News / USA

    Some US Lawmakers Seek Vote on Military Action Against Islamic State

    An Islamic State militant uses a loud-hailer to announce to residents of Tabqa city that Tabqa air base has fallen to Islamic State militants, in nearby Raqqa city, Syria, Aug. 24, 2014.
    An Islamic State militant uses a loud-hailer to announce to residents of Tabqa city that Tabqa air base has fallen to Islamic State militants, in nearby Raqqa city, Syria, Aug. 24, 2014.
    Cindy Saine

    President Barack Obama says members of Congress, who are not in session this month, will not be left out of any major decisions on U.S. policy toward the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria. Some lawmakers are calling for Congress to debate and hold a vote on any expanded military action when members return in September.

    A small but bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling for Congress to debate and vote on whether or not to authorize President Obama to expand U.S. military operations against Islamic State targets in Iraq, or perhaps even across the border in Syria. One of them is Republican Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina, who spoke to VOA on Friday.

    "You might know that I joined [Democratic Representatives] Jim McGovern and Barbara Lee in writing a letter to Speaker [John] Boehner asking him that we have a debate on the floor of the House and a resolution saying to the president that any expansion of our military in Iraq or any part of the country that he must come to Congress to ask for support," he said.

    The administration has already authorized surveillance flights over Syria, and some Republican lawmakers are calling on the president to come up with a comprehensive strategy to not just deter the Islamic State, but to defeat the Sunni extremist group before it threatens the U.S. homeland.

    Some Republicans seized on a comment the president made Thursday of not yet having a strategy to counter the Islamic militants, calling it worrisome. Obama explained that he is working out a strategy with his top military advisers and U.S. allies. He said congressional action would be premature at this point.

    "We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them," he said. "At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard.  But there’s no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done."

    The president signaled that Congress will have plenty of time to be involved when members return on September 8.  But since there are midterm congressional elections coming up in November, some members may be reluctant to cast a vote on more U.S. military action in the Middle East.
    Democratic Representative Kathy Castor says, "I don't have much faith that the GOP leadership in the House will actually have a debate, notwithstanding a vote."

    Congressman Jones said the U.S. Constitution requires Congress to authorize the use of the U.S. military and that Americans are weary of war after the years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    "Why in the world are we always trying to go into some other country and protect those people instead of protecting our own people?  I am not an isolationist, but I understand one thing, when we cannot secure our own borders then we got our problems right here in America," he said.

    President Obama said members of Congress will definitely need to be involved, with lawmakers needed to authorize funding for U.S. military strikes against the Islamic State.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mark from: Virginia
    August 30, 2014 3:31 PM
    Congressman Jones, whoever you are, I like your thinking. Someone in Congress does have the balls to say that aloud, after all... I've been wondering that for years, why ARE we always trying to protect people in other countries (when we don't even know if they WANT our protection) when we leave our own people here unprotected and insecure.
    I'm so sick of this country spending billions on foreign aid packages to feed people in other countries when millions of our own are starving. Money that is never accounted for, by the way. Who knows what the leaders of those 'impoverished' countries are doing with that money. Are those people being fed? or are pockets being lines by those leaders?

    I am an Isolationist-thinking individual, the last ten years have driven me to it. It would do us good to close our borders for a good long while and focus on the legal residents' needs. Trillions of dollars can be saved that way not funding foreign militias who will only turn their backs on us and start a ruckus elsewhere, that we will eventually have to send troops to eradicate.
    Imagine what a few billion dollars spent by Congress to aid America can truly do. Improved housing, even cheap housing for the homeless, increased jobs that Americans can work at (not illegals taking them over), truly affordable health care that does not bear the name of a President who is only interested in his 'legacy' anyway. Better training for law enforcement, better education for the future leaders of this great land. Just for thinking and focusing 'inside the box' (in this case, inside the borders).
    This country is going to hell in a hand basket right now. We need to start taking better care of our own and worry less about the fortunes of other countries' people. Let their countries' governments take care of their needs. It should not be our responsibility all the time.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora