By Ben Geman - 08/31/13 12:19 PM EDT
Tea Party Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said lawmakers will not sit idly by if President Obama strikes Syria without congressional authorization.
Lee, in a Fox News interview, said his constituents are “really upset about this” and “do not want the president going to war without Congress's authorization.”
But what if he does? “I'm not sure what the consequence will be. But the consequences will be there,” Lee said late Friday.
“They may come in the form of a funding decision. They may come in some other form. But he will face consequences if he does this,” he said.
Lee joins a substantial number of other lawmakers – including some Democrats – in making the case that Obama must get Capitol Hill approval.
The freshman Republican is currently unconvinced that the U.S. should launch missiles against Bashar Assad’s regime over its alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.
He said Obama hasn’t effectively made a U.S. security case.
“What I've heard is that this violates some abstract international norms. That's all well and good. That's fine for an academic discussion,” he said.
Obama, in remarks Friday, laid the groundwork for what he said would be a “limited” and “narrow” strike, but said he has “not made a final decision about various actions that might be taken.”
He claimed the alleged chemical attack could ultimately undermine U.S. security if action isn’t taken.
“This kind of attack threatens our national security interests by violating well-established international norms against the use of chemical weapons by further threatening friends and allies of ours in the region, like Israel and Turkey and Jordan. And it increases the risk that chemical weapons will be used in the future and fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us,” Obama said.
He spoke after Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. intelligence community had “high confidence” that the Assad regime was responsible for a chemical weapons attack.
An administration intelligence report released Friday that said 1,429 Syrians — including 426 children — had been killed in the alleged attack in the Damascus suburbs.