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Bipartisan Letter Calls for Congressional Authorization before Any Military Action in Iraq

80 Members of Congress Write to the President on Iraq

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA13), Congressman Scott Rigell (R-VA02) and 78 other Members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama calling on him to seek Congressional approval before taking any military action in Iraq.

Last August, Congresswoman Lee and Congressman Rigell led independent letters calling on the President to consult with Congress before taking military action in Syria.  In a sign of bipartisanship, the two joined together in leading today’s letter on the use of military force in Iraq.

“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 approval of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets,” said Congressman Rigell. “I share a deep concern over the rise in sectarian violence in Iraq in recent weeks. However, engaging our military forces at this time 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.”

“Our Constitution empowers only Congress to make war. Any military action and alternatives should be fully debated, by Congress, to give the American people a voice in matters of war and peace,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “This bipartisan letter shows that Members of Congress, from both parties, are working together to end blank checks for endless war and restore Congressional oversight over matters of war.”

The letter reads: “As you consider options for U.S. intervention, we write to urge respect for the constitutional requirements for using force abroad. The Constitution vests in Congress the power and responsibility to authorize offensive military action abroad. The use of military force in Iraq is something the Congress should fully debate and authorize.”

The full letter can be found here.

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