As President Donald Trump ramped up threats against Syria and Russia early Wednesday in response to the Syrian government's suspected use of chemical weapons on civilians over the weekend, peace advocates continued to discourage any action that would escalate the years-long conflict while American lawmakers warned that launching an attack without congressional approval would be unconstitutional.
President Trump does not have the power to authorize military force in #Syria -- he must come to Congress first. We call on President Trump to lift his #RefugeeBan to save innocent Syrians and to use diplomacy rather than force.
— Progressive Caucus (@USProgressives) April 10, 2018
While expressing concern about the alleged chemical attack, Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) co-chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), along with CPC Peace & Security Taskforce chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), cautioned against the influence of warmonger John Bolton, Trump's new national security adviser, and reminded the president that "any U.S. use of force must be authorized by Congress first, as required by the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution."
"Syria's civil war continues to be a complex regional conflict," the CPC leaders noted, and it has become increasingly clear that U.S. military interventions will likely add to the mass suffering in Syria."
Condemning "the past two decades of U.S. military intervention in the Middle East—including President Trump's unauthorized airstrikes on Syria last year," they called on Trump "to immediately reverse his policy of denying protections to Syrian refugees fleeing violence," and "to engage our allies and enforce international prohibitions on chemical weapons diplomatically and ensure that proper investigations can proceed."
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) spoke out in support of the CPC statement, adding that any "unconstitutional strike" ordered by Trump should be considered "an impeachable offense."
I agree with my Progressive Caucus colleagues: Trump must come to Congress. An unconstitutional strike is an impeachable offense and the War Powers Resolution allows any House member to force a floor vote to remove U.S. troops an illegal military action in Syria. https://t.co/QSk7NiDzCy
— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) April 10, 2018
Lee and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) joined with Republican Reps. Walter Jones (N.C.) and Justin Amash (Mich.) to reiterate in a statement that "the Constitution clearly gives Congress, not the executive branch, the power to authorize war. Any use of force against Syria requires approval from Congress first."