Idaho’s Simpson, Labrador, ask Obama to seek congressional approval on Syria

Posted on 09/06/13 in Uncategorized, 1 Comment

by Dan Popkey

Idaho Republican Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador both signed a letter with colleagues — including House Speaker John Boehner — to President Obama on Wednesday saying they “strongly urge” the commander-in-chief ”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.”

News releases were issued by both lawmakers Wednesday afternoon:


Simpson Joins Colleagues in requesting President to Seek Congressional Approval before taking action in Syria

Boise, ID – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson joins fellow Members of Congress in signing a letter to the President of the United States regarding the use of military force in Syria. Members are requesting President Obama seek congressional authorization before ordering the use of U.S. military force.

“I am very concerned about the consequences of engaging U.S. assets in another foreign conflict and believe the White House should consult with Congress before taking any action in Syria,” Simpson said.

The letter was sent to the President today and reads as 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.

One Comment

  1. Glyn & Ginger Harris says:
    Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 6:01pm

    Dear Congressman Simpson:

    We both would urge you to vote against any military/missle intervention by the USA into the Syrian civil war.
    Although the humanitarian issues are great, the resulting backlash could lead us further into a major conflict.

    President Obama has sat on the fence in arrogance and ignorance on this issue for so long that to intervene now with military missle strikes from the US would result in countless unnecessary deaths, and a continuation of the Cold War and possibly even worse.
    We’ve been fighting in the Middle East for the past 20 years. We continue to lose American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and when we walk away (as we did in Korea & Viet Nam) another tribal dictator/religious fanatic will crush the people and reap the benefits created from the lost lives of American and Coalition forces.
    The Middle East is not Germany or Japan. Trying to democratize religious fanatics who are at war with each other is a losing battle. We supported the Shah of Iran (just to name one) and look where that has brought us in our relations with Iran.

    If we are going to war, let us go to war to win, not to appease or ameliorate a situation.
    This is a total “no-win” situation and once again, we urge you to cast your vote against US military strikes. That is, if this president asks Congress for a vote.
    Yours sincerely,
    Glyn and Ginger Harris


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