Kevin McCarthy on Islamic State: If Obama Won't Act, Republicans Will
New House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has stepped up on the threat of the Islamic State (IS), also referred to as ISIS, promising that if President Obama does not act, Republicans in Congress will.
“I think this is something we have to discuss,” McCarthy said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program on Wednesday with guest host Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) after Campbell played audio of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) calling for action. He added:
That’s why the four main committees are going to hold hearings when we first come back – Intel, which Mike Rogers is a part of, he’s the chairman of that, Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and Homeland, because Homeland, what is the threat? So many of these individuals, and we need to go even further than what Mike talks about, because what about the number of visas or passports? I mean, if they have a Western passport, they don’t have to get a visa. They just get on a plane and come into the United States. I think we have to seriously look at everything that we’re doing. This is a much more serious situation than we’ve ever had before. And I think Mike Rogers brought up a very good point. They don’t have borders, and so we’ve got to put our intel and look at places differently. I am of support of going in and not sitting back, but creating a strategy of where we go. And if the President won’t act, I think we have to take some action to move forward.
McCarthy said that the President’s public admission that there is no U.S. strategy for ISIS—and then his statement that America needs to make ISIS into a “manageable problem”—creates confusion worldwide that puts America at even more risk than it already is.
“I think we seriously have to look at different things that we’re going to give this President action for,” McCarthy said. “But the first and foremost, this President has to have a strategy. I mean, what is our foreign policy? I mean, I don’t know what it is. And if we don’t know what it is, our allies don’t know, and our enemies don’t know, so they’re pushing the envelope." McCarthy went on to say, "And look at what the President said today. He said we need to destroy ISIS. And then when they came back on, he said, well, no, no, not totally destroy, but just put them in a manageable position. He thinks they are a jayvee team.”
McCarthy’s bold position on ISIS comes as conservatives have been demanding some kind of action, with Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) planning to introduce military force authorization legislation and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) calling for America to “destroy” ISIS. It also comes as McCarthy has been carving out his role as Majority Leader in the wake of ex-leader, now-former Rep. Eric Cantor’s departure after Cantor’s defeat at the hands of Dave Brat. Cantor just took a job as a banking industry lobbyist—something for which both conservatives and liberals have criticized him.
McCarthy in the leader slot may end up helping the House leadership find an aggressive contrast to Obama and Senate Democrats’ visions for the nation after all, as this is now the second fight McCarthy is picking with the President. New House Majority Whip Steve Scalise tried to force the House to swallow a border crisis bill conservatives hated before breaking for August recess. This resulted in a last-minute cancellation of the vote, and Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN), among other conservatives, took over the bill rewriting process to come up with a deal that sent the Democrats into disarray over how it defunded the President’s executive amnesty for illegal alien minors. McCarthy then swooped in and helped the leadership reach out to conservatives, several conservative sources involved in the process have said.