Rep. Eliot Engel said Friday that President Barack Obama would be “well within his right” to act on Syria without the approval of Congress.
From his understanding of the War Powers Act, the New York Democrat said in an appearance on MSNBC, the president need only consult with members of Congress.
MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts asked Engel, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, what he had learned from the president during a Thursday evening White House conference call on the situation in Syria.
The congressman pointed out that Obama wasn’t actually on the call (he was may have been entertaining guests elsewhere), adding later that the president’s aides said they are certain Bashar Assad deployed chemical weapons on his people.
Roberts pointed to clips of various Democrat leaders, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), complaining about how President George W. Bush had no constitutional authority to attack Iran without congressional authorization.
“We have ample precedents of presidents taking action before consulting with Congress or getting Congress’ approval,” Engel asserted.
“The way ride the War Powers Act is the president can move and needs to consult carefully and closely with Congress and Congress has to vote within 60 days,” he continued. “I don’t think what the president is talking about will last anywhere near 60 days.”
“And I think the president is well within his right, after informing congress and have robust discussions with Congress under the War Powers Act to act on his own," he said.
Watch below, via Mediaite:
(H/T: Mediaite) Featured image Getty Images.
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