Nearly one-third of the House of Representatives has now signed on to a letter to President Barack Obama advising him that he has a constitutional duty to get authorization from Congress before launching any military attack on Syria.
A total of 140 House legislators — just five short of the 33 percent mark — had signed the letter as of Thursday, demonstrating a bipartisan agreement that Congress must play a role in any decision about Syria, reports The Hill.
Most of the signatories are Republicans, but 21 Democrats have also signed the letter originated by GOP Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia.
“Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution,” says the letter.
Rigell said he was "grateful and encouraged by the strong, bipartisan support" his letter has received.
Rigell has reportedly called on Obama to bring Congress —which is not set to return to Washington until Sept. 9—back early to evaluate a military response in Syria.
“If you deem that military action in Syria is necessary, Congress can reconvene at your convenience,” states the letter, which has not yet been sent to the White House.
But Obama did receive a letter Wednesday from House Speaker John Boehner
urging him to “make the case to the American people and Congress for how potential military action will secure American national security interests, preserve America’s credibility, deter the future use of chemical weapons, and, critically, be part of our broader policy and strategy.”
The growing sentiment on Capitol Hill that Obama must consult with Congress before launching any attack on Syria could hinder the administration’s plan to take immediate action to punish the Syrian regime for the alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people.
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