WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- The House of Representatives is expected to vote to arm Syrian rebels to help combat Islamic State militants, a rare instance in which Republicans are more supportive of President Obama's plan than Democrats.
Lawmakers will vote Wednesday on a measure to attach an amendment to the spending bill that will keep the government running into December, and Republican leaders have signaled their willingness to back the plan.
"I think there's a lot more that we need to be doing, but there's no reason for us not to do what the president asked us to do," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.
The amendment, from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., will authorize the training and equipment of Syrian fighters to combat IS.
At hearings around the Hill this week, it was clear much of the support was in response to fear that IS was the next al-Qaida and posing a threat to the U.S.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, said he supported both training the Syrians and continuing the air strikes in Iraq, as well as expanding air strikes to Syria.
"We must consider all instruments of national power to roll back and defeat these fanatics now and destroy them wherever they emerge," he said Wednesday. "Or, if we don't take the fight to the enemy overseas, we risk having to fight them here at home."
McCaul criticized the Obama administration for waiting until the beheading of two American journalists to "wake up" to the threat of IS.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the IS does not yet pose a threat directly to U.S. soil, although he did not shy from outlining the danger to Americans traveling abroad.
"Though we know of no credible information that ISIL is planning to attack the homeland at present, we know that ISIL is prepared to kill innocent Americans they encounter because they are Americans -- in a public and depraved manner," he told the committee.
"These groups are in competition with one another for attention, fundraising, and recruitment. And one way to compete is to show that you're the biggest and baddest group out there," Johnson said
"The logic is compelling," FBI Director James Comey agreed. "You're not going to be the leader of the global jihad without striking America."