President Obama Can 'Bypass Congress' Over Iraq

US President Barack Obama had told Congressional leaders he does not need lawmakers' approval for any action in Iraq, the top Senate Republican says.

Senator Mitch Mc McConnell was speaking after a meeting between the president and senior members of Congress.

Iraq has asked for US air strikes against advancing Sunni militants.

Meanwhile US Vice-President Biden and Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki discussed possible "additional measures" by the US to assist Iraqi forces.

The two men considered ways "to roll back the terrorists' advances", a White House statement said.

On Wednesday Mr Obama met Congressional leaders at the White House to discuss the US response to recent advances by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant).

Speaking afterwards, Mr McConnell said the president had "indicated he didn't feel he had any need for authority from us for steps that he might take".

Correspondents say the White House has so far avoided the thorny question as to whether it needs Congressional authority for any military action in Iraq.

Last year the president did not seek consent for possible attacks against Syria, although he abandoned such a move once it became clear that Congress would not support it.

Earlier this month a number of lawmakers condemned the lack of congressional consultation over the release of army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban in Afghanistan in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Administration officials say the president may be able to act unilaterally in Iraq because its government has requested US air strikes against ISIS militants who have seized several key cities over the past week.

ISIS and their Sunni Muslim allies are also reported to be advancing in Diyala and Salahuddin provinces after they overran Iraq's second city, Mosul, last week.

(BBC)



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