US lawmakers to Obama: Syria strikes need our approval
WASHINGTON (AP) - United States President Barack Obama's possible military intervention in Syria is already running into fierce opposition among some members of Congress, with a growing chorus of Republican and Democratic lawmakers demanding he seek congressional authorisation for any strikes against the Assad regime.
In the House, Republican Representative Scott Rigell is asking colleagues to sign a letter to Mr Obama that urges him to reconvene Congress and seek approval for any military action. And in the Senate, even some who support punishing the Syrian government for launching alleged chemical weapons attacks are joining the call for the President to first gain Congress' approval.
"Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorisation would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution," Mr Rigell's letter argues. A copy was obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.
To make their case, lawmakers are citing the 1973 War Powers Resolution. Passed after then President Richard Nixon's secret Vietnam War-era operations, the law reaffirmed Congress' constitutional responsibility to declare war and put a 60-day time limit on the President's ability to take unauthorised, emergency military action. Since then, commanders-in-chief of both parties have maintained that the resolution is unconstitutional and have regularly disregarded it.