Scott Rigell

House members seek congressional authorization for Syria intervention

UPDATE: Rigell’s office now reports that 140 House members have signed the letter. An update copy of it can be found below. The story has been updated to reflect the current number of signatories.

Scores of members of the House of Representatives are urging President Barack Obama to seek congressional authorization for any military action that his administration plans to take in Syria.

The White House has said that President Obama will consult leaders in Congress about the planned air strikes against Bashar Assad’s regime, which is the administration’s response to the alleged use of chemical weapons against his own citizens. But that’s not enough for House members who note that a president is legally required to seek authorization from Congress before using force overseas.

“We strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria. Your responsibility to do so is prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973,” wrote Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA), who has circulated the letter to his colleagues in the House, gathering 140 signatories from members of both parties.

Rigell noted that the Founders gave the executive branch the power to take action during emergencies, but he pointed out that Syria doesn’t represent a direct threat to the security of the United States.

The U.S. needs an “all of the above” energy strategy: House members are making a big push to expand offshore energy production

offshore platform

A group of House members is working to gain support from their colleagues to encourage the Department of the Interior to expand offshore energy access in the next Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) is spearheading the effort along with Reps. Bill Flores (R-TX), Richard Hudson (R-NC), and Scott Rigell (R-VA) to make offshore energy access — not just in the Gulf of Mexico but also to the Mid- and South-Atlantic as well as the Arctic — part of the United States’ energy strategy.

“[W]e believe that when Americans are free to dream and innovate,” the four House members wrote in a memo to their colleagues, “they will always find cheaper, cleaner, safer, and more efficient ways to use and produce energy.”

By gaining support to expand offshore drilling in the House, these four members hope they can prod the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to make it a more prominent feature in the Five Year leasing program for 2017 to 2022. Along with the memo to colleagues, they’ve circulated a copy of the letter they intend to send to the Department of the Interior.

“Countries like Canada, Mexico and China are ramping up their efforts to develop their offshore resources and directly competing with the United States. Simply put: the status quo will not suffice,” the letter says. “By producing more American energy from our [Outer Continental Shelf] resources, we can help to insulate our nation from global price shocks and put the United States and our allies on a more secure path.”

Today in Liberty: Trey Gowdy destroys Lois Lerner, Republicans push Internet sales tax again

“How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.” — Adam Smith

— KathLOLn SebLOLus: In case you haven’t heard, our dear Health and Human Services secretary has called it quits. Sebelius recently submitted to her resignation to President Obama, apparently in early March. He’s expected to, at some point today, appoint OMB Director Sylvia Burwell to succeed Sebelius.

More House members urge White House for vote on Syria intervention

Members of the House of Representatives have signed two separate letters urging President Barack Obama to seek congressional authorization before he launches a military strike against Syria.

In addition to the 140 signatories from both parties on the letter from Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) penned a separate missive yesterday that received support from 53 House Democrats.

“While we understand that as Commander in Chief you have a constitutional obligation to protect our national interests from direct attack, Congress has the constitutional obligation and power to approve military force, even if the United States or its direct interests (such as its embassies) have not been attacked or threatened with an attack,” wrote Lee in her letter to President Obama. “As such, we strongly urge you to seek an affirmative decision of Congress prior to committing any U.S. military engagement to this complex crisis.”

Lee expressed concern for human rights violations and “horrific” loss of life in Syria, but she explained that this “should not draw us into an unwise war.” The letter also lends support to efforts in the United Nations Security Council to build an “international consensus condemning the alleged use of chemical weapons” and any potential response.

Republicans Called Out for Not Acting Like Republicans

Rand Paul

Some Republican House members are apparently upset with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) over ads being run in their districts. According to Politico, the ads are sponsored by the National Association for Gun Rights, which Paul has done fundraising pitches for in the past, and targeting members who are viewed as shaky on gun control measures:

Sen. Rand Paul, the tea party favorite and possible 2016 presidential candidate, is raising money for a conservative gun rights group that’s targeting fellow Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

And when one congressman complained, the message from Paul’s camp was: too bad.
The group has blitzed the districts of Virginia Republicans Cantor and Rep. Scott Rigell with $50,000 worth of TV and radio ads accusing them of helping President Barack Obama pass gun control legislation.

Paul’s email pitches for the group don’t mention Cantor or Rigell by name, but his activity for an organization that attacks fellow Republicans shows the potential 2016 presidential contender isn’t afraid to pick a fight inside the party.

We need more people willing to call out Republicans who could go soft on big issues. If they don’t like the heat, rather than complaining to Paul, they should make it clear that they aren’t going to cast a vote that violates Second Amendment rights.

It’s pretty simple how that works.

Republicans Leading In Three Virginia House Races

Three separate polls show Republicans leading in House races for seats currently held by Democrats:

There’s a new batch of polls in Virginia’s four most interesting House races.

“On Monday, September 27, ccAdvertising completed surveys to voters in four key Congressional districts in Virginia. These surveys focused on the competitive Congressional races as well as current national issues. The surveys were conducted to both landline phones and mobile phones.”

In the 2nd Congressional District, Republican Scott Rigell has a commanding lead over Democrat Glenn Nye in the race for Congress of over 14 percent. When asked whom voters will choose on Election Day, 48.6 percent are supporting Rigell, while 34.5 percent are supporting Nye and 16.9 percent are undecided.

In the 5th District, Republican Robert Hurt would defeat incumbent Democrat Tom Perriello by approximately 16 percent. A 51.1 percent majority of respondents support Hurt while 34.7 percent support Democrat Tom Perriello and 14.1 percent are undecided.


In Virginia’s 11th District, Republican Keith Fimian has a five and one half percent lead over Democrat Gerry Connolly. When asked whom voters support, 42.2 percent favor Fimian, 36.7 percent support Connolly and 21.1 percent are undecided.

Meanwhile, the poll also surveyed voters in the 9th District and found incumbent Democrat Rick Boucher with only a three point lead.

There are high numbers of undecided voters in all three polls so it’s unclear that this means a lot right now. However, it’s clear that the GOP has a good chance of huge gains in Virginia on Election Night.

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