House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Congress should debate additional U.S. military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, stopping short of calling for a vote to permit President Obama to authorize airstrikes or other action.
“At some point, is there a need for a vote in Congress?” the California Democrat said during an afternoon conference call on the House Democratic agenda. “It depends on what the president is intending to do and for what duration and what purpose.”
Pelosi, however, said she supports a letter send to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, by two liberal House lawmakers, Reps. James McGovern of Massachusetts and Barbara Lee of California, and Republican Rep. Walter Jones. The letter calls on Boehner to hold a debate and vote on whether Obama can deploy “armed services engaged in combat operations in Iraq,” and Syria.
The three lawmakers said they back limited strikes on ISIS ordered this summer, but that “current military operations now underway in Iraq appear to be beyond the scope of these limited purposes and even greater expansion is under discussion.”
Earlier this summer, Obama authorized targeted airstrikes in Iraq and is said to be weighing similar action in Syria in order to combat ISIS terrorists who threaten the region and U.S. interests there. Obama has also authorized hundreds of military advisers to deploy to Iraq.
Pelosi said military action “so far is within the realm of presidential authority.”
Pelosi said Boehner has not responded to the letter send by Lee, McGovern and Jones.
“I anxiously await his response to that,” Pelosi said.
House liberals are the least likely to agree to more aggressive military action in Iraq or Syria, as many of them were proponents of ending the war in Iraq, which Pelosi on Thursday called “a horrible, horrible mistake.”