The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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August 31, 2013

Area representatives say Obama needs Congressional authorization to strike Syria

JOPLIN, Mo. — U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R.-Mo., is one of the more than 140 members of Congress who have signed a letter demanding that President Obama seek congressional authorization for any military action against Syria. U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, and U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., also have signed the letter.

Long said in a telephone interview with The Globe that he has called on Obama to present to Congress “his side of the story” regarding possible action against Syria.

“According to the Constitution, the president needs to consult with Congress before taking any kind of military action like that,” said Long.

Members of Congress — Republicans and Democrats — are pressing Obama to explain why the U.S. military should attack Syria and involve Americans in that civil war.

Some members of the House and Senate said the president has failed to make a case for a U.S. military strike despite the administration’s conclusion that the Syrian government carried out a large-scale chemical weapons attack against civilians last week, even though the president had warned that such an act would cross his “red line.”

The letter signed by Long and other area representatives was written by U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., who argues that intervention without congressional approval would be unconstitutional.

“While the founders wisely gave the office of the president the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate — and the active engagement of Congress — prior to committing U.S. military assets,” Rigell wrote in the letter. “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.”

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