Rep. Pete King says President Barack Obama made a serious mistake today when he announced he’d seek congressional approval to attack Syria, which is accused of slaughtering its own people with chemical weapons.
Mr. King, an outspoken hawk on foreign policy matters who is flirting with his own presidential bid in 2016, accused Mr. Obama of setting a precedent that will hamstring other administrations going forward. “President Obama is abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief and undermining the authority of future presidents,” Mr. King argued in a statement.
“The President does not need Congress to authorize a strike on Syria. If Assad’s use of chemical weapons against civilians deserves a military response, and I believe it does, and if the President is seeking congressional approval, then he should call Congress back into a special session at the earliest date. The President doesn’t need 535 Members of Congress to enforce his own redline,” the Long Island Republican continued.
By making this statement, Mr. King, the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, puts himself at odds with House GOP leadership, who released a joint statement praising Mr. Obama’s announcement.
“Under the Constitution, the responsibility to declare war lies with Congress,” they said. “We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious, substantive questions being raised.”
Mr. Obama said both parties’ congressional leaders have agreed “to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as Congress comes back into session,” on September 9.