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Boehner sees call for military authorization vs Islamic State soon
February 5, 2015 / 8:53 PM / 3 years ago

Boehner sees call for military authorization vs Islamic State soon

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) wipes away tears during his remarks at a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony honoring members of the First Special Service Force at the U.S. Capitol in Washington February 3, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday he expected President Barack Obama to seek congressional authorization soon for using military force against Islamic State and also called for speeding up assistance to Jordan.

“I‘m expecting that there will be an authorization for the use of military force sent up here in the coming days. And we’re going to go through a rigorous set of hearings and continue to discuss it,” Boehner, the top House Republican, told reporters.

“It is also going to be incumbent upon the president to go out there and make the case to the American people,” as well as help push Congress to pass the authorization, he added.

Congressional aides said lawmakers had been told they would receive the White House request next week.

Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, told reporters that lawmakers had been talking to the White House about an authorization that would last three years. She said there had not yet been decisions about the geographic scope of an authorization or what limits would be placed on combat troops - “boots on the ground” - for the fight against Islamic State militants.

The United States is leading an international coalition against Islamic State, and Obama launched an air campaign in August against IS fighters in Iraq and Syria.

The administration has said the campaign was legal, based on authorization passed under President George W. Bush for the Iraq War and fighting al Qaeda and associated groups.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Thursday Obama wanted a new resolution authorizing force not because it was a “legal necessity” but to show that U.S. political leaders had united around one plan.

“It is a matter, however, of the president’s desire to send a very clear signal to the people of this country, to our allies, and to our enemies that the United States of America and our political system is united behind the strategy,” Earnest told reporters.

Earlier this week, Islamic State militants drew international condemnation after they posted a video of a captured Jordanian pilot being burnt alive.

“Jordan is one of our staunchest allies in the region,” Boehner said. “There’s an awful lot of things already in the pipeline but speeding that process up through the bureaucracy would certainly help the Jordanians in a time of significant need. And I think, frankly, all of Congress would support it.”

Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson; and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Susan Heavey, Christian Plumb, Richard Chang and Andrew Hay

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