House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday wrote to President Obama calling on him to “personally make the case to the American people and Congress” for why the United States should engage intervene militarily in Syria after its government used chemical weapons on its own citizens.
Obama has not announced how he intends to intervene after chemical weapons were used to kill and injure thousands of Syrians, but a military strike of some kind appears imminent.
Dozens of members of Congress, meanwhile, are demanding that any military action be approved by lawmakers first and are circulating a letter with a growing number of signatures that calls on Obama to seek congressional authorization before he acts.
Boehner, R-Ohio, is not making the same demand, but his letter calls for more in-depth consultation with Congress and asks for answers to a comprehensive list of questions about the potential upcoming military strikes, including how Obama justifies military action without first seeking constitutionally mandated congressional authorization.
“It will take presidential leadership and a clear explanation of our policy, our interests, and our objectives to gain public and congressional support for any military action against Syria,” Boehner wrote.
Boehner’s letter poses 14 questions to Obama, including why the use of force is needed and how Obama would respond if the Syrian government retaliated with an attack on U.S. allies in the region. Boehner also asked, “What is the intended effect of the potential military strikes?”
Boehner signaled in the letter that the Obama administration has not conferred thoroughly with Congress over the matter, despite Obama aides making calls to the top lawmakers on committees that oversee the military. Boehner also received a brief call from an Obama administration official.
“While the outreach has been appreciated, it … has, to date, not reached the level of substantive consultation,” Boehner wrote.