Politics Democratic lawmakers renew calls for congressional authorization of Syria strikes

07:30  14 april  2018
07:30  14 april  2018 Source:   cnn.com

Senators disagree over military response to Syria -- and Trump's legal authority to wage it

  Senators disagree over military response to Syria -- and Trump's legal authority to wage it As President Donald Trump assesses how to respond to the alleged chemical attack in Syria that killed and maimed dozens of civilians, lawmakers disagreed Monday what an appropriate response should be and whether Trump needed their authorization before acting. "I think we need to take some surgical military strikes against Syria," said Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who chairs the influential Foreign Relations Committee. "Something for a heavy price to be paid."Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut warned against it.

Several lawmakers , including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), are calling for Congress to vote on authorizing any future military operations in Syria . "The president needs Congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution.

“We salute the skill and professionalism of the U.S. Armed Forces who carried out tonight’s strikes in Syria .” Under the Constitution, Congress has the power to declare war; an array of Republican and Democratic lawmakers called on President Trump to seek authorization for further action from

US President Donald Trump addresses the nation on the situation in Syria April 13, 2018 at the White House in Washington, DC. Trump said strikes on Syria are under way. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) © MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images US President Donald Trump addresses the nation on the situation in Syria April 13, 2018 at the White House in Washington, DC. Trump said strikes on Syria are under way. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Democratic lawmakers fervently renewed their calls for congressional approval of military force following President Donald Trump's Friday night announcement of US precision strikes against Syria.

"The President must come to Congress and secure an Authorization for Use of Military Force by proposing a comprehensive strategy with clear objectives that keep our military safe and avoid collateral damage to innocent civilians," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said in a statement Friday night.

Dem senator rips Trump for not seeking congressional approval for Syria strikes

  Dem senator rips Trump for not seeking congressional approval for Syria strikes Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said Friday that President Trump's decision to launch a military strike on Syria without obtaining congressional authorization is "unacceptable.""While Bashar al-Assad must be held accountable for his unlawful use of chemical weapons against civilians, the strikes that are being carried out are being done without an au thorization from Congress, which is unacceptable," Casey tweeted.

US President Barack Obama convinced leaders of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to support his request for the authorization of a military strike on Syria . After a meeting with more than a dozen senior lawmakers this week, members of both parties went public

Lawmakers and advocates are renewing a push for Congress to pass an authorization of military Yet, we are at war without congressional authorization . Muath al Kessabeh, burned alive while held in a cage, Jordan conducted a series of strikes in Syria , but its pace of strikes have slowed since.

The US' joint military action with France and the UK came as a response to a chemical weapons attack against civilians by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

As questions swirled this week around how Trump would respond to the attack, so did continued uncertainty about updates to Congress' Authorizations for Use of Military Force. The 1973 War Powers Act requires the President to receive congressional approval for any hostilities lasting longer than 60 days. Every administration since, however, has argued that portions of the law are unconstitutional.

Vice President Mike Pence spoke with Pelosi, as well as House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, to notify them of the President's announcement of Syria strikes in the half-hour before Trump's speech, according to the vice president's spokesman Jarrod Agen.

GOP rep: US Constitution doesn't give president 'authority to strike Syria'

  GOP rep: US Constitution doesn't give president 'authority to strike Syria' Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) lashed out on Friday at President Trump's decision to launch "precision strikes" in Syria, saying that the U.S. Constitution does not give the president the ability to authorize such an attack."I haven't read France's or Britain's 'Constitution,' but I've read ours and no where in it is Presidential authority to s trike Syria," Massie tweeted.I haven't read France's or Britain's "Constitution," but I've read ours and no where in it trike Syria.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers say the president must go through them before taking any military action. NICHOLAS KAMM via Getty Images. Trump says he's open to launching missile strikes against the Syrian government. He's supposed to get congressional approval for that, though.

Many politicians did challenge Trump's failure to seek congressional authorization . Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) also called out Trump’s hypocrisy “But President Trump has launched a military strike against Syria without a vote of Congress .

Several other members of Congress echoed Pelosi's statement calling out Trump for not going to Congress to seek approval.

Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican, said: "These offensive strikes against Syria are unconstitutional, illegal, and reckless. The next speaker of the House must reclaim congressional war powers as prescribed in Article I of the Constitution. @SpeakerRyan has completely abdicated one of his most important responsibilities."

Earlier this week, Ryan had downplayed the need for Trump to seek additional congressional approval, arguing that the President had the authority to approve an attack under the current Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed in 2002 and used as a basis for military action in the broader US fight against terrorism in the years since.

"Well, he has the authority under the existing AUMF," Ryan said Thursday, adding later, "With respect to the authorities, the existing AUMF ... gives him the authority to do what he needs to do, what he may or may not do."

Kaine rips Syria strikes: What's stopping Trump from bombing Iran, North Korea next?

  Kaine rips Syria strikes: What's stopping Trump from bombing Iran, North Korea next? Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) tore into President Trump's authorization of military strikes in Syria, calling them "illegal" and "reckless" and questioning what's to stop him from bombing Iran and North Korea."President Trump's decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress's approval is illegal and - absent a broader strategy - it's reckless," Kaine said in a statement Friday night. "Today, it's a strike on Syria"President Trump's decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress's approval is illegal and - absent a broader strategy - it's reckless," Kaine said in a statement Friday night.

But those who called for congressional engagement before our bombs rained down on any other nation have been attacked, as somehow unpatriotic or worse. Yet, we launched a missile strike on Syria without congressional approval, before the United Nations could carry out an investigation.

One thing seemed clear as lawmakers emerged from a closed-door Syria briefing Friday: The On Thursday, Trump ordered more than 50 cruise missiles to strike a military base in Syria . Pelosi's call for a congressional role was echoed by other Democrats and a band of libertarian-leaning

Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, referred to Trump as "unhinged" in a tweet, while also directing him to go to Congress.

"We cannot allow #Syria's use of chemical weapons. We also cannot allow an unhinged (or hinged) President to unilaterally take America to war. We can stop both. Go to Congress, @realDonaldTrump. Tell us length of time, # of troops, and terrain covered. Americans deserve a voice," Swalwell said.

Other members of Congress have argued that military action against the Assad regime should not be covered by the 2002 authorization.

"The Administration should seek an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) by Congress if it wants to continue to military actions against Syrian forces - the same way President Obama sought authorization in 2013 in a similar circumstance involving Syria," Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, tweeted.

Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, went as far as to say Trump's actions were "illegal."

"Trump's decision to launch airstrikes against Syria without Congress's approval is illegal. We need to stop giving presidents a blank check to wage war. Today it's Syria, but what's going to stop him from bombing Iran or North Korea next?" Kaine said in a tweet.

CNN's Daniella Diaz, Jeremy Diamond, Jeremy Herb, David Wright and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

Mattis disputes report he wanted Congress to approve Syria strike .
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday pushed back against a report saying he had unsuccessfully urged President Donald Trump to seek congressional approval ahead of last week's air strikes in Syria.Citing anonymous military and administration officials, the New York Times said Mattis had recommended Trump get a green light from lawmakers before launching Friday's cruise missile barrage against three targets the Pentagon said were tied to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons program.

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