WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asked Speaker Paul D. Ryan to bring the House back into session Friday to "debate any decision to place our men and women in uniform in harm's way" in Syria following the airstrikes ordered by President Trump.
The House left Washington Thursday for a two-week Easter recess; the Senate is expected to recess later Friday.
"The President's action and any response demands that we immediately do our duty," Pelosi (D., Calif.) wrote. "Congress must live up to its Constitutional responsibility to debate an Authorization of the Use of Military Force against a sovereign nation."
"As heartbreaking as Assad's chemical weapons attacks on his own people was, the crisis in Syria will not be resolved by one night of airstrikes," she continued. "The killing will not stop without a comprehensive political solution to end the violence. The American people are owed a comprehensive strategy with clear objectives to keep our brave men and women in uniform safe and avoid collateral damage to innocent civilians in Syria."
The Trump administration has not detailed the legal rationale for the strike, which U.S. officials said targeted an airfield linked to a chemical weapons attack launched by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad this week. Trump's two immediate predecessors, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, have cited congressional war authorizations passed in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when taking action in the Middle East, though there is debate whether that authorization would apply to a strike against the Assad regime.
Obama approached Congress in 2013 about seeking a new authorization for the use of the military force, or AUMF, specific to intervention in the Syria conflict but was rebuffed by lawmakers of both parties.
Ryan (R., Wis.) called the strike "appropriate and just" in a statement late Thursday and said he "look[ed] forward to the administration further engaging Congress in this effort." But he announced no specific plans to debate a resolution authorizing military action.