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GOP Leaders Shy From ISIS Vote, Call for Obama Plan

GOP Leaders Shy From ISIS Vote, Call for Obama Plan

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - September 9, 2014

Republican congressional leaders were reluctant Tuesday morning to say whether lawmakers should vote on authorizing military force to combat Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria, and instead urged President Obama to detail his strategy for going after the group known as ISIL (or ISIS). 

Later Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will discuss the situation with Obama at the White House. Prior to that meeting, Boehner and McConnell publically pushed the president to outline a plan, from which Congress might take its cues. 

“What I’m hoping to hear from the president is a strategy that goes after ISIS and destroys them,” Boehner said after a House GOP conference meeting, at which former Vice President Dick Cheney spoke about the terrorist group.

In a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, McConnell called on Obama to identify military objectives and detail how those goals will be accomplished. “Where the president believes he lacks authority to execute such a strategy, he needs to explain to the Congress how additional authority for the use of force will protect America,” McConnell said.  

Boehner declined to say whether he would support placing combat troops on the ground in the region, arguing that he needed to hear specifics from the president. Obama has ruled out U.S. ground troops, pushing instead for a concerted international effort in the region. Administration officials will be briefing members of Congress this week, and the president will address the issue in a speech slated for Wednesday.

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at chueyburns@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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