Congressman Chris Stewart

Representing the 2nd District of Utah
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Stewart Urges President Obama to Consult Congress Before Engaging U.S. Forces in Syria

Aug 29, 2013
Press Release

Contact: Allison.Barker@mail.house.gov

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Chris Stewart (UT-02) joined a bi-partisan group of 116 members of the House of Representatives in sending a letter to President Obama urging him to consult Congress before engaging U.S. forces in Syria.

“The primary objective of the letter is to recognize constitutional congressional authority," Congressman Stewart said. "The bi-partisan letter doesn’t suggest military action should or should not be taken in Syria. It only urges President Obama to consult and receive authorization from Congress before using any sort of U.S. military force in Syria. It reminds the President that Congress needs to be included in the decision-making process. As the letter states, ‘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.’”

The text of the letter is below. For PDF, please click here.

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.

                                                            Sincerely,

Rep. Scott Rigell (VA-02)

Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05)

Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05)

Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05)

Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04)

Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10)

Rep. Dan Benishek (MI-01)

Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17)

Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02)

Rep. Tim Griffin (AR-02)

Rep. Justin Amash (MI-03)

Rep. Raul Labrador (ID-01)

Rep. Joseph Pitts (PA-16)

Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-08)

Rep. John Campbell (CA-45)

Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04)

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03)

Rep.  Joe Wilson (SC-02)

Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-03)

Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01)

Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08)

Rep. Bill Posey (FL-08)

Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-04)

Rep. Phil Gingrey (GA-11)

Rep. David Roe (TN-01)

Rep. Mark Sanford (SC-01)

Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (TN-02)

Rep. Reid Ribble (WI-08)

Rep. James Lankford (OK-05)

Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA-06)

Rep. Stephen Fincher (TN-08)

Rep. Trey Radel (FL-19)

Rep. Chris Stewart (UT-02)

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS-02)

Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03)

Rep. David McKinley (WV-01)

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12)

Rep. Joseph Heck (NV-03)

Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15)

Rep. Billy Long (MO-07)

Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14)

Rep. Steven Palazzo (MS-04)

Rep. Kevin Yoder (KS-03)

Rep. Doug Collins (GA-09)

Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (PA-08)

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX-16)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)

Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04)

Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-5)

Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12)

Rep. William Enyart (IL-12)

Rep. Timothy Walz (MN-01)

Rep. Christopher Gibson (NY-19)

Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-04)

Rep. Frank Wolf (VA-10)

Rep. Michael Capuano (MA-07)

Rep. Michael Simpson (ID-02)

Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10)

Rep. Thomas E. Petri (WI-06)

Rep. Robert Pittenger (NC-09)

Rep. Walter Jones (NC-03)

Rep. Tom Latham (IA-03)

Rep. Richard Nolan (MN-08)

Rep. Jim McDermott (WA-07)

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (MI-11)

Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06)

Rep. Sean Duffy (WI-07)

Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01)

Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA-09)

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (OH-02)

Rep. Mark Amodei (NV-02)

Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25)

Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)

Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-02)

Rep. Sam Farr (CA-20)

Rep. Steve Daines (MT-At Large)

Rep. Robert Hurt (VA-05)

Rep. Steve Southerland, II (FL-2)

Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN-06)

Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04)

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)

Rep. Robert Wittman (VA-01)

Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-18)

Rep. David Schweikert (AZ-06)

Rep. Todd Rokita (IN-4)

Rep. David Loebsack (IA-02)

Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03)

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)

Rep. Sam Johnson (TX-03)

Rep. Tom Price (GA-06)

Rep. Mark Meadows (NC-11)

Rep. Paul Broun (GA-10)

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02)

Rep. Steve Stockman (TX-36)

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (WI-05)

Rep. Chris Collins (NY-27)

Rep. Diane Black (TN-06)

Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-10)

Rep. Peter Welch (VT)

Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11)

Rep. Tim Murphy (PA-18)

Rep. Gregg Harper (MS-03)

Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04)

Rep. Ted S. Yoho (FL-03)

Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17)

Rep. Michael Burgess (TX-26)

Rep. Jim Matheson (UT-04)

Rep. Cory Gardner (CO-04)

Rep. Alan Nunnelee (MS-01)

Rep. Jason Smith (MO-08)

Rep. Charles Fleischmann (TN-03)

Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-07)

Rep. Collin Peterson (MN-7)