The White House on Friday said it is concerned that a Senate measure on the use of force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) would tie the president’s hands, including restrictions on the deployment of ground troops.
The legislation, which cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committeee in a 10-8 vote with majority Democratic support, would not allow ground combat operations, except to protect or rescue U.S. soldiers and citizens. It also includes provisions allowing American troops to conduct intelligence operations, provide advice and assistance, or coordinate airstrikes from the ground.
Press secretary Josh Earnest described the language as “limiting the flexibility of the commander in chief in a way that we wouldn’t support.”
Earnest said President Obama does “not foresee a scenario and does not support sending ground troops in a combat role into Iraq or in Syria,” but that he wanted to preserve that ability in case of emergency. Earnest cited a special forces raid earlier this year in Syria in an attempt to free American hostages held by ISIS.