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Obama to Ask Congress to Authorize Force Against Islamic State

President Barack Obama, joined by (L-R) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaks to the media after a meeting at the White House, Jan. 13, 2014.

The White House said Tuesday that President Barack Obama wants to work with Congress on a measure that would authorize him to use force against Islamic State militants.

A statement from the White House did not give details on the use-of-force measure. The U.S. is already leading an international coalition that is employing airstrikes against militants in Iraq and Syria.

Obama has said there would be "no boots on the ground" in Iraq, meaning that U.S. troops helping train Iraqis in fighting terrorism would not engage in combat.

The president met Tuesday with House and Senate leaders from both parties to talk about what the White House called a wide range of issues on which both parties could work together, including trade, tax law, national security, cybersecurity, government efficiency measures and the economy.

Obama said he hoped to work with the leaders "as a team" this year to pass key legislation, even as they continue to spar over several contentious issues.

With Republicans now controlling Congress, the party's top leaders, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, flanked Obama at the meeting. They have been critical of many of his policies.

Obama, a Democrat, told the lawmakers, "I'm hopeful that with a spirit of cooperation and putting America first, we can be in a position where at the end of this year, we will be able to look back and say we're that much better off than we were when we started the year."

The president noted, however, that "obviously there are disagreements around the table on a whole range of issues."

Obama's Republican opponents continue to attack national health care reforms that remain as the signature legislative achievement of his six years as president; his executive action to allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the United States; and his recent move to resume diplomatic relations with Cuba after a five-decade standoff.

Before the White House meeting, Boehner said the House would soon approve more funding for the country's Homeland Security agency, but he said it would include a provision to block Obama's effort to allow the undocumented migrants to remain in the United States.

It is not clear whether the Senate will also vote for the legislation, which the White House has promised to veto.

The president has also issued veto threats for Republican proposals to curb Wall Street regulations and approve construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline running from Canada through the central part of the U.S.

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