Skip to comments.If Obama Bypasses Congress on Syria, Will He Face Consequences?
Posted on 08/28/2013 12:24:39 AM PDT by ClaytonP
Dozens of House Republicans and a smattering of Democrats are demanding President Barack Obama get congressional authorization before ordering attacks on Syria, but no lawmaker seems to have an answer for what they will do if Obama goes ahead anyway.
While some Republicans have bandied about in recent weeks the idea of impeaching the president, no one’s yet seriously pursuing that avenue with regard to Syria.
“The phrase is a very serious term,” said Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va. ”It’s sobering, and it’s not one that I’m flippant with.”
Rigell is behind a letter signed by dozens of members of Congress calling on Obama to seek Congress’ authorization before striking Syria or else risk “violat[ing] the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.” In an interview with CQ Roll Call on Tuesday, he reiterated that “by any objective measure,” Obama was “pushing the boundaries” of constitutionality.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., said “the impeachment battle is not one that I think we could win,” but he said he would support impeachment proceedings should someone else bring them up.
“I wouldn’t initiate them myself, although it is clearly unconstitutional,” Massie said of conducting a war in Syria without a specific authorization. “I’m just not the guy who will be leading this charge.”
It’s not clear what else Congress could do on the issue, particularly given that the White House has telegraphed that the attacks would be of a short duration and could be over before lawmakers return from the August break.
Congressional impotence in the face of a president intent on military action isn’t new; the Syria debate is to some extent a replay of the dispute over Obama’s launching of cruise missiles in Libya in 2011 without Congressional authorization. Backers of that intervention, including then-Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., sought to pass an authorization, but those efforts failed, as did an effort to end the operation.
At that time, Obama argued that he was not required to seek Congress’ approval under the War Powers Act, which prohibits acts of military force in a foreign country except in cases of a national emergency. Instead, Obama said, the mission was being led by NATO allies and involved minimal danger to U.S. armed forces.
That doesn’t mean lawmakers didn’t complain both then and now.
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, to committee chairmen to members of the GOP rank-and-file are at a minimum demanding robust consultation with Congress, although Boehner has not called for the House to return to take up the issue or said Congress must authorize a strike.
House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., a signer of the Rigell letter, said in a statement Tuesday that while the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons is “unacceptable,” Obama has a responsibility to “consult with Congress, and explain to the American people, whether this action has indeed crossed the ‘red line.’”
House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., released a statement of his own, calling the consequences of military action in Syria “too great for Congress to be brushed aside.”
Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., described the intent of the Founding Fathers in lengthy detail in respect to the War Powers Act, concluding that absent authorization from Congress, “the order of a military attack on the government of Syria would be illegal and unconstitutional.”
Meanwhile, statements from Obama’s Democratic allies in the House also began to pile up Tuesday night in light of the growing probability that the White House could by the end of this week go into Syria without consultation from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who are still back in their home districts for the August recess.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee who also signed onto Rigell’s letter, suggested that everyone, “including members of the Administration,” read the War Powers Act to clarify the parameters for deciding whether to use military force.
“An effort is being made by the Administration to comply with International Law but first we must comply with American law,” Lofgren said. “The War Powers Act requires action by Congress before engaging in hostilities unless our country is attacked. The civil war in Syria, with its atrocities, is a matter of serious humanitarian condition. But this civil war does not constitute an attack on the U.S.”
And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., while stopping short of saying she felt congressional involvement was imperative, said that “Members of Congress stand ready to consult with President Obama to consider the appropriate course of action in response to these acts of brutality.”
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., dismissed the talk of Congress coming back to vote on an authorization as an academic exercise on MSNBC on Tuesday, even though U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has recalled Parliament. “It’s not going to happen,” Corker said.
I wouldnt initiate them myself, although it is clearly unconstitutional, Massie said of conducting a war in Syria without a specific authorization. Im just not the guy who will be leading this charge.
So brave, I don't have the words to describe it.
If those mystery Russian Antiship missiles take out one of our ships I think you could see a lot of people in the streets.
If Obama Bypasses Congress on Syria, Will He Face Consequences?
Not with the press on his side and the republicans afraid of their own shadows.
Yes, both Gnome Chomsky and Ralph Nader will hold their breath and stop eating for several days.
Make me laugh....
Congress critters draw an even more feeble line in the sand than the Obama child.
Make no mistake. The ultimate objective is the destruction of Israel.
“If Obama Bypasses Congress on Syria, Will He Face Consequences?”
Not with this Congress. When I think of Boehner all I can say is, “Squish”
Republicans in the House: Boehner and Cantor — None.
Democrats in the House: Pelosi and Hoyer — None.
Republicans in the Senate: McConnell — None.
Democrats in the Senate: Reid — None.
MSM — None.
American people — screwed.
Why not just go to Congress like President Bush did for Iraq? I believe he would get the votes to go to Syria so it is a win/win for Obama.
Consequences = racism
Being courageous is something this guy will never be accused of.
further evidence of the success of the "sissification of America"
(202) 225-3465 in case anyone wants to thank this brave guy.
Boehner might cry into his pillow, but that’s about it.
Zer0’s complete incompetence will be a disaster for America. If you have read the following before, you are seeing words I believe are worth repeating:
Moscow has suggested that the gas attack may have been done by the al-Qaeda seeking to inflame the West against the Assad regime. Until we know exactly who caused the gas attack, we had better stay out of it.
There are even reports suggesting that sarin gas came from NATO backed rebels to frame the Syrian government in order to build support for a NATO invasion. If that is true, we have an effort by the Obama Syndicate to deceive Congress and the American public. That would be an impeachable offense.
Hee heee heee, he said “Congressional impotence”....HO Ho ho
Probably not. What else is new.
Obama could nuke Kansas and strafe any survivors- no one will do a thing.
Well maybe a few sternly written posts on some obscure dying websites filed with aged dying members.
He knows his opposition is the weakest generation this nation has yet produced.
He will face consequences allright, but not from our Congress. If he doesn’t get a coalition from many other countries before he takes action, there will be hell to pay.
No. He will face Republicans who are of no consequence.
Understood as a Sunni Moslem determined to Islamize the world and purge the world of obstacles to Islam, well that is a different calculation and leads to a different answer.
When a first term Democrat congressman calls a news conference to criticize a Republican president our news media covers his remarks for days. Any Republican doing the same thing will be covered only to the extent that he can be rediculed. Under our Constitution the only force capable of changing this is the electorate through the ballot and their media consumption choices. I have been looking for signs of this for decades to no avail. The only thing that will change this is when our national credit is no good and the Progressives can no longer borrow and print their way to power. Only then will the American people look away from the TV and notice the problem. Of course, the Republicans, having gone along with much of this, will have their fingerprints on it and will take the blame.
consequences? from who? the gutless re-democrats?
i could run a quick list of things that should have landed him and the various people he’s appointed in jail. none of them have been pursued. no charges files. hundreds of people killed in some cases.
it’s a sham and you’re getting bilked on a daily basis if you send anything.
personally, i see no problem halting tax payments from may 17th of this year. if they can stop counting the debt as it would be politically unfavorable, then why can’t we??
Yeah right. He’s black when it counts, and has chit on all members of congress.
He will face an enraged America but no... boehner and mcconnell have brand new pairs of presidential knee pads on and are drooling with anticipation. mccain may ask for obama’s and lindsey’s hands in a three way marriage.
I wish I could draw. The John Boehner run GOP Majority should be drawn as curled up in the fetal position, sucking its thumb in the corner. That’s all they do. Maybe with the tagline, ‘don’t shut down the government’.
Does the author of this article really think Obambi's in charge? Really?
It was this unelected and unapproved female commie who three times stopped the USA from getting OBL. Obozo was given the green light on her fourth decision. She leads him (and us) around by his nose.
After FDR we had a Constitutional Amendment for Presidential term limits. Perhaps we will see steps taken to reclaim some of the authority Congress has relegated to the Executive Branch.
Mark Levin is starting the conversation. And damn it, Jim! I can dream. (Star Trek reference)
obozo will face no consequences until he has brought the world down around all of our heads.
0 has been floundering about tying to figure out how to extricate himself from responsibility for whatever actions he will take on Syria.
I think he WILL consult with Congress, in private, but his reason will be to lay the responsibility of his actions on Congress.
IMO, that is the reason we have been hearing so many members of his own party saying he must consult with them...they will lay down cover for him.
After he has ‘consulted’ with Congress, he just may express his regrets for signing the order to attack Syria because his initial plan was to sign a ‘no fly’ zone first.
But his plan was overridden by some unnamed members of Congress from the ‘other side’ because it would be too hard to enforce and wouldn’t stop the carnage.
Just guessing, of course, but this coward will do anything to escape responsibility for anything.
Will He Face Consequences?
No. Consequences would be racist!
Nothing is holding Bonehead, Cantor and McCarthy from having a vote in the house. The GOP controls the house, so lets have a vote?
He hasn’t faced any consequences yet.