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McGovern, Pelosi Call for Congress to Reconvene to Debate Military Authorization for Syria

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Washington, April 7, 2017 | comments

U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), a senior House Democrat and leading critic of the expanded use of military force by presidents in both parties, joined House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers calling for Speaker Ryan to immediately call the House of Representatives back into session to debate an Authorization of the Use of Military Force for military actions taken in Syria.

In February 2017, Congressman McGovern led a bipartisan group of 19 lawmakers calling for Speaker Ryan to hold a debate and vote on the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) for U.S. military operations in the Middle East. Following President Trump’s unilateral action to order airstrikes against Syria last night, Congressman McGovern is renewing that call with this statement:  

Every president must obtain congressional authorization to launch military strikes and President Trump is no exception. President Trump’s unilateral action to attack Syria without consulting Congress and obtaining authorization is an alarming violation of the checks and balances put in place by the Constitution – safeguards established to prevent presidents from taking our country to war without the consent of the American people.

“Americans must have a say when it comes to war. President Trump’s failure to work with Congress to achieve a bipartisan consensus on military action has shut out the voices of the American people and raised serious concerns about the possibility of military escalation without any input from their elected leaders. The time to debate U.S. military operations is before we drop bombs and send troops – not after.

“Today I am joining the growing bipartisan call for Congress to immediately reconvene to debate the path forward for U.S. military operations in Syria. If the President intends to escalate U.S. military involvement in Syria, he must to come to Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force which is clearly crafted to meet the threat and prevent another endless war. The American people and our men and women in uniform deserve nothing less.” 



Full Text of Pelosi Letter to Speaker Ryan:

April 7, 2017
The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
H-232, United States Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker,

I am writing to request that you call the House back in session immediately to debate any decision to place our men and women in uniform in harm’s way. 

Bashar al-Assad 's chemical weapons attack on his own people places him outside the circle of civilized human behavior.  Assad also continues to attack his own people with conventional weapons.  Meanwhile, Russia props up the Assad regime and enables its brutal war crimes to continue.

The President’s action and any response demands that we immediately do our duty.  Congress must live up to its Constitutional responsibility to debate an Authorization of the Use of Military Force against a sovereign nation.

As heartbreaking as Assad’s chemical weapons attacks on his own people was, the crisis in Syria will not be resolved by one night of airstrikes. The killing will not stop without a comprehensive political solution to end the violence. The American people are owed a comprehensive strategy with clear objectives to keep our brave men and women in uniform safe and avoid collateral damage to innocent civilians in Syria.

I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible on this matter of grave concern to our national security.

best regards,

NANCY PELOSI

Democratic Leader

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