The letter comes on the heels of rumors surrounding a military strike in Syria.
The letter reads, in part: “While we understand that as Commander in Chief you have a constitutional obligation to protect our national interests from direct attack, Congress has the constitutional obligation and power to approve military force, even if the United States or its direct interests (such as its embassies) have not been attacked or threatened with an attack. As such, we strongly urge you to seek an affirmative decision of Congress prior to committing any U.S. military engagement to this complex crisis.
“We must learn the lessons of the past. Lessons from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and others,” said Congresswoman Lee. “We must recognize that what happens in Syria does not stay in Syria; the implications for the region are dire.”
The letter further calls for U.N. inspectors to complete their assessments of the existence of the use of chemical weapons, as well as denounces the human rights violations taking place.
“This letter is calling for a specific action: debate. Congress has a vital role this in this process and constitutional power that must be respected,” said Congresswoman Lee. “The American people are demanding this debate before we commit our military, our money, or our forces to Syria.”
A full list of signers and a pdf of the letter can be found here.
Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, as well as the Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus(CPC), where she serves as the Co-Chair of the CPC Peace and Security Task Force. She was the only Member of both chambers to vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force in 2001.
Final list of Members (54):
Barbara Lee, Mike Honda, Lois Capps, Zoe Lofgren, John Lewis, Jackie Speier, Raúl Grijalva, Robin Kelly, Beto O’Rourke, Michael H. Michaud, Mark Pocan, Peter A. DeFazio, Peter Welch, Chellie Pingree, Nydia M. Velázquez, Sam Farr, Stephen F. Lynch, Lloyd Doggett, Janice Hahn, Jared Huffman, Tulsi Gabbard, Emanuel Cleaver, Rush Holt, Jim McDermott, Sheila Jackson Lee, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Suzanne Bonamici, José E. Serrano, George Miller, Donna F. Edwards, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Steve Cohen, Marcy Kaptur, Danny K. Davis, Alcee L. Hastings, James P. McGovern, Judy Chu, Marcia L. Fudge, Alan S. Lowenthal, Charles B. Rangel, Bobby L. Rush, Carolyn B. Maloney, Janice Schakowsky, Donna M. Christensen, David Loebsack, Henry A. Waxman, Diana DeGette, Yvette D. Clarke, Richard M. Nolan, Keith Ellison, Niki Tsongas, Eleanor Holmes Norton, John A. Yarmuth, Julia Brownley