- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The second-ranking Democrat in the House said Tuesday that the U.S. needs to be thinking about authorizing airstrikes to neutralize the security risk in Iraq.

“I certainly think we should be considering them, yes,” Rep. Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, told reporters.

Mr. Hoyer said he doesn’t think the administration would need to come to Congress to authorize airstrikes, since a previous authorization extends to the current situation. Other lawmakers have previously said they believe the president will consult with Congress whether or not its legally necessary after outrage among members who weren’t alerted to the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl trade for five Gitmo detainees.

He also said he hadn’t spoken to many in his party about if they would also support considering military airstrikes, but said he assumed many shared his point of view that the deteriorating situation in Iraq is a national security threat for the United States.

“The United States must carefully consider what actions we can take that are effective both short-term and long-term,” he said. “That is critically important for our own security and critically important obviously for Iraq but also for Syria.”