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As Trump Threatens to Bomb Syria, Lawmakers Say Attack Without Congressional Approval "Unconstitutional"

Progressive leaders also pointed out that "it has become increasingly clear that U.S. military interventions will likely add to the mass suffering in Syria."

Grijalva

Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) co-chair Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) expressed concern about the president's threats to attack Syria this week. (Photo: CPC)

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.

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."

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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."

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."

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