Colorado lawmakers say Congress must be consulted on Syria

President Barack Obama should be deliberate and should consult with Congress before taking action in Syria, where officials have pinned the blame on the government for the use of chemical weapons, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., and the state’s two Democratic senators said.

Obama should “fulfill his obligation to consult with Congress before authorizing the use of military force, and explain the reasons for proposed actions to the American people,” Tipton said Wednesday in a statement.

Obama could act on his own under the War Powers Act to deal with an imminent threat to American interests, but “the current situation doesn’t meet that criteria,” Tipton said, noting that “military action should be an absolute last resort, and I urge the president to consider a non-military response first.”

Sen. Mark Udall called also for the president to explain the actions he intends to take.

“Congress still needs to hear from the president directly,” Udall said in a statement. “More importantly, the president needs to explain his plan to the American people, who are understandably reluctant to support further military engagement in the Middle East.”

The United States could become drawn into the civil war raging in Syria if it takes action, Udall warned, but noted that the bloody civil war there and the use of chemical weapons “demonstrate that staying on the sidelines may carry risks just as grave.”

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet urged a cautious approach via a spokesman, who noted “the enormous challenges in the region and the complexity of the situation. Our military is already extended, Syria is engaged in a civil war, and several nations are experiencing unprecedented transition.”

The use of chemical weapons, however, “should be condemned and come with consequences,” Bennet spokesman Adam Bozzi said.


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