Obama Pushing Congress For $5B Counterterrorism Fund
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Sep 8, 2014 Comments Off on Obama Pushing Congress For $5B Counterterrorism Fund Jack Flash

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Excerpted from The Hill: President Obama is pushing congressional leaders to authorize a broad counterterrorism relief fund that could be used to support operations against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria.

Doing so might allow the White House and congressional leaders to avoid a tough vote to either authorize or fund military action before the midterm elections and still achieve the “buy in” the president has said he wants from Congress.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest floated the $5 billion counterterrorism fund as something that “would strengthen the hand of this president and future presidents for dealing with urgent situations like this.”

Earnest offered comments Monday in response to questions about what Obama’s message would be to congressional leaders headed to the White House on Tuesday.

“This is a core component of the president’s strategy for dealing with this and other issues like it around the globe; that is, additional resources that can be used by the United States to build up effective partners so that when the United States has to confront threats like this, that we have well-trained, well-equipped, effective partners that we can work with to confront these problems,” Earnest said.

The White House cautioned that the president has not made a final decision on whether to expand military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). As a result, no final decisions have been made on how operations could be expanded.

Obama first called for the fund during his foreign policy address at West Point earlier this year, describing it as a way to bolster regional allies in fighting terror groups. Obama said the program would “extend our reach without sending U.S. troops to play Whac-a-Mole wherever there ends up being a problem in a particular country.”

“We’re not going to be able to be everywhere all the time,” he said. “But what we can do is to make sure that we are consistently helping to finance, train, advise military forces with partner countries, including Iraq, that have the capacity to maintain their own security.”

Obama is slated to meet Tuesday afternoon with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

The following day, Obama is to address the public on his plans for ISIS, which over the past month has executed two American journalists while threatening the United States.

Earnest sidestepped questions on whether the president could ask for separate emergency funding explicitly for operations against ISIS, saying he did not have “any sort of funding request to preview.”

“Unless we’re talking about a very specific order from the president, it’s hard to talk in very specific terms about what we want Congress to do,” Earnest said. “But as a general matter, what I can say is that the president is interested in their buy-in, is interested in a congressional debate, and is interested in consulting closely with the leaders in Congress so that they feel brought into this process and they feel like the partners that they actually are as the elected representatives of the American people.” Keep reading