While President Barack Obama said on Saturday he would ask Congress to sign off on a strike against the Syrian government, Republican lawmakers had mixed reactions to the plan, with House Homeland Security Committee chair Rep. Peter King (R-NY) accusing Obama of sidestepping his duties as commander-in-chief.
“He should not be passing it on to Congress,” King told WCBS-TV on Saturday. “I should not be waiting until Congress comes back on September 9th.”
But Talking Points Memo reported that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other Republican leaders argued just the opposite in a joint statement announcing the House would take the matter up for a vote after coming back from recess.
“Under the Constitution, the responsibility to declare war lies with Congress,” the statement read. “We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious, substantive questions being raised.”
King also said in a separate statement that while he believed Pres. Bashar al-Assad’s regime use of chemical weapons against his own people merited a military response, Obama “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.”
According to TPM, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is considering asking senators to return early for their own vote on whether or not to carry out an attack.
Watch WCBS’ report on King’s statements, aired Saturday, below.
[Image via ABC News]