Obama Asserts Authority to Take on ISIS Without Congress

Posted September 9, 2014 at 5:44pm

President Barack Obama told Congressional leaders that he already has the authority he needs to take on ISIS but would welcome the support of Congress, according to a White House readout.

“The President told the Leaders that he has the authority he needs to take action against ISIL in accordance with the mission he will lay out in his address tomorrow night. He reiterated his belief that the nation is stronger and our efforts more effective when the President and Congress work together to combat a national security threat like ISIL. The President told the Leaders that he would welcome action by the Congress that would aid the overall effort and demonstrate to the world that the United States is united in defeating the threat from ISIL. The President and his team look forward to continuing extensive consultation with Congress.”

Speaker John A. Boehner signaled support Tuesday for destroying ISIS, according to a readout released by an aide to Boehner. The statement said Obama laid out some of his ideas for taking on ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State:

“The Speaker said the spread of radicalized Islam is a global epidemic and our national objective must be to defeat and destroy ISIL. He asked the president to define success in those terms when he addresses the nation tomorrow night. The Speaker expressed support for certain options that have been proposed by the president, such as increasing the effectiveness of the Iraqi Security Forces and training and equipping the Syrian opposition.  The Speaker made it clear that ISIL is preparing to fight us, and that as we learned in Syria, the longer we wait, the more difficult our choices become.  It is in the best interests of the United States and our allies to put in place a strategy that rises to the challenge of the threat we face, and takes the fight directly to ISIL in a decisive fashion, the Speaker said.

The Speaker stated he would support the President if he chose to deploy the military to help train and play an advisory role for the Iraqi Security Forces and assist with lethal targeting of ISIL leadership.  Lastly, the Speaker made clear that the administration should re-examine our border and homeland policies and authorities to determine whether there are loopholes or weaknesses that could expose the homeland to an immediate ISIL-linked attack.

The Speaker looks forward to hearing the president outline a comprehensive strategy for destroying and defeating ISIL tomorrow night.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wouldn’t tell reporters if he had any plans for Senate action after meeting with Obama and the other top congressional leaders.  

“I’m just waiting for the president’s speech tomorrow,” Reid said. “I’m glad to have been at the White House, had a little preview of it. I look forward to it.”  

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also didn’t mention an authorization vote in a statement sent from her office.

“The President outlined a strategy to counter the threat of ISIS in coordination with our NATO allies and leaders of nations in the region.  The meeting provided a valuable opportunity for consultation on advancing security and stability in the region and beyond.  We look forward to the President’s address to the nation tomorrow evening as he further details the Administration’s efforts to combat ISIS and advance our national security.”

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

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