“It’s not just Iraq. It’s Libya. It’s Egypt. It’s Syria. The spread of terrorism has increased exponentially under this president’s leadership,” Boehner said. “After the last election, I said that I hoped the president would seize this moment and take the lead, and here we are a year and a half later. You look at this presidency, and you can’t help but get the sense that the wheels are coming off.”
After suggesting last week that the president was “taking a nap” on Iraq, Boehner said he “heard a little bit” about the president’s strategy on Iraq at an Oval Office meeting with Congressional leaders Wednesday. But he complained that the White House “has known for months” about the situation in Iraq and called on Obama to outline a broader strategy that would quell the spread of violence throughout the Middle East.
“With terrorists marching toward Baghdad, we’ve asked the president for a strategy to reverse the momentum and spread of terrorism,” he said. “Until we know what the overall strategy is, we don’t know what could be effective in reducing this violence.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who also attended Wednesday’s White House meeting, said she does not believe President Obama needs to seek Congressional authorization to launch airstrikes in Iraq.
“I said this to the president and the group that a president does not need any additional congressional authority to act upon measures to protect our national security,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “I didn’t want that to be misinterpreted any support for boots on the ground, however.”
“The president said his lawyers are looking at the authorities and the rest, with my hope that they would conclude that no congressional action was necessary,” she added.
Pelosi refused to speculate whether she believes Obama would get Congressional authorization if he sought it.
“What [President Obama] did was he said that he would hope that whatever actions our country took would have strong congressional support,” she said. “The president’s consulting with Congress, hoping to build support. I don’t know than any of the leaders there — I didn’t hear any of them demanding congressional action. That was certainly not the case.”