WASHINGTON – Today, a transpartisan group of 26 organizations – including Demand Progress Action, Common Defense, R Street, Justice Foreign Policy, Center for International Policy, Quincy Institute, and Win Without War – sent a letter to representatives urging them to support a Syria war powers amendment offered by Rep. Bowman to the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bipartisan amendment is cosponsored by Reps. Bush, Schakowsky, Tlaib, Khanna, Doggett, Hoyle, Mace, and Gaetz.
The amendment, which was supported by 60% of House Democrats when last introduced, ends funding for the continued U.S. military presence in Syria within a year of passage unless Congress passes specific statutory authorization, in accordance with the War Powers Resolution of 1973 and the Constitution. Earlier this year, 47 Republicans voted in favor of this policy.
Cavan Kharrazian, Foreign Policy Advisor at Demand Progress, offered the following remarks:
“The unauthorized US military presence in Syria has gone on far too long. Congress owes it to US servicemembers and everyday people in Syria to have a serious debate and vote on whether they are to remain in harm’s way, and to what end. We’ve seen strong support from both sides of the aisle for this policy, and above all else, the War Powers Act and Constitution demand it.”
The letter notes the urgency of congressional vote and debate on continued US military presence in Syria given the escalation of danger for US servicemembers, exemplified by tit-for-tat attacks between the U.S. and militias that included a drone attack that killed a US contractor and injured five servicemembers in March. Defense Department officials later told Congress that U.S. forces have come under attack “83 separate times” since 2021.
If passed, the amendment would not immediately end US military presence in Syria, but would rather allow Congress a full year after the enactment of the FY 24 NDAA to debate and vote on either continuing, ending, or modifying US presence in Syria.
The full list of signers:
Bring Our Troops Home
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for International Policy
Defense Priorities Initiative
Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
Demand Progress Action
Historians for Peace and Democracy
If Not Now
Institute for Policy Studies – New Internationalism Project
Justice Is Global
Just Foreign Policy
Muslims for Just Futures
Pax Christi USA
Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries
Veterans For Peace
Win Without WarWorld BEYOND War