Lawmakers Weigh In On Obama’s ISIS Strategy

Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle appear to support the need to defeat the ISIS terrorist organization, though they disagree on the details of President Obama’s strategy. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said Obama “laid out a very forceful strategy” to defeat ISIS extremists, and he deserves a bipartisan expression of support from Congress, which will be necessary to help build the essential international coalition, including moderate Muslims that will be needed to win. “I believe Congress will support air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and in Syria,” Levin told a Council on Foreign Relations forum Thursday. But, he added, “air strikes alone will not be enough to stop ISIS. Levin said he was not sure what form the congressional support would take, but proposed as a minimum authorization to spend the $500 million the President requested to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition fighters and perhaps a “sense of Congress resolution” supporting air strikes and aid to Syrian security forces. At a think tank event the same day, HASC Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said he supports the President’s ISIS strategy as part of a comprehensive effort, but he said Obama’s plan is not sufficient on its own. “As much as I want the President’s approach to work,” McKeon said, “I believe the minimalist strategy he outlined last night will not get us there.”