The Senate’s top Republican says he’s not headed to a White House meeting Wednesday with recommendations on how to deal with the Iraq situation, but that the crisis bolsters the argument that U.S. troops are still needed in Afghanistan.
McConnell, along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, will head to the White House to meet with President Obama “as part of his ongoing consultations with congressional leadership on foreign policy issues, including the situation in Iraq,” according to a White House official.
“I’m anxious to see what plan he may have, given where we are, but it certainly underscores the significance of the president reversing the decision he previously indicated he had made for us to leave Afghanistan entirely,” McConnell said Tuesday. “We know that if we don’t leave behind a deployment that the military recommended in Afghanistan, roughly 10,000 troops, for counterterrorism purposes and training purposes, we’re likely to see the same kind of meltdown in Afghanistan that we’ve seen in Iraq.”
Hawkish Republicans have been quick to cast blame for the crisis in Iraq squarely on the Obama administration for agreeing in 2011 to withdraw American troops.
The winding down of America’s war in Afghanistan will take place over the next two years. Nearly 10,000 troops will remain in Afghanistan through the end of this year, but that force will be reduced by half by the end of 2015. The plan now is that by the end of Obama’s term, the U.S. presence in Afghanistan will resemble that of Iraq, with normal embassy operations and a security assistance office in the capital city.
The White House has already announced it’s dispatching up to 275 military personnel to protect the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. Some lawmakers have expressed concern that Congress should be consulted ahead of any military action.
When asked if the president needs congressional approval for military air strikes, Reid said, “In my opinion, I don’t think they need any any more authority than they already have to do what they need to do.”
What We're Following See More »
"A lawyer representing Chris Gard and Connie Yates told the High Court 'time had run out' for the baby. Mr. Gard said it meant his 'sweet, gorgeous, innocent little boy' will not reach his first birthday on 4 August. 'To let our beautiful little Charlie go' is 'the hardest thing we'll ever have to do,' his mother said. Charlie's parents said they made the decision because a US doctor had told them it was now too late to give Charlie nucleoside therapy.
"Eleven states have sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its June decision to delay implementation of a chemical safety rule" until 2019. "The state attorneys general, led by New York’s Eric Schneiderman (D), argue the rule is important for 'protecting our workers, first-responders and communities from chemical accidents' and should be allowed to take affect as planned by the Obama administration’s EPA.
"House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) on Monday said that funding for President Trump's controversial border wall is unlikely to cause a government shutdown. 'The odds of a government shutdown are very minimal when it comes to that,' the conservative lawmaker said at an event in Washington, D.C. 'I do think the funding of the border wall will happen,' he added. Appropriators have set aside $1.6 billion to fund new wall and fencing sections on parts of the U.S.-Mexico border covering a few dozen miles."