By Martin Matishak - 08/20/14 04:00 PM EDT
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday urged the Obama administration to step up its airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“I do believe that probably more of a robust air campaign is called for,” Ryan, a potential 2016 presidential contender, said during an interview with Bloomberg Television.
Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, is seen as a potential 2016 contender.
His comments came a day after ISIS fighters released a video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley. The extremists also threatened to slay another kidnapped American journalist, unless the White House ceased its air campaign against ISIS.
President Obama has approved airstrikes against ISIS to help a persecuted religious sect and to aid local forces to retake Mosul Dam.
Obama on Wednesday paid tribute to Foley and vowed that the U.S. would remain “vigilant” and “relentless” in protecting Americans abroad.
Ryan made his comments hours before The Associated Press reported that U.S. officials are considering sending around 300 more troops to Iraq, which could bring the total number of soldiers there to more than 1,000.
Ryan criticized the Obama administration for failing to secure a status of forces agreement with Baghdad that would have allowed a U.S. troop presence to remain in the country.
“We don't want to repeat those same mistakes that we made in Iraq in Afghanistan,” Ryan said, referring to President Obama’s plan to begin drawing down troops there next year.
Ryan also slammed the president’s handling of the war in Syria, where ISIS first gained a foothold fighting against President Bashar Assad’s regime.
“Early in the Syrian conflict, it was much easier to separate the good guys from the bad guys,” Ryan said. “That’s become a little less clear.
"But I do believe more can be done in Syria, and I think the administration made some fundamental mistakes there,” he added.