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GOP Lawmaker to Obama on Syria Decision: ‘Congress Is Not a Potted Plant’

Rigell says the president needs to call lawmakers back from recess if necessary to abide by War Powers Resolution. ALSO: Homeland Security chairman warns of al-Qaeda seizing chem stockpile

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

August 26, 2013 - 10:18 am

A House Republican from a heavily military district warned the Obama administration to not treat Congress like a “potted plant” in any decision to take action against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) was behind an amendment added to the defense reauthorization bill that passed the House in June stressing the president’s responsibility to abide by the War Powers Resolution. “The precedence set by the Executive Branch in its assertion that Congress plays no role in military actions like those taken in Libya is contrary to the intent of the Framers and of the Constitution which vests sole authority to declare war in the Legislative Branch,” the amendment stated.

Today, Rigell said the lessons of Libya need to apply to Syria.

“As the President considers next steps in Syria, I call on him to consult Congress as prescribed by the War Powers Resolution,” said Rigell, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “Congress is not a potted plant in this process, and President Obama should call us back into emergency session before authorizing the use of any military force. We stand ready to share the burden of decisions made regarding U.S. involvement.”

Congress is out on recess until Sept. 9. Rigell was among the lawmakers, mostly from Virginia, who opposed taking the traditional August break with so many agenda items outstanding.

In 2011, Rigell called the president’s use of force in Libya “unconstitutional” and in violation of the War Powers Resolution of 1973. He was behind legislation last year that attempted to defund Operation Odyssey Dawn, the U.S. military intervention in Libya, under the contention that Obama violated the War Powers Resolution. That bill died in committee with no co-sponsors.

The congressman, a Marine Corps Reserve veteran whose district includes large military populations in Norfolk and Hampton, stressed that the U.S. employed nearly 1,000 pieces of ordinance, including Tomahawk cruise missiles and Joint Direct Attack Munition smart bombs, during the operation — bringing it to the level of requiring congressional authorization.

“It is not constitutional for any one person, including the Commander-in-Chief, to have the unilateral authority to engage U.S. forces when there is no direct threat to the United States,” Rigell said in June. “There has been a constant drift of constitutional interpretation in Washington, and that drift has only gone in one direction: elevating the authority of the Executive Branch.”

His amendment didn’t take a specific position on Syria.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
If Congress wants to be consulted before Obama declares war, it needs to assert that authority by cutting off the funding that allows Obama to wage war. Otherwise, if Congress continues to act as a rubber stamp, that's how Obama will treat it. It's way past the time Obama should be called on his usurpation of power, but Congress is scared to death of forcing a Constitutional crisis; the Congressional leadership are nothing but abject cowards.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
This Congressman is flat wrong. Congress is a potted plant! If it weren't it would do something about this usurper of a president that we have. He has thumbed his nose at the Constitution so many time he is getting a nosebleed! Where has Congress been? Who the hell knows. They are a gutless bunch of cowards whose only concerns are to get re-elected. Man does that town stink!
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, congress IS a potted plant.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (29)
All Comments   (29)
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How about getting your butts back to Washington DC so Obama doesn't pull his usual fast one.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'll be an echo instead of a choice: If Congress doesn't want to be treated like a potted plant, it needs to not ACT like a potted plant.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
All this talk about Congress's sole right to declare war will be irrelevant if Obama can push Russia into a corner and force them to declare war first.

I can see this as being Obama's final act of nation wrecking.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not all of Congress are potted plants, the Dems are kool aid drinkers and the Republicans are the potted plants. And Obama will prove it again if he goes ahead on his own in Syria. The eunuchs in the GOP will just sit and take it like they have all along.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Impeachment need not shift power from D to R, just put an end
to a foreign policy which is a demonstrated self-destructive disaster;
Replace the Clown and the Straw Man with competent promise-keepers
who will carry out whatever predetermined policies, foreign and domestic,
Congress agrees on. Hint: A minimal number of goals and _no_ methods.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
“As the President considers next steps in Syria, I call on him to consult Congress as prescribed by the War Powers Resolution,” said Rigell
Yeah, waiting on the executive branch to tell you what to do, you don't wound like a potted plant at all. How about you recall yourselves, and if military action is taken immediately vote to de-fund the government until approval is gained. Hell you might actually get some democrats to go along with it on anti-war grounds. How could you pass that up?
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would say Congress is a potted Corpse Flower but that only stinks once every seven years...
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I represent the Potted Plant Association of America and I am here to let you know that we are seriously considering a lawsuit for injurious defamation. Most potted plants are quite offended for the gratuitous comparison. See you in court!. LOL

48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
In response, Obama sent over a watering can and a package of Miracle-Gro.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
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