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Republican Rep. Scott Rigell (VA-02) has organized a letter signed by both Republican and Democratic colleagues urging the President to seek Congressional authorization before any military intervention in Syria. From what we've seen so far, the White House doesn't seem to consider informing Congress, let alone seeking its approval, to be of much importance--a sign of the "imperial presidency" we've managed to develop in the country over the past several decades.

Most of the signers are Republicans. That could be a result of Rigell's own affiliation (and his ready contacts) and the fact that many Congresspersons are not in DC. I know that always-great Barbara Lee, for instance, has called for the reconvening of Congress so that any military intervention be put to a debate. Some Democrats, however, might show a hesitancy to challenge the President.

If you have seen any other Congresspersons call for reconvening Congress, post so in the comment section below.

Either way, if your Representative is not on this list, give him or her a call.

For curiosity's sake, I want to cross-check the list below with the Iraq War authorization and the Amash-Conyers vote. I recognize a number of names on the list that were supporters of Amash-Conyers and only a handful of opponents.

August 28, 2013

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)    
Republican

Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05)    
Republican

Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05)    
Republican

Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05)    
Republican

Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04)
Republican

Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10)
Republican

Rep. Dan Benishek (MI-01)
Republican

Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17)
Republican

Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02)
Republican

Rep. Tim Griffin (AR-2)
Republican

Rep. Justin Amash (MI-03)    
Republican

Rep. Raul Labrabor (ID-01)
Republican

Rep. Joseph Pitts (PA-16)
Republican

Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-08)
Republican

Rep. John Campbell (CA-45)    
Republican

Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04)    
Republican

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03)    
Republican

Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02)    
Republican

Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-03)    
Republican

Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04)
Republican

Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01)    
Republican

Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08)    
Republican

Rep. Bill Posey (FL-8)    
Republican

Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-04)    
Republican

Rep. Phil Gingrey (GA-11)    
Republican

Rep. David Roe (TN-01)    
Republican

Rep. Mark Sanford (SC-01)    
Republican

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

Rep. Reid Ribble (WI-08)    
Republican

Rep. James Lankford (OK-05)    
Republican

Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA-06)    
Republican

Rep. Stephen Fincher (TN-08)    
Republican

Rep. Trey Radel (FL-19)    
Republican

Rep. Chris Stewart (UT-02)    
Republican

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS-02)    
Republican

Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03)    
Republican

Rep. David McKinley (WV-01)
Republican

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (Fl-12)
Republican

Rep. Joseph Heck (NV-03)    
Republican

Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15)    
Republican

Rep. Billy Long (MO-07)    
Republican

Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14)    
Republican

Rep. Steven Palazzo (MS-04)    
Republican

Rep. Kevin Yoder (KS-03)    
Republican

Rep. Doug Collins(GA-09)    
Republican

Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (PA-08)    
Republican

Rep. Gene Green (TX-29)    
Democrat

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX-16)    
Democrat

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)    
Democrat

Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04)    
Democrat

Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-5)    
Democrat

Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12)    
Democrat

Rep. William Enyart (IL-12)    
Democrat

Rep. Timothy Walz (MN-01)    
Democrat

Rep. Christopher Gibson (NY-19)    
Republican

Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-04)    
Republican

Rep. Frank Wolf (VA-10)    
Republican

Rep. Michael Capuano (MA-07)    
Democrat

Rep. Michael Simpson (ID-02)    
Republican

Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10)    
Republican

Rep. Thomas E. Petri  (WI-06)    
Republican

Rep. Robert Pittenger (NC-09)    
Republican

Rep. Walter Jones (NC-03)    
Republican

Rep. Tom Latham (IA-04)    
Republican

Rep. Richard Nolan (MN-08)    
Democrat

Rep. Jim McDermott (WA-07)
Democrat

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (MI-11)    
Republican

Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06)    
Republican

Rep. Sean Duffy (WI-07)    
Republican

Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01)    
Democrat

Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA-09)    
Republican

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (OH-02)    
Republican

Rep. Mark Amodei (NV-02)    
Republican

Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25)    
Republican

Rep. Doug Lamalfa (CA-01)    
Republican

Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-02)    
Republican

Rep. Sam Farr (CA-20)    
Democrat

Rep. Steve Daines (MT)    
Republican

Rep. Robert Hurt (VA-05)    
Republican

Rep. Steve Southerland, II (FL-2)    
Republican

Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN-06)    
Republican

Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04)    
Republican

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