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Obama tells leaders Iraq plan won't need congressional OK

Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi met with President Obama at the White House Wednesday to discuss a plan of action in Iraq.
By Gabrielle Levy   |   June 18, 2014 at 7:07 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, June 18 (UPI) -- President Obama promised congressional leaders he would keep them informed of his plans for action in Iraq, but said he did not foresee a need to ask for authorization from Congress.

Obama met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for about an hour at the White House Wednesday afternoon.

"We had a good discussion," said McConnell, R-Ky., upon returning to the Capitol. "The president basically just briefed us on the situation in Iraq and indicated he didn't feel he had any need for authority from us for the steps that he might take and indicated he would keep us posted."

Pelosi, D-Calif., agreed, adding that she thought the the existing authorizations for use of military force, passed after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and in 2002 to use force in Iraq , would be sufficient to cover any action the president might take.

"All of the authorities are there," she said. "That doesn't mean I want all of them to be used, especially boots on the ground. But I definitely think the president has all of the authority he needs by dint of legislation that was passed in 2001 and 2003."

Reid said it was "a good meeting."

"Everybody seemed satisfied," Reid said. "The president is going to keep us as informed as he can as the process moves forward."

The president is still weighing action in Iraq, which asked for U.S. assistance in launching air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist organization that has taken over significant portions of the country.

At his final briefing as White House press secretary, Jay Carney would only say of congressional authorization: "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, if we come to it."

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