Rooney’s bill aims to rein in Obama on aid to Syrian rebels

Florida Rep. Tom Rooney on Tuesday introduced a bill with Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, to force President Obama to seek congressional approval before getting the United States involved in the fighting in Syria, Rooney’s office announced in a news release.

The bill would prohibit any military action by U.S. forces, including providing weapons or other support, without authorization from Congress.

syrianrebels“What is the goal of providing weapons to the rebels?” Rooney asked in the release. “The president needs to make a convincing case that this is in our national security interest, and he needs to lay out a clear and comprehensive mission, including an exit strategy. He hasn’t done that yet.”

Rooney, a Republican whose district covers a large swatch of west-central Florida from Lake Okeechobee to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, said an email survey his office conducted last week showed respondents overwhelmingly opposed to U.S. involvement.

According to results from approximately 4,500 survey respondents, almost 94 percent said the U.S. lacked clear mission, understanding of the risks, or plausible exit strategy for a Syrian intervention.

Almost 84 percent of respondents opposed arming rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, according to the survey, and nearly 80 percent opposed using American air power to establish a “no-fly zone” over Syria to counter the regime’s air superiority over the rebels.

Virtually all of the respondents – 97 percent – opposed active involvement of American forces, or “boots on the ground,” in the conflict, Rooney’s survey showed, according to the release.

In announcing the “Congressional Accountability and Oversight in Syria Act,” Rooney described his misgivings regarding aid to the rebels and said the bill was consistent with the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which Congress passed in the wake of the Vietnam War to strengthen its oversight of presidential use of military force.

He said the murkiness of the Syrian situation makes congressional consultation – and authorization – all the more necessary before the United States make a commitment it can’t really control.

“Senior administration officials have told me they can’t give any assurance that our weapons won’t wind up in the hands of al Qaeda,” Rooney said in the release. “So what’s our endgame? If the president wants to take us into Syria, he needs to come to Congress and convince us.”

In the release, McCaul agreed.

“Arming the rebels in Syria potentially places those weapons into the hands of the Islamist extremists who have infiltrated their ranks and who continue to plot against the United States and our interests abroad,” said McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

“If the president believes American involvement in Syria is necessary, he will have to present a convincing plan to the Congress and make the case that providing assistance to Syrian opposition forces would not pose a national security threat to the United States.”


Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].


7 thoughts on “Rooney’s bill aims to rein in Obama on aid to Syrian rebels

  1. Chuck says:

    Congressman Tom Rooney has a singularly outstanding grasp on the operational and strategic aspects of the application of U.S. military power. The current situation is almost like deja vu from when Tom attemted to cut off funding the Administration's unconstitutional U.S. militaryintervention against Khadafi in Libya. This enabled the conditions for Benghazi; as well as the ouster of Mubarak, a U.S. ally for 3 decades in Egypt. Now, as he did in 2011, Senator Rubio is again showing his total lack of strategic vision and incompetence on National Security issues. Great men learm from mistakes, fools repeat them.

    1. Egon says:

      Rubio seems to be following McLame's and Graham's path…perhaps under their influence ?

  2. Egon says:

    Sarah, as usual, has the right idea : "Let Allah sort them out"…

  3. Glenn Koons says:

    I hope the Pubs get behind this. Look, we know that Obama and his ilk cannot discern who our Islamofascist enemies really are. They missed it on Egypt, Libya, and of course are wrong on Syria. The opponents of Assad are Al Queda types and giving them powerful weapons will simply be used on ..Israel ….after they knock off Assad. It happens all the time in the last 2 decades.

  4. Skip says:

    Obama's "end game" is to Islamize the west. He is quoted as saying that 'by the end of his second term the U.S. will be a muslim country.'
    How else is he going to accomplish this without arming them to the teeth and being their supreme leader?

  5. Katherine says:

    I'm with Rooney 100%!!!! How can Obama be allowed to make this decision without Congressional approval, and for God's sake, I pray they wouldn't approve this.

  6. jwe73 says:

    9 others have signed on to this bill now. Yay!

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