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18 House Dems Tell Obama: Congress Must Authorize Any Action in Syria

by Terence P. Jeffrey, CNS News:

Eighteen Democrats in the House of Representatives have joined with 98 Republicans in signing a letter to President Barack Obama telling him he cannot constitutionally take military action in Syria without prior congressional authorization.

The signatories of this letter include not only some of the most outspoken liberals in the House—such as Rep. Jim McDermott (D.-Wash.), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D.-Ore.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D.-Calif.)–but also some of the most outspoken conservatives.

“We strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of military force in Syria,” said the letter signed by the 18 Democrats and 98 Republicans. “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,” the congressmen told the president. “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.

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