Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, said Tuesday he’s glad that President Obama is seeking authorization from Congress on the use of military force in Syria — but argued that the move was not based on constitutional principles.
“I don’t think he’s driving that on principle; I think he’s done that because the British tried to do that in their Parliament and it was soundly rejected. But I’m glad we’re having that discussion,” Mr. Chaffetz said on KSL Newsradio.
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British Prime Minister David Cameron unsuccessfully tried to persuade the House of Commons last week to approve a motion authorizing Britain to engage in Syria pending the findings of UN weapons inspectors. Mr. Cameron later expressed support for Mr. Obama’s decision announced Saturday to seek authorization from Congress on U.S. military intervention.
“I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” Mr. Obama said over the weekend. “And that’s why I’ve made a second decision: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress.”
Mr. Chaffetz was also skeptical about potential U.S. involvement.
“If there is a clear and present danger to the United States of America, of course [I] want the president to act decisively and swiftly, but in this case, I do not see a clear and present danger to the United States of America,” he said. “I’m going to listen to both the classified and the unclassified [briefings]; I’m glad the president’s making the case to Congress — that’s the way it should have been.”
“I just am very hesitant to use U.S. force in this case,” he continued.