International News & Foreign Policy: Sept. 12, 2014
House and Senate leaders are backing President Barack Obama’s call to train and equip Syrian rebels, but some Republicans want a broader offensive to defeat Islamic State extremists, a development that could delay congressional action. “We ought to give the president what he’s asking for,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. Still, he said that if the US goal is to eliminate Islamic State, “a lot of our members think a lot more needs to be done” than the president proposed. Some differences were also noted among Senate Democrats, with some saying they opposed Obama’s proposal to aid the Syrian rebels, while others who back the plan said they are wary of proposals to go further. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called for “immediate action” to grant Obama such authority. “I expect this proposal to pass Congress before the end of next week,” Reid said. Lawmakers must decide whether to attach the provision to a must-pass spending measure to keep the US government operating when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. Boehner said Republican leaders have not decided whether to combine the Syria and spending measures. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the chamber may vote on the spending measure, HJRes. 124, as soon as Sept. 16.