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Sen. Bob Corker: Paying Ransom Money Only Encourages ISIS

The Republican senator from Tennessee responded to Kayla Mueller's father's comments about America's hostage policy.

After the parents of Kayla Mueller criticized the U.S. policy of not paying ransom for hostages, one high-ranking Republican responded Sunday morning by saying negotiating with terrorists only encourages more violence.

“I can't imagine a greater thing for a parent than knowing that your child is abducted and you're trying to do everything you can to cause them to be free and to be back home and to be with your family,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said in an appearance on "Meet the Press." “At the same time, what you do when you begin to pay ransom, which is how these groups support themselves, you encourage them to take other American citizens and other people.”

Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, added that he would continue to support the U.S. hostage policy, despite the objections of the Mueller family. In an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie, Carl Mueller questioned the idea of refusing to negotiate, saying the United States “put policy in front of American citizens' lives.”

Corker also responded to the debate over whether ISIS and others should be categorized as Islamic terrorists or as a perversion of the Islamic faith. “They're Islamic extremists,” Corker told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “And they are Islamic. There's no question. They are extreme in what they're doing. And they're a threat to our country.”

Calling ISIS “something that we as a nation are going to be dealing with for a long time,” he stressed the need to debate the war authorization in Congress. “It's important to our homeland security. It's important to the world. And I hope as a nation we'll take it on in a sober and important way over the next several weeks.”

— Dale Armbruster