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BREAKING: US Congress Debates Response to Deadly Strike That Killed 3 US Soldiers

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A drone attack that killed three U.S. troops in Jordan last Saturday has led to debates in Congress about the best course of action, after the U.S. Treasury announced sanctions against some of the entities held responsible.

The strike was carried out by Iran-backed militant groups based in Iraq and Syria, hitting a U.S. base near the Syrian border involved in coordinating efforts to contain and degrade the Islamic State terror group, the U.S. Central Command reported.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has denied responsibility.

While united in their desire to send a message to the strike’s perpetrators, members of Congress clashed over the exact method of response. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi told VOA’s Persian Service that the sanctions are a “first step,” but that more options should be considered moving forward.

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White House Vows Response to Drone Strike Blamed on Iran

“I think that the most important thing is that our adversaries know that we will respond,” Krishnamoorthi said. “We will do everything in our power to keep our men and women safe. … I think they know we’re going to send a strong message, and we are sending a strong message.”

Representative Mike Gallagher’s more hawkish interpretation was held by some in Congress who questioned the effectiveness of sanctions alone.

“Sanctions by themselves are not going to deter anything,” Gallagher told VOA’s Persian Service. “Only military kinetic action will, so sanctions can support that effort. But until we have a coherent regional strategy to roll back Iranian influence and strike Iranian targets after they kill Americans, I just don’t think sanctions will have that big of an impact.”

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Representative Carlos Gimenez was more supportive of sanctions over escalating military action in the already tense region because of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

“I think we need to take some strong sanctions against Iran. Iran is the country that supplies Hezbollah with its funding. It supplies funding for terrorist groups around the world,” Gimenez told VOA’s Persian Service. “I’m not pushing military action. Now, there needs to be a response to what happened. You can’t just kill American soldiers with impunity, and we need to show that.”

Other politicians used social media or press releases to share their thoughts about the response to the attack. While some advocated for sanctions or military action, others attempted to turn attention toward the lack of pre-emptive action by the White House.

“The media is clamoring to know what Biden will do to punish Iran or its proxies for killing our soldiers,” Senator Rand Paul said on X. “The question not being asked is what Biden could have done to prevent the tragic deaths of 3 of our soldiers in Jordan.”

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Senator Tim Kaine said that while a prompt response from the U.S. is necessary, it should not come at the risk of getting dragged further into a regional conflict.

“We must do everything we can to keep American troops safe and hold those who attack our servicemembers accountable,” Kaine wrote on X. “But we also have to avoid getting dragged into yet another war in the Middle East without a clear strategy or Congressional approval.”

The attack signaled the first U.S. military deaths in the region as retaliatory strikes escalated between the U.S. and Iranian-backed militia groups across the Middle East over American support for Israel in the war in Gaza.

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