Rep Duncan, Wilson, Gowdy Signs Petition Asking Obama to Consult Congress First Before Striking Syria

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Republican lawmakers signed a letter penned by Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va) to send to President Obama regarding military action against Syria.

According to the Washington Post, lawmakers signed this letter yesterday and will deliver it today at noon:

Dear Mr. President,

- Newsletter -

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. Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.)

Rep. Scott Rigell (VA-02)

Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-5)

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL)

Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05)

Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04)

Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10)

Rep. Dan Benishek, M.D (MI-01)

Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17)

Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02)

Rep. Tim Griffin (AR-2)

Rep Justin Amash (MI-03)

Rep. Raul Labrabor (ID-01)

Rep. Joseph Pitts (PA-16)

Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-8)

Rep. John Campbell (CA-45)

Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04)

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03)

Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03)

Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02)

Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-04)

Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-03)

Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04)

These leaders are asking president Obama to honor the Constitution, in addition to the War Powers Resolution, and seek congressional approval before launching a military offensive on Syria.

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