Sen. Corker: Congress 'Should Own Whatever We're Doing Militarily'

By Susan Jones | August 26, 2014 | 10:19 AM EDT

President Barack Obama golfs with Sen. Bob Corker at the Andrews Air Force Base in May 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

( - The White House says President Obama is regularly consulting with Congress on U.S. air strikes against ISIS in Iraq, but it's not clear whether Obama will seek congressional authorization for possible U.S. air strikes in Syria.

"We certainly should authorize this," Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told MSNBC on Tuesday. "Look, for the American people's sake, Congress should weigh in -- Congress should be a part of this, Congress should own whatever we're doing militarily.

"I've been talking to colleagues on the other side of the aisle -- I think there's a general agreement that a new authorization needs to take place."

Corker said he's been checking with the White House every few days, but the Obama administration has not yet shared what it plans to do about Islamic terrorists who are fighting to establish their own state in Syria and Iraq.

On Monday, a White House spokesman said the president "has not made a decision to pursue any sort of military action in Syria," but he has ordered surveillance flights, which could be a prelude to air strikes.

What Obama should not do, Corker said, is invoke a 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force. That 60-word authorization passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush applied to those involved in the 9-11 attacks -- not to Islamic terrorists in Syria.

"I hope what they will instead do is come to Congress and ask for a new authorization for a new threat that has evolved over time," Corker said.

Asked if members of Congress will be reluctant to authorize the use of military force so close to the November election, Corker said he hopes the American people "would demand that the people they're voting for state their position on an issue that's such a threat to us both now and over the longer term."

"I think it's our responsibility as elected officials to let people know where we stand relative to national security. So again, I hope this delay that's taking place -- where the administration continues to not say what it's going to do, continues to not lay out objectives, continues to not lay out a strategy -- I would hope that the reason is not the elections coming up."