Members of Congress Press for ISIS Plans Following Sotloff Murder

Following the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff, Members of Congress pressed the Obama Administration for additional information on how President Barack Obama intends to responds to the terrorist group Islamic State (IS or ISIS/ISIL). According to The Hill, Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio said, “It’s his responsibility as the chief executive to outline a plan that will protect American interest, protect American lives both at home and abroad”. The Speaker also said, “the Congress has very few options ahead of it”, before the President releases his strategy. The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce of California, said, “We are scheduling a hearing upon our return and requesting the secretary of state to present a plan, a strategy focused on rolling back ISIS, defeating ISIS through the use of airstrikes and the support of those with common interests”, adding that he also thought the Congress would vote on the Administration’s plan. Ranking Member Eliot Engel, the Committee’s Democratic Ranking Member, likewise said, “Congress needs to play a vital role and we are determined that the House Foreign Affairs Committee will lead the way”.

Speaking with reporters yesterday in Estonia, President Obama acknowledged Congress, saying, “It is very important from my perspective that when we send our pilots in to do a job, that we know that this is a mission that’s going to work, that we’re very clear on what our objectives are, what our targets are; we’ve made the case to Congress and we’ve made the case to the American people”.

Although President Obama has not yet formally laid a plan before Congress, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida has already pledged to introduce legislation to authorize attacks on ISIS in Syria. According to Roll Call reporter Humberto Sanchez, “some policy experts have questioned whether the administration has the clear legal authority—independent of Congress—to broaden the air campaign to strike targets in Syria.”  The legislation “will ensure there’s no question that the president has the legal authority he needs to use airstrikes in Syria,” Nelson said. He plans to introduce such legislation next week when Congress returns from its August recess.

The Hill: Boehner: Congress Limited Until Obama Outlines ISIS Strategy

The Daily Beast: After Steven Sotloff Murder, Congress Demands a Vote on Obama’s ISIS War

The White House: Remarks by President Obama and President Ilves of Estonia in Joint Press Conference

Politico: Bill Nelson to Office ISIL Legislation

Roll Call: Senate Democrat Proposes Authorization to Strike ISIS in Syria

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