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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

Any Attack On Syria Would Require Congressional Action

April 10, 2018
Congressman Tom McClintock delivered the following remarks on the House Floor, April 10, 2018:
Mr. Speaker:
James Madison, the father of the American Constitution, said that its most important provision was giving the Congress, and not the President, the authority to declare war.
This is central to the separation of powers.  Congress can declare war but cannot wage it.  The President can wage war, but cannot declare it.
This bright line has been badly blurred over the years, but that doesn’t change its clarity and importance.
The Constitutional Convention was clear that the President’s inherent authority as commander-in-chief was solely to repulse an attack against this country until Congress could convene.  Syria presents no such exception.

If it can be proven that the recent use of gas against a civilian population was initiated by the Assad regime, supplying arms and material to Syrian opposition, economic sanctions and other non-military responses are appropriate.  But any military act against Syria first requires a congressional declaration – period.
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