Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 20, 2014

116 House Members Sign Syria Letter to Obama (Updated)

Updated 6:12 p.m. | House lawmakers from both sides of the aisle sent a letter to President Barack Obama Wednesday asserting that striking Syria without prior Congressional authorization would be unconstitutional.

As we reported Tuesday, the letter penned by Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., pushes the president to “receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria.”

While the letter lacks signatures from top leaders — Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote his own letter to Obama Wednesday afternoon — it now has 98 Republican and 18 Democratic supporters.

The letter was sent to the president after 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Among the Republicans on the letter are Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas, House Republican Policy Committee Chairman James Lankford of Oklahoma and some close Boehner allies, including Tom Latham of Iowa, Mike Simpson of Idaho, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, and Tom Price of Georgia.

Democrats include Rep. Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon, the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee.

Full text of the letter and names of signatories follows:

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.

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 Labrador (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. 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. Kerry 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 Bachmann (MN-06) Republican
Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04) Republican
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19) Republican
Rep. Robert Wittman (VA-01) Republican
Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-18) Democrat
Rep. David Schweikert (AZ-06) Republican
Rep. Todd Rokita (IN-4) Republican
Rep. David Loebsack (IA-02) Democrat
Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03) Republican
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02) Republican
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) Democrat
Rep. Sam Johnson (TX-03) Republican
Rep. Tom Price (GA-06) Republican
Rep. Mark Meadows (NC-11) Republican
Rep. Paul Broun (GA-10) Republican
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) Republican
Rep. Steve Stockman (TX-36) Republican
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (WI-05) Republican
Rep. Chris Collins (NY-27) Republican
Rep. Diane Black (TN-06) Republican
Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-10) Republican
Rep. Peter Welch (VT) Democrat
Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11) Republican
Rep. Tim Murphy (PA-18) Republican
Rep. Gregg Harper (MS-03) Republican
Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04) Republican
Rep. Ted S. Yoho (FL-03) Republican
Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17) Republican
Rep. Michael Burgess (TX-26) Republican
Rep. Jim Matheson (UT-04) Democrat
Rep. Cory Gardner (CO-04) Republican
Rep. Alan Nunnelee (MS-01) Republican
Rep. Jason Smith (MO-08) Republican
Rep. Charles Fleischmann (TN-03) Republican
Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07) Republican
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-07) Republican
Rep. Collin Peterson (MN-7) Democrat

  • sloppyslim

    committing an act of war against a nation that is not an imminent threat , without congressional approval , is an impeachable offense .

    those who follow such an order , are guilty of obeying an illegal unconstitutional order

  • Linda J. Bryan, Pro Se Mother

    DO NOT STRIKE SYRIA. Agreed, a horrific act of murder against the people (Martyrs). The people have to learn, correct their mess. I am a Mother fighting your mess, a Constitutional Case under Judao-Christian Orthodox All Languages. My Church is Bysintene although there are 5 mans churches in my case. If any of you understood the Higher-Power you would understand the number 13 as that is where I am today. Do you think we don’t know what you have done? If you have your hand in the cookie jar it would be wise to correct while opportunity avails itself. My World-Wide Education Case of the Century involves Syria, 7 Continents Orion, the vineyard world, as Syria is the Church written in the Holy Book, Antioc. If GODS ARM was present when they created the U.S. Constitution then the world better be attentive as 13 is a serious number. Those who wish havoc in the world want you to act and strike DON’T. Love your enemies, patients HIS TIME not ours. It is NOT an eye for an eye obviously those involved have fallen into darkness, the vices. You must be connected to some of the 3000+Churches in the United States today because your actions certainly aren’t looking so good today. Please find another way, you all claim to be problem solvers understanding law? ITS ALL LAW—-GODS LAW—-MANS LAW. The Brain Game do your homework or you can’t represent us.

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