Commentary: Today, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), and CPC Peace & Security Taskforce Chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), released the following statement after President Trump abruptly cancelled travel plans to South America, citing the need to “oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world.” President Trump is publicly threatening U.S. military action against Syria without indicating whether he will seek prior Congressional authorization, which is required by the Constitution and War Powers Resolution:
“We are deeply concerned by the horrific chemical attacks, reportedly carried out by Syrian government forces, which have killed dozens of civilians in the rebel-held suburb of Douma. In light of this brutal act and the broader humanitarian crisis engulfing Syria, we call on President Trump to immediately reverse his policy of denying protections to Syrian refugees fleeing violence.
“Syria’s civil war continues to be a complex regional conflict, and it has become increasingly clear that U.S. military interventions will likely add to the mass suffering in Syria. The past two decades of U.S. military intervention in the Middle East—including President Trump’s unauthorized airstrikes on Syria last year—only confirm the failure of this approach to advance humanitarian outcomes. The U.S. should instead redouble its efforts to engage our allies and enforce international prohibitions on chemical weapons diplomatically and ensure that proper investigations can proceed.
“President Trump has indicated that he will make a decision on whether to launch a unilateral U.S. attack on Syria in a matter of hours. We remind him that any U.S. use of force must be authorized by Congress first, as required by the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. As the people’s elected representatives, we stand willing to carry out our constitutional duty to debate and vote on whether we should authorize military action in Syria.
“As the Administration’s Syria policy continues to evolve, we urge the President to ignore the discredited voices in his party, including his new National Security Advisor John Bolton, who always view the use of military might as the first and best option for solving the world’s problems.”
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.