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Marino calls on POTUS to consult Congress before taking action in Syria
August 28, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2013
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Tom Marino (R-PA) issued the following statement regarding the ongoing situation in Syria:
“Syria has pushed the limits of the President's so-called ‘red line’ for months and now that the Administration has declared Syria's use of chemical weapons against its own people as ‘undeniable’ and ‘inexcusable,’ we must determine the necessary and appropriate response.
“The President may be carefully considering his options, but he must not ignore the role of Congress and the will of the American people. The current situation in Syria dictates that the President consults with Congress before authorizing the use of U.S. military force. The Constitution clearly separates war powers between the executive and legislative branches, granting Congress the explicit authority to declare war and the President the authority to act only in cases of imminent danger.
“It is critical that the President offer a clear and straightforward explanation to the American people if he intends to use military force. Once a plan is presented with the scope and parameters of such a mission, it will be the role of Congress to consent to such intervention.
“Given the information at hand, I am absolutely opposed to any intervention in Syria at this time. There are too many bad guys on both sides of the conflict and any U.S. involvement would be at odds with our interests in the region. We have far greater priorities at home and in other nations to embroil our resources or troops in the middle of a conflict with no end in sight.
“I have joined with my colleague, Congressman Scott Rigell (VA-2) in calling on the President to consult with Congress before engaging our military in Syria, and, if necessary, to convene an emergency session before authorizing the use of any military force.”
Full text of the Rigell letter:
Dear Mr. President,
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.
[Members of Congress]