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Va. Lawmaker to Obama: Syria Strikes Need Our OK

Photo from John Shinkle / POLITICO

Photo from John Shinkle / POLITICO

August 27, 2013

A Virginia lawmaker is rallying support to pressure President Obama to seek authorization from Congress for military strikes against Syria.

Representative Edward Scott Rigell of Virginia’s 2nd District is asking colleagues to sign a letter to Obama that urges him to reconvene Congress and seek approval for any military action.

The U.S., along with European allies, appears to be laying the groundwork to use force in response to alleged chemical weapons attacks by Syria's Bashar Assad regime.

President Obama has not yet decided how to respond to the use of deadly gases, officials said. The president said last year that type of warfare would cross a "red line."

Rigell says that engaging the U.S. military in Syria in the absence of a direct threat to the United States and without prior congressional authorization would violate the constitutional separation of powers.

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are similarly invoking the War Powers Resolution.

The 1973 resolution demands Congress' authorization within 60 days of strikes. Presidents of both parties have largely disregarded it.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday that The U.S. military stands ready to strike Syria at once if the president gives the order.


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