Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2015

Posts in "Syria"

July 6, 2015

Obama Ties Budget Veto Threat to National Security

Obama insisted soldiers would get paychecks despite his budget disputes with Congress. (Screenshot)

Obama insisted soldiers would get paychecks despite his budget disputes with Congress. (Screenshot)

President Barack Obama tied his veto threats on the budget to national security Monday, calling things such as education, research and other items key, over the long term, to the defense of the United States.

“Our men and women are going to get paid,” he said, saying soldiers haven’t missed a paycheck while he’s been president, even though he’s had plenty of wrangling with Congress.

Full story

June 8, 2015

Frustrated Obama Fights Courts, Congress, ISIS, Putin (Updated) (Video)

Frustrated Obama King v. Burwell Obamacare

Cassie Boyle, 8, and her sister Helena Roberts, 11, hold a picture of their father and grandmother, Hannah Brown, at a rally outside of the Supreme Court during March arguments in the King v. Burwell case. Brown died 1999 at age 58, and the family attributes her death to her lack of sufficient health insurance. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:25 p.m. | The “fourth quarter” of President Barack Obama’s presidency isn’t exactly going according to plan.

All of the president’s frustrations appeared on full display Monday at the conclusion of the G-7 summit in Germany — with Obama taking on the courts, Congress, the Islamic State terror group and Vladimir Putin. Full story

May 19, 2015

Despite Ramadi, White House Says ISIL Strategy a Success

Secretary of Defense Carter was set to brief Obama Tuesday afternoon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Secretary of Defense Carter was set to brief Obama Tuesday afternoon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite the takeover of the Iraqi city of Ramadi by the Islamic State terror group, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest contended Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s strategy to defeat the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has been a success.

Asked repeatedly Tuesday about the loss of the capital of the Sunni-dominated Anbar Province despite months of bombing from U.S. and coalition planes, Earnest instead said the president’s strategy, which relies on local forces on the ground, had succeeded in rolling back ISIS gains in Kobani, Syria, and the Mosul Dam, Sinjar Mountain, Tikrit and in other areas in Iraq.

Earnest said the loss of Ramadi was “an indication that Iraqi security forces need to retool their efforts,” but said “we’re optimistic” that together with American air power ISIS gains will be reversed.

As for the overall strategy, Jon Karl of ABC News asked if the president’s strategy was a success.

“Overall, yes,” Earnest said, although moreso than in recent days, he hinted changes could be coming.

He said Obama is “constantly” testing the strategy and asking his commanders about what can be done to improve the strategy. “Including today,” Earnest said.

Obama is set to meet with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter this afternoon.

Earnest also dismissed criticism from Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, who said earlier Tuesday that the president should start over with a new strategy and a new proposal for an Authorization to Use Military Force to take on the terror group.

Boehner, Earnest said, as well as other lawmakers in both parties had been “AWOL” on an AUMF against ISIL. He said Boehner has given “excuse after excuse” instead of doing his job and considering the AUMF.

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

May 14, 2015

Takeaways From Obama’s Press Conference

Warren and Obama have been trading barbs of late over trade. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Warren and Obama have been trading barbs of late over trade. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama says his fight with “Elizabeth,” as in Warren, has never been “personal.”

He’s happy the Senate is moving forward on his fast-track trade bill but wants to keep reaching out to opponents on the left.

Full story

October 14, 2014

White House Defends ISIS War: ‘This Strategy Is Succeeding’

Abandoned houses in the Syrian city of Kobani after fighting between Syrian Kurds and militants from Islamic State. (Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images)

Abandoned houses in the Syrian city of Kobani after fighting between Syrian Kurds and militants from Islamic State. (Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images)

Despite gains by ISIS in Syria and Iraq in the face of airstrikes, the White House insists President Barack Obama’s strategy to “destroy” the terrorist group remains on track.

“This strategy is succeeding,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters of the president’s fight against ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State. Earnest appeared to minimize the potential takeover of the Kurdish town of Kobani in Syria on the border with Turkey.

Earnest blamed the lack of ground forces in the fight for the possible plight of Kobani — even as he noted that Obama has ruled out putting American ground forces into the fight. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 1:30 p.m.
Iraq, ISIS, Syria

October 8, 2014

White House Concerned About Kobani, but Not Sending Ground Troops

Smoke rises following airstrikes in Kobani on Wednesday. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Smoke rises following Kobani airstrikes Wednesday. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama isn’t about to send in ground troops to save the Syrian town of Kobani from being overrun by ISIS.

That’s one takeaway from Wednesday’s briefing with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. The White House is “deeply concerned” about the town on the Syrian border with Turkey, but isn’t prepared to call it strategic and isn’t sure it will be able to hold out against the group, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State, despite stepped-up airstrikes by coalition forces.

“The United States is taking airstrikes to limit the ability of ISIL to encroach on this community. The fact remains, however, that the limitations that are in place, meaning just airstrikes, limits our capabilities in this region,” Earnest said.
Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 3:13 p.m.
Syria

September 23, 2014

Obama Touts Congressional Support for Syria Strikes (Video)

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/File Photo)

Obama said Tuesday he has congressional backing for the airstrikes in Syria. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/File Photo)

Congress ducked a Syria war authorization vote, but that isn’t stopping President Barack Obama from touting support for his airstrikes against the Islamic State and other terror groups in Syria.

“I’ve spoken to leaders in Congress, and I’m pleased that there’s bipartisan support for the actions that we’re taking,” Obama said Tuesday. “America’s always stronger when we stand united, and that unity sends a powerful message to the world that we will do what’s necessary to defend our country,” he said before heading to New York for meetings at the United Nations.

Obama touted the Arab coalition that joined in the strikes — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar.  Full story

Congress Reacts to Syria Airstrikes

The deal securing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release will be the subject of hearings in the House Armed Services Committee. Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., has said he believes Obama broke the law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McKeon and other congressional leaders praised the airstrikes in Syria. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congressional hawks are cheering the multifaceted overnight airstrikes in Syria that included attacks on Islamic State insurgents and an al Qaida offshoot called the Khorasan Group, while others are lamenting Congress’ decision to duck a war authorization vote.

“Our men and women in uniform are once again striking an enemy that threatens our freedom,” said House Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif.  “This is one step in what will be a long fight against ISIL. With strong coalition partners, a capable military, and a clear mission; it is a fight we can win.”

The Islamic State is also known as ISIL or ISIS.

“It is especially significant — indeed historic — that these strikes involve forces from Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates,” said Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich. “The visible, public involvement of Arab and Muslim nations is crucial to long-term success against ISIS. While Western military force can help combat the poisonous ideology of groups such as ISIS, ultimately it is up to Muslim nations to resist and eliminate this poison.”

Other lawmakers said the strikes should have been authorized by Congress, including Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., on MSNBC reiterated his push for Congress to act, but said he doesn’t expect Congress to return until after the elections.

So far, any opposition in Congress has been muted.

“To defeat ISIS, we must cut off the head of the snake, which exists in Syria,” said Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of House Homeland Security, in a statement.

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce of California called the strikes “long overdue.”

“While this initial attack will be a big psychological blow to the terrorist group, an air campaign will need to be major and sustained,” he said.

President Obama is scheduled to speak about the strikes in an address from the White House before he heads to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

The simultaneous strikes against the Khorasan Group, meanwhile, were taken to disrupt an “imminent attack.”

“The United States has also taken action to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests conducted by a network of seasoned al-Qa’ida veterans — sometimes referred to as the Khorasan Group — who have established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices and recruit Westerners to conduct operations,” Central Command said in a statement this morning.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Syrian regime was informed of the intent to strike by Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

“We warned Syria not to engage U.S. aircraft.  We did not request the regime’s permission.  We did not coordinate our actions with the Syrian government. We did not provide advance notification to the Syrians at a military level, or give any indication of our timing on specific targets,” she said.

John Donnelly contributed to this report.

 

Related:

Congressional Hawks Cheer Overnight Strikes in Syria

House Votes to Arm Syrian Rebels; CR Passes

Bipartisan Bloc Coalesces Behind CR, Syrian Rebels Amendment

McCarthy Suggests Post-Election Vote Authorizing Military Force

Path Forward on CR, Title 10 Authority Starts to Crystalize

Obama Asserts Authority to Take on ISIS Without Congress

Congress Locked in ISIS War Muddle

Inhofe: Obama Speech Prompts ‘Sigh of Relief’ From ISIS

Obama Speech Excerpt: We’re Going to (Air) War Against ISIS

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

September 12, 2014

How Obama Will Pay for His War (Video)

From left, Reps. Morgan Griffith, Adam Kinzinger and Kevin Cramer head to a briefing on Obama's ISIS news. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

From left, Reps. Morgan Griffith, Adam Kinzinger and Kevin Cramer head to a briefing on Obama’s ISIS news. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House doesn’t know yet how much the new war with ISIS will cost, but it knows how it will pay for it: the all-purpose war funding credit card.

Officially known as Overseas Contingency Operations, it’s the catchall account used to fund the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that is now funding the war against the group also known as the Islamic State or ISIL.

The White House is counting on OCO money in the pending continuing resolution to pay for President Barack Obama’s plan to go on offense against the group.

In a practical sense, a vote for the CR is a vote to fund Obama’s war, even though the words “ISIS” and “ISIL” do not appear anywhere in the text. In the draft House CR, it’s simply listed as funding for “Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism.”
Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 4:30 p.m.
Budget, Iraq, ISIS, Syria

September 11, 2014

Here’s Obama’s Legal Justification for ISIS War

(Mark Wilson/Getty Images News)

(Mark Wilson/Getty Images News)

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday laid out the administration’s legal argument for going to war against ISIS based on the 2001 authorization to use military force — even though the organization did not exist then and has publicly split with al-Qaida.

Earnest said the group, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State, was previously called al-Qaida in Iraq, consulted with Osama bin Laden and have similar ambitions.

“It is the view of … the Obama administration that the 2001 AUMF continues to apply to ISIL because of their decade-long relationship with al-Qaida, their continuing ties to al-Qaida; because … they have continued to employ the kind of heinous tactics that they previously employed when their name was al-Qaida in Iraq. And finally, because they continue to have the same kind of ambition — aspiration that they articulated under their previous name.” Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 3:55 p.m.
Iraq, ISIS, Syria

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...