WAR POWERS ACT

Other

US Representative Rep. Scott Rigell, a second term Republican from Virginia has penned a letter that will be sent to the president later today.

Rigell is joined by dozens of his Republican and 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, which so far includes 69 Republicans and 13 Democrats, writes. “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.”

Rigell has imposed a 3:00 p.m. deadline for lawmakers to sign on before the letter will be sent to President Obama.

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) Republican
Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) Republican
Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05) Republican
Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) Republican
Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04) Republican
Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10) Republican
Rep. Dan Benishek (MI-01) Republican
Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17) Republican
Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02) Republican
Rep. Tim Griffin (AR-2) Republican
Rep. Justin Amash (MI-03) Republican
Rep. Raul Labrabor (ID-01) Republican
Rep. Joseph Pitts (PA-16) Republican
Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-08) Republican
Rep. John Campbell (CA-45) Republican
Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04) Republican
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03) Republican
Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) Republican
Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-03) Republican
Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) Republican
Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) Republican
Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08) Republican
Rep. Bill Posey (FL-8) Republican
Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-04) Republican
Rep. Phil Gingrey (GA-11) Republican
Rep. David Roe (TN-01) Republican
Rep. Mark Sanford (SC-01) Republican
Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (TN-02) Republican
Rep. Reid Ribble (WI-08) Republican
Rep. James Lankford (OK-05) Republican
Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA-06) Republican
Rep. Stephen Fincher (TN-08) Republican
Rep. Trey Radel (FL-19) Republican
Rep. Chris Stewart (UT-02) Republican
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS-02) Republican
Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03) Republican
Rep. David McKinley (WV-01) Republican
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (Fl-12) Republican
Rep. Joseph Heck (NV-03) Republican
Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15) Republican
Rep. Billy Long (MO-07) Republican
Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) Republican
Rep. Steven Palazzo (MS-04) Republican
Rep. Kevin Yoder (KS-03) Republican
Rep. Doug Collins(GA-09) Republican
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (PA-08) Republican
Rep. Gene Green (TX-29) Democrat
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX-16) Democrat
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) Democrat
Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) Democrat
Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-5) Democrat
Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) Democrat
Rep. William Enyart (IL-12) Democrat
Rep. Timothy Walz (MN-01) Democrat
Rep. Christopher Gibson (NY-19) Republican
Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-04) Republican
Rep. Frank Wolf (VA-10) Republican
Rep. Michael Capuano (MA-07) Democrat
Rep. Michael Simpson (ID-02) Republican
Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10) Republican
Rep. Thomas E. Petri (WI-06) Republican
Rep. Robert Pittenger (NC-09) Republican
Rep. Walter Jones (NC-03) Republican
Rep. Tom Latham (IA-04) Republican
Rep. Richard Nolan (MN-08) Democrat
Rep. Jim McDermott (WA-07) Democrat
Rep. Jim Bentivolio (MI-11) Republican
Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06) Republican
Rep. Sean Duffy (WI-07) Republican
Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) Democrat
Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA-09) Republican
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) Republican
Rep. Mark Amodei (NV-02) Republican
Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25) Republican
Rep. Doug Lamalfa (CA-01) Republican
Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-02) Republican
Rep. Sam Farr (CA-20) Democrat
Rep. Steve Daines (MT) Republican
Rep. Robert Hurt (VA-05) Republican
Rep. Steve Southerland, II (FL-2) Republican
Rep. Michele Bachman (MN-06) Republican
Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04) Republican

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