WH: 'Absolutely' no plan to deploy ground troops

President Obama remains "absolutely" committed to not putting boots on the ground in Iraq, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday.

His comments came only a day after Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryOvernight Energy: Michigan reps reintroduce measure for national 'forever chemicals' standard |  White House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill Kerry to visit China ahead of White House climate summit CO2 tax support is based in myth: Taxing essential energy harms more than it helps MORE asked lawmakers to allow for the possibility of deploying combat troops in a new authorization for using military force.


Earnest said Kerry had made the request because it was "impossible for us to imagine all of the contingencies that could occur" in the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The administration, though, wants to preserve the possibility of carrying out targeted raids against terrorist targets and was not contemplating a return of ground troops to fight the terror network, Earnest added.

The White House spokesman noted that earlier this summer, Obama ordered special forces to go into Syria to try to rescue American hostages.

"If we were to include in the [authorization for use of military force] a provision banning the use of combat troops, the president’s hands would be tied, and he wouldn’t be able to order a mission like that," Earnest said. "And that is what we’re seeking to avoid."

The White House has asked Congress to overhaul existing legislation, passed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which allows the president to order action against al Qaeda and others responsible or in support.

Some lawmakers have questioned whether the legislation gives Obama authority to attack ISIS — which grew out of, but ultimately separated from al Qaeda. The president has previously said he wanted to repeal the post-9/11 authorities.