House members representing other portions of the Central Valley, including Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield; Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock; Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento; and Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, have not posted press statements or Tweets related to the latest Syria developments.
Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney of Stockton said Thursday that “the president should be consulting leaders of both the House and Senate,” but stopped short of demanding full-fledged congressional authorization.
Californians have been in the forefront of raising alarms in prior undeclared wars.
Former Rep. Tom Campbell, a Republican representing Silicon Valley, led another coalition of liberals and conservatives in a 1999 lawsuit challenging the Clinton administration’s undeclared air war on the former Yugoslavia. Foreshadowing the likely fate of any similar challenge on Syria, a federal court concluded the lawmakers lacked the legal standing to sue.
A member of the House Armed Services Committee, Garamendi added a provision to this year’s defense authorization bill declaring that the legislation did not authorize force against Syria. But the committee, which includes eight members from California, also kept options open. The panel’s 564-page committee report included a statement urging the president to “fully consider all courses of action to reinforce his stated ‘redline’ regarding (Syria’s) use of chemical weapons,” and it asked the Pentagon to report on the resources necessary for military action in Syria.
The committee chairman, Rep. Howard ‘Buck’ McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, declared earlier this year that “meaningful consequences” would be a “national security imperative” if Syria were to use chemical weapons. Others worry about who will pay the price.
“Once you unleash the dogs of war,” Garamendi said, “you have no idea of who they’re going to bite.”