Pelosi: No need for Iraq vote yet

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Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday called on GOP leaders to launch a floor debate on the Obama administration's use of force against Islamic militants in Iraq. 

But the House minority leader stopped short of insisting that lawmakers vote on the issue, as some of her liberal troops are urging.

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"We shouldn't be silent about what our views might be, one way or another," she said during a press call. "Whether that takes the form of a vote … depends on what the president is doing, what he has informed us of, and whether we believe that there is a need for a vote.

"But the discussion of a need for a vote is an appropriate question for us to have," she added.

The comments arrive a day after a pair of liberal Democrats, Reps. James McGovern (Mass.) and Barbara Lee (Calif.), joined forces with GOP Rep. Walter Jones (N.C.) in urging Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to stage both a debate and a vote on the use-of-force question when Congress returns to Washington next month. [READ LETTER TO BOEHNER HERE.]

"We all share concerns about the Islamic State’s (IS) brutal tactics and further destabilization of the region.  And … we also all support the specific and limited mission to prevent potential genocide and protect U.S. personnel," the lawmakers wrote to Boehner. "But current military operations now underway in Iraq appear to be beyond the scope of these limited purposes and even greater expansion is under discussion. 

These are serious matters that require congressional debate and a vote on whether to authorize them."

Pelosi on Thursday emphasized that she believes Obama's response to this point has been authorized under current law but suggested an expansion of force would require congressional approval.  

"At some point is there a need for a vote?" she asked. "It depends on what the president is intending to do, and what duration, and for what purpose."