If President Obama won’t act to defeat ISIS, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says, Congress might move to force his hand.
On Wednesday evening, McCarthy became the highest-ranking Republican elected official to suggest Congress might grant Obama new authority to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
McCarthy and other Republicans have hammered the president in recent days, after he said he didn’t have a military strategy to disrupt and defeat the terrorist group in Syria.
“I am of support of going in and not sitting back, but creating a strategy of where we go,” McCarthy said in a radio interview with guest host Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) on the “Hugh Hewitt Show.” “And if the president won’t act, I think we have to take some action to move forward.”
Some Republicans, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), have called on Congress to vote to give Obama authority to conduct a broader military campaign against ISIS, but GOP leaders haven’t yet committed.
Even McCarthy, the No. 2 Republican in leadership, suggested a formal vote by Congress was something the conference still needed “to discuss.” Four House committees will hold hearings on the ongoing threat from ISIS beginning next week.
There are still a number of outstanding questions, McCarthy said.
“[W]hat about the number of visas or passports? I mean, if they have a Western passport, they don’t have to get a visa,” he said. “They just get on a plane and come into the United States. I think we have to seriously look at everything that we’re doing.”
And McCarthy stressed the need for the commander in chief to outline a strategy on ISIS to avoid “535 foreign policy experts” in Congress “trying to run the military.”
“We have a problem because America’s not leading. We need a very clear, concise foreign policy doctrine of America,” McCarthy said. “Currently, our friends don’t trust us, and our enemies don’t fear us. That’s what’s going on in America today.”
— Updated at 11:53 a.m.