Rand Paul teams up with Ocasio-Cortez, Omar to press Trump on Syria withdrawal

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes Top Foreign Relations senators introduce Turkey sanctions bill MORE (R-Ky.) is teaming up with liberal House Democrats, including firebrand freshmen Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders Ocasio-Cortez throws support to Sanders at Queens rally MORE (N.Y.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOcasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders Ocasio-Cortez throws support to Sanders at Queens rally MORE (Minn.), to urge President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE to follow through on his pledge to pull U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, a move that's opposed by most congressional Republicans.

“We write in bipartisan support of your announcement of the start of a ‘deliberate withdrawal’ of U.S. military forces in Syria, and we welcome the completion of this process within the next six months,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Trump.

Others who signed the letter occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum on Capitol Hill: Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes Senate fails to override Trump veto over emergency declaration MORE (R-Utah) and Reps. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaCongress set for showdown with Trump over Kurds Is Congress too afraid to fight Big Pharma? Democrats probing whether groups booked Trump hotel rooms to earn president's favor: report MORE (D-Calif.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuTestimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense Lawmakers, social media users praise photo of Pelosi confronting Trump Democrats eye Pompeo testimony MORE (D-Calif.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieO'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats Scalise blasts Democratic legislation on gun reforms Airports already have plenty of infrastructure funding MORE (R-Ky.), Justin AmashJustin AmashAmash: Clinton's attack on Gabbard will 'drive many people into the arms' of Trump Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria pullout MORE (R-Mich.), Jeff DuncanJeffrey (Jeff) Darren DuncanHouse votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge Overnight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe House GOP rolls out energy proposal to counter Democrats offshore drilling ban MORE (R-S.C.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarOvernight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe House approves two bills to block Trump drilling House GOP rolls out energy proposal to counter Democrats offshore drilling ban MORE (R-Ariz.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).

They argue that the 2015 deployment of U.S. military forces to Syria was never approved by Congress, in violation of the Constitution and the 1973 War Powers Resolution.

“We believe that the stated intention of withdrawing our forces is appropriate, and we look forward to the orderly return of our service members from this theater of conflict,” they wrote.

Republican leaders in Congress have pushed back against Trump’s December announcement that he would pull U.S. troops from Syria and substantially reduce the number of American combat personnel in Afghanistan.

The president did not consult with Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Central Command, before making his Dec. 19 announcement, which caught Republicans in Congress by surprise.

The Senate in early February passed a resolution drafted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhite House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours The Memo: Trump's sea of troubles deepens McConnell: Trump's troop pull back in Syria a 'grave strategic mistake' MORE (R-Ky.) that stated the sense of the Senate was that Islamic militants in Syria and Afghanistan still pose a threat to the United States. It passed 70-26.

Paul told reporters Wednesday that Trump hasn’t changed his mind on withdrawing U.S. forces, and that the president delivered a blunt message to Senate Republicans at a lunch meeting last week.

“The finishing words of the lunch to us were, 'Whether you like [it] or not, I’ve promised people not to leave troops in the Middle East forever, and that includes,' he specifically mentioned, 'Syria and Afghanistan,'” Paul said.

The Kentucky Republican acknowledged that voices in the administration and the Republican Party have tried to rein in the president by characterizing possible troop withdrawal as being dependent on conditions on the ground, language that has been used for years to justify a continued U.S. combat presence.

“There are competing forces, like in any administration," Paul said. "There are a lot of people involved and many of them are from what I call the foreign policy swamp and they want to stay forever everywhere and they think we have endless resources and endless amounts of money."

Paul previously teamed up with Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallSenate fails to override Trump veto over emergency declaration Democratic senators condemn Trump for calling on China to investigate Bidens Green groups line up behind Markey ahead of looming Kennedy fight MORE (D-N.M.) on legislation to end the war in Afghanistan, an effort lawmakers promoted Tuesday in the Kennedy Caucus Room at an event hosted by the Committee for Responsible Foreign Policy.

Members of the conservative-liberal coalition that sent the letter to Trump say the push is about protecting Congress’s constitutional power to decide when the nation goes to war, something that has steadily drifted to the executive branch over the past 55 years following the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized the Vietnam War.

“The president cannot pursue a foreign policy agenda without the advice and consent, let alone the support, of the Congress," Khanna said in a statement. "Thanks to Sen. Paul for joining me in bringing an end to these wars. The Constitution isn’t partisan."