United States President Barack Obama has told lawmakers that he won’t need a Congressional approval for taking up any fresh military action in Iraq in response to the violent insurgency sweeping through the war-torn country.
Continuing to weigh in multiple options with his national security team, Mr. Obama held an hour-long meeting with top Congressional leaders on Wednesday.
Baghdad asked Washington on Wednesday to carry out air strikes on militants who have attacked Iraq’s main oil refinery and seized more territory in the north.
“The president briefed us on the situation in Iraq and indicated he didn’t feel he had any need for authority from us for steps that he might take and indicated that he would keep us posted,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters after the meeting.
Other top leaders among them in the meet included Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid; Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of House of Representatives John Boehner.
“I do not believe the President needs any further legislative authority to pursue the particular options for increased security assistance discussed today (Wednesday),” Ms. Pelosi said.
During the meeting, Mr. Obama provided an update on the Administration’s efforts to respond to the threat from ISIL by urging Iraq’s leaders to set aside “sectarian agenda” and to come together with a sense of national unity.
“He also reviewed our efforts to strengthen the capacity of Iraq’s security forces to confront the threat from ISIL, including options for increased security assistance. He asked each of the leaders for their view of the current situation and pledged to continue consulting closely with Congress going forward,” the White House said.
Senator Ben Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that it is time for the Iraqi people to take responsibility for the security and sustainability of their own country.
“I voted against granting President Bush the authority to invade Iraq in 2003 and I strongly oppose additional forces on the ground today. Rather, the US must act together with the international community to achieve our common goals of a stable Iraq and preventing the entrenchment of extremists,” Mr. Cardin said.
In a speech at the Senate floor, Senator Marco Rubio said the situation in Iraq is, to some extent, “a civil war between Sunni and Shia“.
“We must do whatever we can and everything we can to prevent this group, ISIL, from gaining operational long-term control of these territories in Iraq,” Mr. Rubio said.