Rep. Peter T. King accused President Barack Obama of “undermining the authority of future presidents” to engage in military action in a scathing statement issued following Obama’s Rose Garden speech Saturday.
Obama said he would seek an authorization for the use of military force against the Syrian regime in response to the widely-reported use of chemical weapons, but King, a New York Republican and former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, blasted that move.
“President Obama is abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief and undermining the authority of future presidents. 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,” King said in a statement. “The President doesn’t need 535 Members of Congress to enforce his own redline.”
While his rhetoric may be the most charged, King is not alone in calling for Congress to come back immediately. House Foreign Affairs ranking Democrat Eliot L. Engel of New York said something similar in his own statement.
“The President has laid out a strong and convincing case to the American people for action in Syria. However, I understand his desire to seek explicit authorization to do so from Congress,” Engel said. “I call on the Speaker to immediately recall the House back from its August recess and debate this critical issue as soon as possible.”
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, doesn’t seem inclined to make that move. House Republican leaders said in a joint statement: “In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th. This provides the president time to make his case to Congress and the American people.”