With more than 100 lawmakers writing the White House to say military action against Syria without Congress’s OK is unconstitutional, House Speaker John Boehner is demanding President Obama “make the case to the American people” before using force, including explaining what exactly the country will gain by it and how much it’s going to cost.
“It will take presidential leadership and a clear explanation of our policy, our interests, and our objectives to gain public and Congressional support for any military action against Syria,” Boehner wrote in a letter Wednesday, according to USA Today.
“It will take that public support and congressional will to sustain the administration’s efforts, and our military, as well as their families, deserve to have the confidence that we collectively have their backs — and a thorough strategy in place.”
Obama is expected to meet with congressional leaders Thursday afternoon for discussions on Syria, but with Congress in recess until September – and U.S. military action expected any time – the full Congress is unlikely to hear any discussions until the missiles have already flown.
And any input from Congress has been minimal, Boehner said.
“I have conferred with the chairmen of the national security committees who have received initial outreach from senior administration officials, and while the outreach has been appreciated, it is apparent from the questions above that the outreach has, to date, not reached the level of substantive consultation,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, 18 Democrats were among 116 members of Congress who said Obama would be violating the Constitution by acting in Syria without getting congressional authorization, according to The Hill.
“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 letter states.
It is being circulated by Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., and expected to be delivered to the White House today.
“I’m grateful and encouraged by the strong, bipartisan support this letter has received,” Rigell said in a statement Wednesday night. “It’s a clear indication that this issue is not personal to the president, but rather represents common ground in Congress and a deep respect for the Constitution.”