Report: Obama to Ask for Billions to Fight IS

President’s address will give a broad outline of his strategy without providing details of how much it would cost or how long it would last.

Arutz Sheva,

F-15E Strike Eagle
F-15E Strike Eagle
USAF Photo

President Barack Obama is preparing to ask Congress to pay for a multibillion-dollar plan to expand the military campaign against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants, an unnamed administration official told the Wall Street Journal / Live Mint website.

While the proposal hasn’t been made final and the total amount is still being calculated, it will likely be “in the billions of dollars,” reports the site, as Pentagon officials develop options for the president. Obama is scheduled to deliver a televised address to the nation at 9 p.m. Washington time on Wednesday to lay out his strategy to defeat the brutal group Islamic State, which has captured swaths of Syria and Iraq.

The administration has been under pressure from lawmakers to articulate a plan for dealing with IS, which has carried out a campaign of terror, including beheading two American journalists. The US has conducted more than 150 air strikes inside Iraq to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces roll back some of the Islamic State gains, according to the Pentagon.

In preparation for his speech, Obama met at the White House Wednesday afternoon with House speaker John Boehner, House democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate majority leader Harry Reid and Senate republican leader Mitch McConnell. The discussion, which lasted more than an hour, gave Obama a chance to preview his thinking and gauge congressional reaction.

Obama has said that he has the "legal authority" to order US airstrikes on IS forces in Syria, according to sources present at a dinner with foreign policy experts at the White House on Monday.

Obama "thinks he has the legal authority he needs” to expand action in Iraq and Syria under the War Powers Act, according to Jane Harman, the president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, who told the Washington Post about the dinner.

Another attendee of the dinner, former undersecretary of defense for policy Michèle Flournoy, told the paper Obama said he is committed to striking IS "wherever their strategic targets are."