House Speaker John A. Boehner on Tuesday reiterated his support for President Obama’s request to arm and train Syrian rebels but said there’s more to be done to ultimately destroy the Islamic State terrorist group.
“I frankly think the president’s request is a sound one. I think there’s a lot more that we need to be doing, but there’s no reason for us not to do what the president asked us to do,” the Ohio Republican said.
The House is in the midst of prepping language on measures to fund the government past Sept. 30 and to equip and train a faction of Syrian rebels battling the Assad regime, the Islamic State and other Islamic militants.
Mr. Boehner added that if the ultimate goal is to destroy the terrorist group, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL, “we’ve got to do more than train a few folks in Syria and train a few folks in Iraq and dropping bombs.”
As for a broader Authorization for the Use of Military Force in the fight against the Islamic State, which some members of both parties have called for, Mr. Boehner said that typically, the White House would be the one to make a request to have Congress vote on such an authorization and the administration has not done so yet.
“This is an interim step to do what the president’s asked for, it does not preclude us from revisiting the issue of a broader use of military force,” Mr. Boehner said. “As you heard me say last week, I believe that it’s important, frankly, for the Congress to speak on this issue, and when we get to that point, we will.”
With regard to the ongoing airstrike campaign against the group, the White House has said the president can act under the authority given him by the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force that Congress approved to go after al Qaeda and affiliated terrorists in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.