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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014

World

Obama asked to consult before striking Syria
PTI
Washington, August 28, 2013
First Published: 07:22 IST(28/8/2013)
Last Updated: 07:24 IST(28/8/2013)

Top American lawmakers have asked the US President Barack Obama to consult with Congress and gain its approval before intervening militarily in Syria.

"Before any action is taken regarding Syria, it is imperative that President Obama make the case to the American people and consult with Congress," top Republican Senator John Cornyn, said amidst reports that the US is considering a military action in Syria.

"He (Obama) needs to explain what vital national interests are at stake and should put forth a detailed plan with clear objectives and an estimated cost for achieving those objectives," Cornyn said on Tuesday, as nearly two dozen Congressmen wrote a letter to Obama on this issue.

"As the President considers next steps in Syria, I call on him to consult Congress as prescribed by the War Powers Resolution," said Congressman Scott Rigell, who lead the effort.

"Congress is not a potted plant in this process, and President Obama should call us back into emergency session before authorising the use of any military force.

"We stand ready to share the burden of decisions made regarding US involvement," Rigell said after dispatching a letter to Obama.

"We strongly urge you (Obama) to consult and receive authorisation from Congress before ordering the use of US military force in Syria.

"Your responsibility to do so is prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973," the letter said.

"Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorisation would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution," the lawmakers said.

Congress is on recess until September 9, but "members can reconvene at your request," Rigell wrote in his letter, "We stand ready to come back into session, consider the facts before us, and share the burden of decisions made regarding US involvement in the quickly escalating Syrian conflict," the lawmakers said.

Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Relations Committee said any US military action could bring serious consequences or further escalation.

"The President should be making the case to the American public, and his Administration should come to Congress to explain their plans. The consequences are too great for Congress to be brushed aside," Royce said.

Meanwhile, the White House strongly refuted reports that the Obama Administration is not consulting the Congress on its policy on Syria in particular on the possibility of a limited military strike.

"As this process is undertaken, we are consulting directly with House and Senate leaders in Congress," the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference.

"That process will continue. We think it's very important that the consultation process take place in a matter like this of such gravity," he said.


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