Almost All Of Congress Demurs On Matt Gaetz’s Latest Plan For National Security

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Far-right Republicans in Congress keep proposing to end past declarations of national emergency from the president, whoever that chief executive actually was at the time, but it doesn’t seem these attempts are really going anywhere.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has sponsored a proposed joint resolution in the House that would terminate an emergency declaration originating in the George W. Bush era covering events in Syria. To be clear, it’s not as though the situation in Syria has dramatically improved, but Republicans in Gaetz’s corner often broadly oppose U.S. action overseas. Gaetz himself has at times brazenly misrepresented the nature of U.S. assistance to Ukraine amid the latter’s war with Russia, characterizing that help as essentially directly responsible for expanding certain portions of the deadly violence. In reality, Russian forces are the aggressor, and allowing these troops to have nearly free reign in Ukraine could’ve led to even worse outcomes for civilians, considering what was already seen in temporarily occupied areas.

The Bush declaration was essentially appended by subsequent declarations issued both during his presidency and the following administration of Barack Obama. In general, such declarations require yearly renewals to remain active, and President Joe Biden provided such a renewal for the U.S. declarations of emergency regarding Syria in May of this year. Declarations of emergency generally provide the legal foundation for U.S. action like economic sanctions targeting the assets of figures involved in various atrocities.

Gaetz’s attempt to undo the official U.S. stance on Syria has just one cosponsor, Arizona Republican Paul Gosar. Gosar has been involved in other such attempts targeting other emergency declarations.

“The regime’s brutality and repression of the Syrian people, who have called for freedom and a representative government, not only endangers the Syrian people themselves, but also generates instability throughout the region,” Biden said when renewing the emergency declaration. “The Syrian regime’s actions and policies, including with respect to chemical weapons and supporting terrorist organizations, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”