Progressive Congress Questions President’s Unilateral Action on Syria, Urges Congress to End Its Recess and Address Humanitarian Crisis

Press Contact: Olivia Alperstein

April 7, 2017

Washington, D.C.— On April 6, President Donald Trump launched a unilateral strike on Syria with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles in response to the recent gas attack in Syria. In response to the President’s unilateral move, Progressive Congress, an organization that connects grassroots advocates with progressive Members of Congress, issued the following statement:

“The President of the United States should not have unilaterally launched a military strike on Syria without the prior consultation and authorization of Congress,” said Dr. Gabriela Lemus, President of Progressive Congress. “In complex situations like that in Syria, the President bears not only an undeniable constitutional obligation but a grave moral responsibility to abide by and respect Congress’s role to advise and consent.

As an organization, we strongly question this unilateral move. We believe the President can and must address the ongoing, complex humanitarian crisis in Syria under the Assad regime. However, he can and must do so by consulting Congress, as the United States Constitution demands.  The outdated Authorized Use of Military Force (AUMF) of 2001 needs to be seriously reviewed. With millions of lives at stake in Syria, Congress should be called back from recess and immediately go into an emergency session. This necessary step has bipartisan support and will ensure that all due consideration and deliberation will inform our response as a nation. 

As an organization, we do not claim to know what is best for the people of Syria; but what we do know is that the dozens of people affected by the horrific sarin attack are just some of millions of Syrians whose lives have been destroyed by war.  If President Trump truly wishes to respond adequately to the dire situation in Syria, he can lead by setting an example for other nations and admit Syrian refugees to this country in proportion to our capacity to welcome them.  Under these grave circumstances, a ban on incoming Syrian refugees makes no sense in view of our country’s response to this most recent attack.”