President Obama told Congressional leaders he has no plans to send American troops into combat in Iraq, but that he does not need their approval for other military moves aimed at increasing security within the war-torn country.
“I do not believe the President needs any further legislative authority to pursue the particular options for increased security assistance discussed today,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said after the four top House and Senate leaders met with Obama in the White House.
Pelosi said the president provided “assurances” that any steps he takes will not include a combat role for the United States military.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters the president said he believed he did not require additional authority from Congress for executing his plans to deal with the situation in Iraq, which in recent months has devolved into a bloody civil war involving an al Qaeda splinter group of jihadists known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria that is trying to take over the country.
The Iraqi government has requested military assistance from the United States in the form of airstrikes. The president has sent 275 troops to secure the United States embassy in Baghdad and is considering the use of drone strikes.
According to White House, Obama “provided an update on the Administration's efforts to respond to the threat from [ISIS] by urging Iraq's leaders to set aside sectarian agendas 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 [ISIS], 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.”
In 2002, Congress passed the Iraq war resolution, granting the president the power to use military force in Iraq.