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Congress Members Hope to Tweak Obama's War Demands Before Authorizing

Need to Amend Text of Syria Resolution

From: The Honorable Brad Sherman
Sent By:

Date: 9/2/2013

Dear Colleague: 

As you know, the President has delayed military action against Syria to allow for Congress to consider a resolution approving the use of force.  The President has released the proposed text of such a resolution. 

Whether you support the President’s call for limited use of force in Syria, or are opposed to any military force, we should not simply consider and vote on the text submitted by the President.  While the action the President has proposed is only in the air for a short duration, the text he has proposed is unlimited.  In fact, it would authorize boots-on-the-ground for an undetermined duration.  Accordingly, we should consider amendments, including those that limit the scope and duration of the authorization. 

While I support granting authority for the President to do what he has proposed, namely conduct limited operations designed to punish and deter the use of chemical weapons, his proposed resolution allows him to use whatever force he deems necessary, for as long as he deems necessary, so long as there is some connection to weapons of mass destruction. 

I trust the President when he says that he plans a very limited military action.  Congress should give him the authority to carry out that limited plan.  We do not need to give the President a blank check just to show our respect for him.  We can authorize limited action now, and consider additional authorization on an expedited basis in the weeks to come.

I am proposing two amendments to the President’s resolution (see below). First, the authorization should be for no more than 60 days.  Any further use of force beyond the 60 days should require an additional resolution, one that can be considered pursuant to the expedited procedures provided for in the War Powers Resolution. 

Second, the President has made clear he does not want to introduce ground forces to Syria.  Any resolution we pass should explicitly state that it does not authorize ground action, except limited action to rescue American personnel. 

I urge you to support a process in which these amendments, and those proposed by others, can be debated and voted on.  I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with you.  I will be in my office Tuesday.  My cell phone number is available from Siamak Kordestani, who can be reached at                        and Mr. Kordestani is available during the weekend to discuss these issues with your staff.



Sherman Amendments to Syria Resolution

Amendment I

Nothing in this resolution authorizes any military action undertaken more than sixty days after enactment.  Congress shall consider a resolution to authorize the use of force, beyond that authorized by this Resolution, pursuant to the procedures described in Section 6 of the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

Amendment II

Nothing in this resolution authorizes the deployment of ground forces in Syria, except for limited efforts to rescue American personnel.



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