Syrian Strike? Coalition Urges Congressional Authorization

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A growing bipartisan coalition in Congress came together Wednesday to “strongly urge” President Obama “to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria.”

In a letter sent to the president Wednesday evening, Rep. Scott Rigell, a second-term Republican from Virginia, joined 97 of his Republican and 18 of his Democratic colleagues in demanding that the president first acquire consent from Congress, citing the War Powers Resolution of 1973, before responding militarily to the Syrian government’s purported use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21.

“While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate — and the active engagement of Congress — prior to committing U.S. military assets,” the group wrote. “Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.”

Here is a full copy of the letter, followed by the 116 signatures:

August 28, 2013

We strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria. Your responsibility to do so is prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate — and the active engagement of Congress — prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.

Mr. President, in the case of military operations in Libya you stated that authorization from Congress was not required because our military was not engaged in “hostilities.” In addition, an April 1, 2011, memorandum to you from your Office of Legal Counsel concluded:

“… President Obama could rely on his constitutional power to safeguard the national interest by directing the anticipated military operations in Libya –which were limited in their nature, scope, and duration — without prior congressional authorization.”

We view the precedent this opinion sets, where “national interest” is enough to engage in hostilities without congressional authorization, as unconstitutional. If the use of 221 Tomahawk cruise missiles, 704 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, and 42 Predator Hellfire missiles expended in Libya does not constitute “hostilities,” what does?

If you deem that military action in Syria is necessary, Congress can reconvene at your request. We stand ready to come back into session, consider the facts before us, and share the burden of decisions made regarding U.S. involvement in the quickly escalating Syrian conflict.

Sincerely,

Rep. Scott Rigell (VA-02)
Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05)
Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05)
Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05)
Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04)
Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10)
Rep. Dan Benishek (MI-01)
Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17)
Rep.  Steve Pearce (NM-02)
Rep. Tim Griffin (AR-2)
Rep. Justin Amash (MI-03)
Rep. Raul Labrador (ID-01)
Rep. Joseph Pitts (PA-16)
Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-08)
Rep. John Campbell (CA-45)
Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04)
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03)
Rep.  Joe Wilson (SC-02)
Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-03)
Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01)
Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08)
Rep. Bill Posey (FL-8)
Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-04)
Rep. Phil Gingrey (GA-11)
Rep. David Roe (TN-01)
Rep. Mark Sanford (SC-01)
Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (TN-02)
Rep. Reid Ribble (WI-08)
Rep. James Lankford (OK-05)
Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA-06)
Rep. Stephen Fincher (TN-08)
Rep. Trey Radel (FL-19)
Rep. Chris Stewart (UT-02)
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS-02)
Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03)
Rep. David McKinley (WV-01)
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (Fl-12)
Rep. Joseph Heck (NV-03)
Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15)
Rep. Billy Long (MO-07)
Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14)
Rep. Steven Palazzo (MS-04)
Rep. Kevin Yoder (KS-03)
Rep. Doug Collins(GA-09)
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX-16)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04)
Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-5)
Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12)
Rep. William Enyart (IL-12)
Rep. Timothy Walz (MN-01)
Rep. Christopher Gibson (NY-19)
Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-04)
Rep. Frank Wolf (VA-10)
Rep. Michael Capuano (MA-07)
Rep. Michael Simpson (ID-02)
Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10)
Rep. Thomas E. Petri  (WI-06)
Rep. Robert Pittenger (NC-09)
Rep. Walter Jones (NC-03)
Rep. Tom Latham (IA-04)
Rep. Richard Nolan (MN-08)
Rep. Jim McDermott (WA-07)
Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (MI-11)
Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06)
Rep. Sean Duffy (WI-07)
Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01)
Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA-09)
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (OH-02)
Rep. Mark Amodei (NV-02)
Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25)
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)
Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-02)
Rep. Sam Farr (CA-20)
Rep. Steve Daines (MT)
Rep. Robert Hurt (VA-05)
Rep. Steve Southerland, II (FL-2)
Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN-06)
Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04)
Rep.  Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)
Rep. Robert Wittman (VA-01)
Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-18)
Rep. David Schweikert (AZ-06)
Rep. Todd Rokita (IN-4)
Rep. David Loebsack (IA-02)
Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03)
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
Rep. Sam Johnson (TX-03)
Rep. Tom Price (GA-06)
Rep. Mark Meadows (NC-11)
Rep. Paul Broun (GA-10)
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02)
Rep. Steve Stockman (TX-36)
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (WI-05)
Rep. Chris Collins (NY-27)
Rep. Diane Black (TN-06)
Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-10)
Rep. Peter Welch (VT)
Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11)
Rep. Tim Murphy (PA-18)
Rep. Gregg Harper (MS-03)
Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04)
Rep. Ted S. Yoho ( FL-03)
Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17)
Rep. Michael Burgess (TX-26)
Rep. Jim Matheson (UT-04)
Rep. Cory Gardner (CO-04)
Rep. Alan Nunnelee (MS-01)
Rep. Jason Smith (MO-08)
Rep. Charles Fleischmann (TN-03)
Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07)
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-07)
Rep. Collin Peterson (MN-7)

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Advertise With Us

Would you like to advertise on East Idaho News? Fill out this form to contact a representative.
  • Full and Last
  • The name of your company, business or brand.