U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) released the following statement regarding the final vote by the House of Representatives on his resolution, H.J. Res. 79, to terminate the national emergency regarding Syria.
Section 202 of the National Emergencies Act (NEA) requires Congress to review declared national emergencies every six months. Declaring a national emergency makes 135 statutory provisions available to the president, including many that, if invoked, would violate Americans’ civil liberties, such as drafting Americans into the military without their consent and freezing their assets and back accounts. The national emergency with respect to Syria was first declared by President George Bush on May 11, 2004, and was continued by President Joe Biden on May 9, 2023, but not has once been voted on by Congress.
If passed, the privileged resolution would have reasserted Congress’ statutory duty and constitutional oversight role to review decades-long national emergency declarations. Unfortunately, the resolution was not adopted by a vote of 394-24, with support from 20 Republicans and 4 Democrats.
“Congress has consistently failed in its duty to review the national emergency in Syria for nearly two decades. The failure is not just on oversight; it’s on upholding the Constitution and exercising our power to reassert the rule of law and Congress’s rightful role in fiscal oversight and checking the executive branch.
The civil war happening in Syria is tragic but does not threaten our homeland and does not warrant this level of unchecked executive authority. The real emergency in Syria is our presence there, which risks war with nuclear-armed Russia,” Congressman Gaetz said.