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McCarthy was elected by his Republican colleagues to be the next House majority leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
McCarthy said Obama needs to step up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress is working on legislation that would authorize more aggressive military action against terror group ISIS — but President Barack Obama has to step up and take the lead in the fight, said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.  

The California Republican, in a Tuesday interview on conservative talker Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, said he supports efforts to give the president authority to pursue Islamic extremists across borders. But he cautioned against Congress conducting foreign policy.  

“We don’t need 535 foreign policy experts trying to run the military,” McCarthy told guest host Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif. “First and foremost, this president has to have a strategy. I mean, what is our foreign policy? I mean, I don’t know what it is. And if we don’t know what it is, our allies don’t know, and our enemies don’t know, so they’re pushing the envelope. “We have a problem because America’s not leading. We need a very clear, concise foreign policy doctrine of America. Currently, our friends don’t trust us, and our enemies don’t fear us. That’s what’s going on in America today,” the four-term Republican said. “The president needs to develop a strategy. If you develop that strategy, we could say yes, support it or not. But we don’t need 535 foreign policy experts trying to run the military.  

McCarthy’s comments echoed those of House Speaker John A. Boehner, who offered similar remarks a day earlier on the same show.   

Other Republicans — and some Democrats — have explicitly called for a ramped-up U.S.-led military response to jihadists in Iraq and Syria, where ISIS has a stronghold, as well as in other extremist hotspots around the globe.  

Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., is introducing legislation in the House that would give the president more authority to use U.S. forces against ISIS and others , while Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., announced a similar bill for the Senate .  

Congress is set to return Monday from a month-long recess.  

The action comes as lawmakers from both chambers and both parties expressed anger and frustration over Tuesday’s release of another video showing the beheading of an American journalist by extremists.  


Related: House, Senate Laying Groundwork for War on ISIS  Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

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