Press Releases

Joint Press Release: Dozens of Groups Urge Congress to Pass a War Powers Resolution in Response to Biden Admin’s Unauthorized Strike in Syria

March 16, 2021

CONTACT: Cavan Kharrazian, [email protected]; Erik Sperling; [email protected]

WASHINGTON — Today, dozens of organizations sent a letter to Congress demanding that it immediately introduce and advance a War Powers Resolution in response to the Biden Administration’s bombing of targets in Syria on February 25, which lacked authorization from Congress.

The letter explains that the Biden Administration’s self-defense justification under Article II constitutional authorities is not only insufficient given the timing of, and public facts about, the bombing, but also sets a dangerous precedent which can “be cited to defend unauthorized military action essentially anywhere in the world, against nearly any group, and at virtually any time, as long as an administration declares that U.S. interests are threatened by the targeted group at some moment in the past or in the future.”

In response to President Biden’s announcement that he will seek to replace the 2001 Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) and repeal the 2002 AUMF, the groups warn that if unilateral military actions such as the February 25th strike are not rebuked, any AUMF reform efforts are in danger of being rendered meaningless.

The following statement can be attributed to Cavan Kharrazian, Progressive Foreign Policy Campaigner, Demand Progress:

“The Biden Administration’s February 25 bombing in Syria conforms neither with the Constitution nor the War Powers Act of 1973. The strike’s lack of congressional approval, and the Administration’s erroneous justification, set a dangerous precedent that risks embroiling us in more endless war.

While current efforts to repeal and replace old authorizations of military force are important, those authorizations were not cited to justify the February strike, and their repeal would not entail holding the President accountable for this specific unconstitutional action.

Congress must immediately respond to this unauthorized attack by passing a War Powers Resolution — the fastest and most powerful tool that Congress has at its disposal to assert its jurisdiction over war-making.”

The following statement can be attributed to Erik Sperling, Executive Director, Just Foreign Policy:

“This letter is a sign that members of Congress who fight to defend their war powers have a right-left coalition standing behind them. Repealing the two-decade-old authorizations for military force is important, but the claim that the constitution alone allows the president to unilaterally strike any group, anywhere, could greatly limit the scope of those efforts.”