and most vocal of Republicans to raise concerns about Russian interference last fall, but who had remained fairly quiet as news bombs exploded earlier this week, applauded the Mueller appointment, while cautioning that he still wants the Senate to run its own investigation.

“Mr. Mueller is widely respected for his independence and professionalism. I have confidence that he will conduct a fair and thorough investigation,” Rubio said in a written statement. “For the sake of the country, all parties must fully cooperate with his efforts that are focused on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This effort should in no way be allowed to impede the ability of the Senate Intelligence Committee to conduct and conclude its investigation into the same subject. It is my hope that these investigations will now move expeditiously.”

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson offered the hope that Mueller will get everything he needs.

“Bob Mueller has the experience to conduct a thorough investigation. Now, the administration must provide him the resources and independent authority he needs to follow the facts wherever they lead,” Nelson said in his statement.

Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan of Longboat Key called Mueller “a man of integrity and independence.”

“Bob Mueller is a great choice to lead the investigation as the newly appointed special counsel. A former FBI director, Mueller is a man of integrity and independence who can be expected to conduct a thorough inquiry into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Mueller will get to the truth and give the American people confidence in the outcome of the investigation.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Mast of Palm City called for truth.

“We should never run or hide from the truth,” Mast stated in a release. “If we seek out truth and embrace it then Americans can know we all play by the same set of rules.  I hope Former FBI Director Robert Mueller can be looked at as unbiased and his finding respected by all involved.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami called Mueller “no-nonsense.”

“I applaud the appointment of no-nonsense Mueller to lead the investigation of the negative interference of Russia in our democratic process,” she tweeted.

Republican Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami said the matter deserves the attention.

“By appointing former FBI Director Mueller as special counsel, the Justice Department recognizes the attention this matter requires,” he wrote in a statement. I expect Mr. Mueller will conduct this in a professional and thorough manner, just as he led the FBI for 12 years through two presidencies.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando called the move “brilliant” but held out a demand that the commission House Democrats have been seeking still gets established.

“The American people deserve answers. The appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller is a brilliant choice. Based on my knowledge of him, he will be relentless in his pursuit of the facts. He is well up to the task,” she wrote in a statement. “Now, we need an independent commission to ensure we protect our democracy and send a strong message that we will not tolerate any  interference in our elections from anyone.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park agreed, on social media posts.

“The appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel for the Russia investigation is a positive step toward uncovering the truth. We must follow the facts,” she wrote. “However, we still need an independent commission on Russia’s interference and hacking in our 2016 elections to inform the public and to determine how we can prevent future attacks on our democracy. “

Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist of St. Petersburg expressed his confidence in Mueller.

“This is a very significant step and a win for our democracy and the American people,” he declared in a written statement. “Robert Mueller has broad respect across party lines and is the right person to lead such an important and sensitive investigation. We must get to the bottom of the Russia question, letting facts guide us to the truth.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa urged everyone, including Trump, to fully cooperate with Mueller.

“The appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate potential wrongdoing between Russia and President Trump is an important and overdue step to fully uncover the extent of Russian meddling in our political system and potential obstruction of justice,” she wrote. “A fully independent investigation outside of the partisan politics of Congress is required to restore public trust. This is a tall order and I hope the Special Counsel is up to this task. The appointment comes on the heels of intransigence by Congressional Republicans who as late as this afternoon refused to bring to the House floor a bipartisan bill I have co-sponsored to establish a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the malign Russian influence on our democratic system, the Trump campaign, and his administration. I urge President Trump, all of his associates and all who love this country to be forthright and do everything they can to cooperate and aid the investigation. The American people deserve no less.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston insisted the investigation must be as broad as possible.

“I’m encouraged by the Justice Department’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump-Russia connection, and I have a deep respect for former FBI Director Mueller. Assuming he is given true independence, this appointment will remove some of the clouds that have hung over our system of justice during this deeply troubling situation. It’s certainly overdue,” she said in a written statement. “However, the investigation must include Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, the Kremlin’s possible ties to the Trump campaign, and the President’s alleged interference in the Michael Flynn investigation. This is a positive step, but more still needs to be done to ensure that we provide the whole truth to the American people.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton said something similar in a tweet:

“Important step in Russia investigation. But any investigation must include possible obstruction of justice by POTUS,” he tweeted.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach called for vigilance.

“Thanks to public outcry, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein names a special counsel in Russia probe. Americans must stay vigilant,” she tweeted.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson of Miami Gardens specifically cited Trump’s presidential campaign as a target.

“The appointment of Robert Mueller to investigate possible ties between President Trump’s campaign and the Russian government is a long-awaited step in the right direction,” she said in a written statement. “After a week of constant controversy, Americans’ faith in government may begin to be restored. I applaud Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for having the courage to name a special counselor, a decision that Mr. Trump has denounced as a ‘witch hunt.’ My view is that if there is no connection between the president or his campaign and Russia, he should have nothing to worry about. Mr. Mueller is widely viewed as a man of the highest integrity who can be counted on to maintain that standard. I hope he will have all of the authority and resources necessary to conduct a thorough investigation, no matter where it may lead him.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson of Tallahassee called the appointment a step in the right direction, but insisted on the independent commission.

“Appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel is a step in the right direction for continuing the investigation into Russia’s possible involvement in our democracy, but we still need an independent commission in order to ensure a thorough investigation,” Lawson said in a written statement. “The American people deserve to know the full truth.”

In Tampa, public officials blast education bill, urge Rick Scott veto

A host of political and education issues came together Tuesday in West Tampa to trash the massive $419 million public education bill that GOP lawmakers unveiled and passed in the final days of the Legislative Session.

“This is the mother of all education bills, ” said Rep. Sean Shaw. The Tampa Democrat was referring to House Bill 7069, a 278-page conforming bill agreed to in secret and barely surviving a vote in the Senate before the Legislature adjourned earlier this month.

HB 7069, a massive 278-page education conforming bill that was agreed to in secret, barely survived a full vote in the Senate. Public school officials throughout the state have blasted the bill for its enormous incentives for privately run charter schools.

As a freshman who just completed his first session in the Florida House, Shaw said that the way he thought things were supposed to work in Tallahassee is that a bill is introduced in a committee and goes through other committees. Then, if it survives that process, the bill is ultimately voted on in the House and/or Senate.

Not this time.

“Not only is it filled with bad policy, the procedure with which it was done was way out of wack,” Shaw lamented.

Three members of the Hillsborough County School Board — Susan Valdes, Sally Harris and Cindy Stuart — all appeared at the news conference held at West Tampa Elementary.

On Monday, the Florida School Boards Association became the latest organization calling on Gov. Rick Scott to veto HB 7069. In addition to criticizing the lack of transparency in the crafting of the bill, the FSBA have an issue on how Title 1 dollars would be spent if the bill passed.

“The way that the state has now taken a federal law and reregulated it basically at the state level is going to siphon millions and millions of dollars away from our schools that have the highest concentration of poverty,” said a concerned Jeff Eakins, the superintendent of the Hillsborough County School District.

Another controversial provision allocates $140 million for the House’s “schools of hope” proposal, aimed mostly at encouraging charter schools with a track record of helping academically struggling students. The measure would help open branches of charter schools near traditional schools that continually do poorly on state report cards.

“So if we’re going to incentive the charter school that works down the street from a ‘failing school,’ what happens to the failing school that we’ve given no funds to get better?” asked a frustrated Shaw. “What happens in the next five years? The next 10 years?

“This harmful education bill continues to divert our tax dollars from our public schools, many going to for-profit corporations that act as charter schools,” said Tampa-area Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor.

Mindy Taylor, an advocate for the Alliance for Public Schools, says her organization is most concerned about parental engagement, increasing funding for public schools, and maintaining local control of schools.

“The provision in HB 7069 violate each of these priorities,” Taylor said.

Eakins stated that Hillsborough receives about $8 million annually for a recruitment retention program to lure nationally certified teachers to teach in some of the county’s poorest area. “That’s $8 million we will not be able to use in that particular program,” he said. “The impact is going to be real.”

Other provisions in the bill include additional funding for social services at a limited number of traditional public schools that are failing, an expanded bonus program for teachers and principals, restrictions on teacher tenure-like policies, a recess mandate for elementary schools, and the elimination of a required high school math exam.

A report from POLITICO on Monday indicated that Scott may, in fact, veto HB 7069.

“We’ve got to make sure we properly fund education, whether we have a great state college system, we have a great K-12 system,” the governor said. “We’ve got to continue to do that.”

Charlie Crist, Kathy Castor, Gwen Graham endorse ‘rockstar’ Darden Rice for re-election

St. Petersburg City Council Chair Darden Rice’s re-election effort received a boost Monday with major endorsements from three Florida Democratic leaders.

On Monday, Rice received thumbs-up from former Governor and hometown Congressman Charlie Crist, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, and Congresswoman Gwen Graham, currently a Democratic candidate for governor.

“Darden is a rockstar, and I’m proud to call her a friend. We’ve worked together for years to make St. Petersburg a better place to live, work and play,” said Crist who represents St. Petersburg as part of Florida’s 13th Congressional District. “She has an impressive track record creating innovative solutions to the issues facing our community. We need her leadership on council, and she has my steadfast support.”

“Council Chairwoman Rice is committed to improving the quality of life for residents of St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay,” Castor said. ” I have great respect for her leadership on transportation and a clean and healthy environment – both of which are key to our economic success. That’s why we need her to continue her leadership on the St. Petersburg City Council for the next four years.”

“I’m proud to support Darden. She’s exactly the kind of leader we need in St. Petersburg,” Graham said. “She sets a strong example of thoughtful and courageous leadership that local government leaders around the state can look to and emulate.”

“I’m honored to have the endorsement of these special and dedicated Florida leaders who look out for our working families. ” Darden said. “We’re very fortunate to have such dedicated leaders fighting for us in Washington. I’m excited to continue our work together.”

On PBS NewsHour, Kathy Castor says in last 24 hours GOP health care bill has ‘gotten even worse’

House Republicans plan on a second go around Thursday with the American Health Care Act. it’s anyone’s guess whether it will pass.

Whether it will pass is anyone’s guess.

On Wednesday’s PBS NewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff interviewed Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor on her thoughts about the GOP proposal.

Castor told Woodruff that over the past 24 hours “the bill has gotten even worse,” specifically when it added provisions that can allow states to make it prohibitive for patients with pre-existing conditions to get health care coverage.

Watch below (Castor’s interview comes at the 5:40 mark).

Sandy Murman confirms she will switch seats to run for a four-year term in countywide seat

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman confirmed to SPB on Monday that she will leave her District 1 seat in 2018 to run for another four-year term in District 7, the countywide seat that will be open with the previously announced retirement of Al Higginbotham.

News of Murman’s switch was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times William March.

In switching seats, Murman becomes the second current member of the BOCC to announce that they hope to extend their political career by running for a different seat. District 5 Commissioner Ken Hagan is term-limited out next year, but announced last month that he will run for the District 2 seat in 2018.

Murman disputes the notion that she is pushing the boundaries of term limits by running for the District 7 seat, since she will, in fact, be leaving her District 1 seat less than two years after being re-elected to it last fall.

“With so many major projects and issues that we have tackled on the County Commission, I want to see them through to the end,” she said on Monday, emphasizing transportation and economic development as being two such issues. “I just want to make sure that there’s continuity as we go forward.”

A third BOCC board member, District 2 Commissioner Victor Crist, may also run for a different four-year term next year. He is term-limited from running again and is eyeing a run at the District 5 seat that Hagan will be term-limited out of.

The opening in District 1 could pave the way for a Democrat to join the board, which is currently 5-2 Republicans to Democrats.

The district is considered a moderate seat that was held by Kathy Castor from 2002-2006, followed by Rose Ferlita from 2006-2010. It encompasses South Tampa (where the last three members have lived), West Tampa, Town ‘N’ Country, Egypt Lake and other parts of Northeast Hillsborough, as well as parts of South Hillsborough County. Among those strongly considered to be looking at running for the seat is Janet Cruz, the Democratic House Minority Leader in Tallahassee who is term limited out of her HD 62 seat next year.

Murman, a former state legislator, defeated Democrat John Dingfelder for the open District 1 seat in 2010. She then had to run again in 2012, where she won easily without an opponent. She won again last fall, defeating Democrat Jeff Zampitella.

Stop using divisive term ‘sanctuary city’ Kathy Castor tells immigration advocates

In only the past few weeks, U.S. immigration officers arrested 367 undocumented immigrants.

But Newsweek reports they weren’t just the“bad hombres” President Donald Trump said were the priority for removing from the country. In some cases, individuals were arrested for offenses such as driving under the influence or possessing marijuana.

“It appears that some of the mean-spirited rhetoric out of the Trump administration has emboldened certain immigration agents to act outside of their typical powers, and we really need to hear that if you of these cases locally,” Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor told several dozen activists and citizens who jammed into the Blind Tiger Cafe on Ybor City’s 7th Avenue Wednesday morning.

When an audience member talked about a local detention that lacked specifics, Castor said she would need more information before acting.

“That’s the only way that I’m empowered to ask Secretary Kelly and say,’ they’ve overstepped their bounds,'” she said, referring to John Kelly, who heads the Department of Homeland Security. 

Castor added that while she’s heard about DHS taking a harder line against undocumented immigrants, she was not aware of any such actions taking place in her District, which encompasses Hillsborough County.

“That’s why it’s really important to let me know if you hear those kinds of things happening,” she said.

Regarding the issue of sanctuary cities and/or counties, Castor told the crowd they should stop using that phrase, as it was intentionally divisive. The loosely defined term is best described as local government limiting cooperation with the federal government to help undocumented immigrants avoid deportation.

“There’s a lot of confusion and emotion around the term,” Castor said. “I think it’s a trap. I think it was a term that was created to divide people and to demonize diverse areas.”

The Tampa Democrat said the real question to ask is what are the responsibilities of the local law enforcement compared to federal officers.

“Their responsibility is not to enforce federal immigration law, and we wouldn’t want our tax dollars to be spent on that. We want our local law enforcement officials focused on local crime,” she said of both Tampa Police and Hillsborough County Sheriff Deputies.

Castor said she strongly disagreed with the Trump administration’s potential plan to withhold federal grants to cities saying they will not detain undocumented immigrants using requests called detainers.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri agrees. He recently told WTSP-10 News that courts have said that his department can’t legally keep an inmate beyond their court-ordered incarceration.

“That’s not something I get to decide, is that, yes, people who are in this country illegally do have constitutional rights. Like it or not. That’s a fact. And that’s the law,” Gualtieri said. “If somebody walks in front of me right now and tells me that they are here in this country is illegally, there’s nothing I can do about it. We have no authority, we have no laws, we have no jurisdiction, and there’s nothing we can do.”

“There is a dichotomy between the responsibilities of local law enforcement and the responsibilities of our federal authorities,” Castor said.

Regarding the issue of skilled “merit-based” immigration, Castor decried the fact that our universities recruit talented students from overseas, and yet the law doesn’t allow them to get on a path to citizenship after graduating. Our current legal immigration system favors family-based migration. Concurrently, the visa lottery system allows 55,000 immigrants into the country annually.

Krishna Kalyan Thatavarthy, an engagement lead at Citi Bank, asked Castor to support a bill sponsored by Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz to eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants. Thatavarthy is from India and says he’s been waiting for 17 years to get a green card.

“The average wait time for a skilled immigrant from India is 20 to 70 years,” Thatavarthy said, stunning the audience. “When you are hired based off your skill, why do you differentiate based off your country of birth?” he asked, adding that a high-skilled immigrant from the Philippines with the same skill set as himself could get a green card in a year-and-a-half.

“Does this make any sense?” Castor asked rhetorically after hearing from Thatavarthy. One reason that particular piece of legislation may be stalled, she added, is the fear that if it’s removed from a greater comprehensive immigration package, there would be even less incentive from some lawmakers to support a more encompassing bill.

Meanwhile, a memo issued Tuesday by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions calls for federal attorneys to consider prosecution of anyone harboring undocumented immigrants, with priority given to violent cases and those that involve transporting or shielding three or more undocumented immigrants. Sessions also instructed the Justice Department to pursue felony charges when applicable for immigrants trying to enter the U.S. illegally on multiple occasions.

And about the much-hyped border wall along the Mexican border, which the president said on the campaign trail would be paid for by the Mexican government?

The Trump administration said they will request immediate funding to build the wall in the upcoming appropriations bill, which needs approval by April 28.

Castor predicted a “very good chance” that Democrats will block that funding, but expects it to be requested again in another appropriations bill later this summer.

Only 7 members of Florida’s congressional delegation hosting town halls during Easter break

(Updated) Gainesville Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho held a raucous town hall meeting Monday night, as he was jeered by members of the audience before he finished his opening statement.

“I really, really expected them to be a little more civil,” Yoho to the Gainesville Sun after the event.“This was the rowdiest crowd.”

Similar statements have been made by congressional Republicans around the country in 2017, as angry Democrats have crowded town halls in some of the most conservative parts of the country, expressing their unhappiness about GOP plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, issues with the Trump administration, or other events since the election.

Yoho is scheduled to go back out on the road Tuesday night, where he’ll host another town hall meeting in Palatka.

However, most members of Florida’s congressional delegation don’t have any town halls scheduled over their two week break which began on Monday. According to the website townhallproject.com, only seven of Florida’s 27 Representatives have such events planned in April.

However, that doesn’t mean their staying idle during their Easter recess.

“The Congressman is in the district throughout the break,” said Gus Bilirakis spokesperson Elena Hernandez. “He’s spending a majority of the next couple of weeks meeting with constituents, holding open office hours, visiting local businesses, hosting a student government roundtable. Also he’s meeting with Pasco County officials, local doctors, touring a substance abuse center, and hosting a Veterans Resource Fair next week.”

Polk County Republican Dennis Ross was scheduled to return on Tuesday from an official congressional delegation trip to Kuwait and Iraq, where he met with members of the Florida National Guard stationed in Kuwait, as well as with the U.S. Ambassadors to Kuwait and Iraq and other government officials.

Ross spokesperson Joni Schockley adds that Ross has “multiple meetings scheduled throughout the district during the next two weeks.

Tampa Representative Kathy Castor  appeared at the USF College of Medicine on Monday, where she met with scientists to denounce President Trump’s proposed 18 percent cut to the National Institutes of Health. She also held a town hall at the University Area Community Center last Friday, according to her district director, Marcia Mejia.

Charlie Crist will be holding a veterans roundtable, walking in the march for science, and speaking at the rededication of the Jordan Park complex in St. Petersburg, according to spokesperson Erin Moffet.

Florida District 11 Republican Dan Webster is one of the seven Florida congressional members who is holding a town hall this week.  He held two on Monday.

The other members holding town halls this week include Ron DeSantis, Matt Gaetz, Darren Soto, Brian Mast, Al Lawson and Yoho.

Representatives for Vern Buchanan did not respond to our requests for comment.

Kathy Castor agrees with Hillary Clinton; misogyny played a role in her loss

In her first interview since she lost the race for president in November, Hillary Clinton said last week that “Certainly, misogyny played a role.”

“I mean, that just has to be admitted,” she told New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff last Thursday night. “And why and what the underlying reasons were is what I’m trying to parse out myself.”

Congresswoman Kathy Castor agrees.

“What struck me is some interviews on TV during the campaign folks out in Pennsylvania where young people would say, ‘I don’t believe in having a female president.’ I was taken aback,” the Tampa Democrat said Monday “I don’t hear a lot of young women saying that ever.”

Castor believes “there is something that permeates this opposition to female as executives. You see it especially in corporate boardrooms.”

Castor has served in Congress for 10 years. Before that, she served on the Hillsborough County of Commission for one four-year term. When asked if she herself has had to deal with sexism in Washington or Tampa, she says, “a little bit.”

Castor serves on the Energy and Power Subcommittee in Congress, the only female on the thirty-three member large board. When she was recently called upon to ask a question, she says was addressed as “Mr. Castor.”

Meanwhile, as with most congressional Democrats, Castor came out last Friday in support of the President’s cruise missile attacks on Syria, two days after President Bashar al-Assad unleashed chemical weapons on his own people. In a statement, Castor added that she wants the president to confer with Congress on any other possible military action.

When asked what she would like to happen on dealing with Assad, Castor said a plan of action with our allies would be a good start.

“The Obama administration did a pretty good job of building that coalition to squeeze ISIS and now the pressure has to be brought to bear against Russia and Iran, who are supporting this brutal dictator in Assad,” she said. “It’s not our place to promote regime change on our own, but working with our allies in the Middle East and all across the world, really bringing pressure to bear on Assad and Iran and Russia.”

Charlie Crist, Kathy Castor want Congress consulted on military force in Syria

The two Tampa Bay-area Democratic members of Congress — Kathy Castor and Charlie Crist — say they support President Donald Trump‘s military action in Syria Thursday night. both say that the House of Representatives should immediately reconvene so that members can debate the use of military force there.

But both say the House of Representatives should reconvene immediately so members can debate the use of military force there.

That seems doubtful, perhaps, as the House is breaking Thursday for a two-week Easter recess.

“The Tomahawk missile strike on the Syrian air base was an important and targeted response to Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons,” Castor said. “Russia and Iran should be held accountable as well for their support of Assad and his war on the Syrian people.”

“The continued atrocities committed by Bashar al-Assad against innocent men, women, and most horrifyingly, children and infants, are an assault on humanity and must be stopped,” said Crist. “Last night’s targeted airstrikes were a proportional and appropriate response, making clear that these war crimes will not go unanswered.”

Both Democratic lawmakers say that the Constitution puts the responsibility to declare war with the Congress, and that the President should make his case before them if he is prepared to engage further in Syria.

‎”Congressional leaders, the Trump Administration and Obama Administration have been derelict in following the requirements of the Constitution and law for a formal Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF),” said Castor. “The military strike on Syria and ongoing war on ISIS should prod policymakers to return to Washington and adopt a new AUMF.”

“Congress must also do its part and return immediately from recess to debate an Authorization for Use of Military Force to determine a comprehensive strategy for the United States and our allies,” said Crist. “We need clear objectives to end this crisis to protect our troops and the Syrian people.”

Castor has previously criticized Barack Obama for not getting an Authorization for Use of Military Force in engaging in battle with the Islamic State, criticism that some other Democrats made as well, none more loudly than Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.

Congressional Democrats as a whole seem to be parroting a consistent line Friday, praising Trump for the cruise missile attacks on a Syrian military base, but insisting he go before the Congress to get authorization before any further action.

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