Tell @RepEliotEngel His “Backdoor to War” in Syria is Unconstitutional

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New York Representative Eliot Engel, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has introduced a bill [H.R. 625] that tries to endorse the use of U.S. military force in Syria without specifically authorizing the use of force as required by Section 8 of the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which is U.S. law. The purpose of Section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution is to prevent the President from claiming that Congress has authorized the use of force unless Congress has specifically and explicitly done so.

[Eliot Engel voted for the Iraq war, opposed President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, supported President Trump’s aborted military strike on Iran, was one of only 16 House Democrats who voted to keep sending cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia to use in Yemen even after Obama stopped it, and has obstructed efforts to end unconstitutional U.S. participation in the catastrophic Saudi war in Yemen.]

Congress has never authorized the use of military force in Syria as required by Article I of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. Any legal argument for the presence of U.S. troops in Syria was based on the disputed claim that ISIS was covered by the 2001 authorization for the use of force against Al Qaeda passed after the September 11 attacks eighteen years ago. If ISIS is defeated in Syria, that contested claim is moot. There is no dispute that Congress never authorized force in Syria against anyone who is not Al Qaeda or their so-called “associated forces.”

If the House passes Engel’s “backdoor to war,” it would threaten future efforts to use the War Powers Resolution to end and prevent wars by undermining Section 8 of the War Powers Resolution. The President could point to any text passed by Congress that any Administration lawyer could somehow construe as an “authorization of military force” and claim that was all the “authorization” necessary to use military force. Then it would be even harder than it is now to force Congress to vote. As we’ve seen in our efforts to end unconstitutional U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen, it’s very hard for us to prevent or end wars if we can’t force Congress to vote.

Urge Eliot Engel to withdraw his unconstitutional bill to endorse the use of military force in Syria without authorizing it by signing our petition.