Updated | President Barack Obama called multiple foreign leaders over the weekend to discuss a response to the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, but he hasn’t yet called Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.
“The president is the commander-in-chief, but the first step is for him and his team to consult with Congress on what he considers viable options. That has not yet taken place,” said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck, who declined to speculate on whether Congress could be called back for a vote authorizing military action.
A White House aide on Saturday said Congress would be consulted on Syria.
Boehner has repeatedly called for the president to engage in a “robust” consultation with Congress before taking any military action in Syria, although he backed the president’s decision to provide military aid to the rebels.
Buck this afternoon wrote a longer statement titled, “Will Americans Hear from Their Commander-In-Chief?”:
The eyes of the world are on the United States this week. The Syrian regime has blatantly crossed President Obama’s red line, the White House has acknowledged, by using chemical weapons on its people. The president’s response stands to have significant impact on the outcome of the lengthy Syrian civil war. The options facing the president are complicated, have far-reaching ramifications, and may require significant resources.
So why even call Congress, Obama acts without consultation often. The media is headlining stories like this
Obama Can Strike Syria Unilaterally
Over the weekend, the White House declared that there is “very little doubt” that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad‘s forces used chemical weapons against his own people.
For better or worse, there’s also very little doubt that President Obama — should he choose to do so — can retaliate against Syrian targets for their use without approval from the American people, or their elected representatives in Congress.
Just like he did in Libya two years ago
Even so, Congress says that consultation is constitutional and required.
Boehner aide: Obama must consult with Congress on Syria
An aide to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned the White House on Monday it must consult with congressional leaders before taking any military action in Syria.
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said in a blog post that the president was obligated to “consult with Congress on the options he sees as a viable response.”
“This consultation has not yet taken place, but it is an essential part of the process,” Buck continued. “And meaningful consultation should happen before any military action is taken.”
Read more:The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room.