John Boehner weighed in on the growing ISIS conflict Sunday, saying that President Obama has not done enough, and that Congress should be recalled into session so a vote can be presented for putting “boots on the ground.” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, a longtime vocal opponent of the Obama administration, said the president needs to start getting the support of his Congress behind him and cease the unilateral decision-making.
“The president typically in a situation like this would call for an authorization vote and go sell that to the American people and send a resolution to [Capitol] Hill,” Boehner told ABC News. “The president has not done that. He believes he has authority under existing resolutions to do what he’s done.”
Targeted long range bombing of ISIS strongholds in Iraq has been going on for two weeks; military targets in Syria are now being bombed as well.
Writes CBS News: “The president has argued he already has the necessary authority for the current operations in Iraq and Syria, pointing to the authorizations of military force Congress passed in 2001 and 2002 before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. But he’s also said he believes Congress should render a vote in support of the current mission.”
Boehner, while agreeing that Obama has the precedent to move forward with his military strikes on ISIS, said Congress should be involved.
“I think he does have the authority,” Boehner said. “But the point I’m making is this is a proposal that the Congress ought to consider.”
Tony Blinken, Assistant to the President and Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser, agreed, saying the recall of Congress with a vote for troop authorization would be “welcomed.”
“We do not require it,” he said. “We have the existing authorization from 2001. That is a basis for proceeding. But we would certainly welcome Congress showing its support.”
Others have been much more critical. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said Obama was “arrogant” to move forward without Congressional consultation.
“Instead of coming to Congress, he illegally acts on his own,” Paul, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said. “Had I been the president, I would have called for a joint session of Congress. I would have laid out the threat and I would have requested congressional authority to respond. By failing, he missed the chance to galvanize the country and to become a great American leader.”
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, said Obama neither had the authorization nor the support to begin bombing Iraq.
“We are not supposed to start a war without Congress,” Kaine said. “I think he doesn’t have the Article 2 constitutional authority to do this entire mission without Congress, and neither of the authorizations passed by Congress in 2001 or 2002 cover it. We should be debating and voting on this entire mission.”
In speaking with ABC interviewer George Stephanopoulos, Boehner said: “If I were the president, I probably wouldn’t have talked about what I wouldn’t do. And maybe we can get enough of these forces trained to get them on the battlefield. But somebody’s boots have to be there… We have no choice. These are barbarians. They intend to kill us. And if we don’t destroy them first, we’re going to pay the price.”
According to a recent NBC / Wall Street Journal poll, when asked the question: “If it were determined by the military commanders that the best way to defeat the ISIS army was to use American military troops on the ground, would you be in favor of this decision or would you be in opposition to this decision,” 45 percent were in favor, 37 percent were opposed and 18 percent were undecided or had no opinion.
What are your thoughts on Obama’s handling of ISIS? Are boots on the ground needed? Should Congress be petitioned? Sound off below.