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

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHillicon Valley: Tech companies duke it out at Senate hearing | Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech Senate panel greenlights sweeping China policy bill Senate GOP keeps symbolic earmark ban MORE (R-Ky.) is teaming up with liberal House Democrats, including firebrand freshmen Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezKerry: China described climate change as 'crisis' for the first time Left feels empowered after Biden backtracks on refugees Ocasio-Cortez: Chauvin 'verdict is not a substitute for policy change' MORE (N.Y.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarLeft feels empowered after Biden backtracks on refugees Lawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin murder trial: 'Our work is far from done' House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters MORE (Minn.), to urge President TrumpDonald TrumpUS gives examples of possible sanctions relief to Iran GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House passes bill aimed at stopping future Trump travel ban 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 LeeSenate locks in hate crimes deal, setting up Thursday passage Tech companies duke it out at Senate hearing Big Tech set to defend app stores in antitrust hearing MORE (R-Utah) and Reps. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaHillicon Valley: Tech companies duke it out at Senate hearing | Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech Lawmakers reintroduce bill to invest billions to compete with China in tech Lawmakers demand justice for Adam Toledo: 'His hands were up. He was unarmed' MORE (D-Calif.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuOvernight Defense: Top Pentagon nominee advances after Harris casts tie-breaker | Air Force general charged with sexual assault first to face court-martial | House passes bill to limit Saudi arms sales Lieu to Greene and Gosar: 'Take your nativist crap and shove it' Pro-Trump lawmakers form caucus promoting 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MORE (D-Calif.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieConservative House members call on Senate to oppose ATF nominee House votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong 14 Republicans vote against resolution condemning Myanmar military coup MORE (R-Ky.), Justin AmashJustin AmashBiden: 'Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK' Battle rages over vaccine passports Republicans eye primaries in impeachment vote MORE (R-Mich.), Jeff DuncanJeffrey (Jeff) Darren DuncanGOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' Georgia county says removal of All-Star Game will cost tourism 0M GOP senators push to end MLB antitrust status MORE (R-S.C.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarHouse rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Cheney on Trump going to GOP retreat in Florida: 'I haven't invited him' Scalise confident Marjorie Taylor Greene won't launch 'America First Caucus' MORE (R-Ariz.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).

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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 McConnellWhen it comes to Georgia's voting law, keep politics out of business Pelosi to offer even split on 9/11-style commission to probe Capitol riot Senate GOP crafts outlines for infrastructure counter proposal 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.

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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 UdallTom UdallStudy: Chemical used in paint thinners caused more deaths than EPA identified Oregon senator takes center stage in Democratic filibuster debate Bipartisan bill seeks to raise fees for public lands drilling 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."