A letter urging President Obama to “consult and receive authorization from Congress,” before taking military action in Syria has been signed by nearly a quarter of all House lawmakers and the list is growing.
Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., is the primary author of the letter, which stipulates that the president is required to receive Congressional authorization under the Constitution and War Powers Resolution of 1973. The letter is signed by 98 Republicans and 16 Democrats.
“As the President considers next steps in Syria, I call on him to consult Congress as prescribed by the War Powers Resolution,” Rigell said. “Congress is not a potted plant in this process, and President Obama should call us back into emergency session before authorizing the use of any military force. We stand ready to share the burden of decisions made regarding U.S. involvement.”
Congress is in summer recess and is not scheduled to return until Sept. 9.
“If you deem that military action in Syria is necessary, Congress can reconvene at your request,” the letter states. “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.”
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has specifically called for Congressional but said Obama should address the American public and consult with Congress.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., released a statement Wednesday afternoon said Congress should debate whether to intervene.
“The Constitution grants the power to declare war to Congress not the President,” Paul said.
Sen. Mike Lee said via Twitter that Obama “should present his plan’s cost, objective and timeline to Congress and get authorization.”
The Obama administration has phoned the top members of the House and Senate Armed Services panels and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As of Tuesday, Boehner had not held substantial talks about impending military action, his office said.
Rigell contested the decision last year by the Obama administration to use airstrikes against the Libyan government, saying that, too, violated the Constitution because Congress did not give its approval.
At the time, Obama’s legal counsel deemed Congressional approval unnecessary because the constitution allows the President to take limited action to “safeguard the national interest.”