Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Congressional Delegation Leery of Obama's Request for Vote on War against Islamic State

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Congressional Delegation Leery of Obama's Request for Vote on War against Islamic State

Article excerpt

A day after President Barack Obama called on Congress to authorize further military action against the Islamic State, most members of the Kansas congressional delegation declined to say how they would vote.

"If Congress believes, as I do, that we are at war with ISIL, it should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists," Obama said Sunday night in a primetime speech from the Oval Office.

"I think it's time for Congress to vote to demonstrate that the American people are united, and committed, to this fight," he added.

When asked Monday how Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins would vote on an authorization for the use of military force, Jenkins spokesman Michael Byerly only said the congresswoman would review such legislation.

"Once legislation is offered (or) introduced in the House, Congresswoman Jenkins will be sure to carefully review it while listening to Kansans' thoughts," Byerly said.

Sen. Jerry Moran's office said Monday it would be premature to announce how he would vote on such an authorization before knowing the details of the legislation. Moran, a freshman Republican senator, believes Congress has a constitutional obligation to debate the use of military force, his office said. Spokespersons for Sen. Pat Roberts didn't respond to a request for comment Monday.

Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who represents western Kansas, said in an email he wouldn't approve an authorization until he sees a "clear strategy" for defeating IS from the president.

"Until Obama actually has a plan to defeat ISIS, secure America's borders, and keep terrorists out of this nation - which would be outlined in any serious request - I will not vote to authorize this president to take Fort Riley, and any other troops, to war," Huelskamp said.

The White House has largely defended its use of thousands of airstrikes and special operations missions against IS targets amid calls from some hardline Republicans for an influx of ground troops into the Middle East. On Sunday, Obama said the U.S. "should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq and Syria. …

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