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Congressman Ken Buck

Representing the 4th District of Colorado

GOP lawmakers: It’s Obama’s job to plan fight against ISIS

February 12, 2015
In The News

Colorado’s Republican lawmakers said it’s President Barack Obama’s job to lead the war against the Islamic State and kept their distance Wednesday from a White House request that Congress formally approve more military action there.

Obama is asking lawmakers for a three-year authorization to ramp up the use of U.S. special forces, air strikes and limited ground operations against ISIS.

Newly elected Sen. Cory Gardner said Obama was right to ask Congress for authority, but he pushed the ultimate responsibility for the fight back to the White House.

“Coloradans and Americans deserve to have the administration lay out a clear overall strategy to defeat ISIS,” Gardner said in a statement.

“The president must provide the kind of leadership on the issue that only our commander-in-chief can, and make a clear, compelling case for his plan.”

Rep. Scott Tipton said Obama’s call for a three-year effort — authorizing special-operations troops, search and rescue missions, air strikes and short-term ground operations — wasn’t detailed enough.

“He’s talking about air strikes and more local participation (from Arab allies) but we’re not seeing a real plan,” said Tipton, who represents Pueblo and the 3rd Congressional District.

Tipton — like both Democrats and Republicans — said he doesn’t want to give Obama a “blank check” to simply ramp up the U.S. war effort.

But Tipton wouldn’t say what action the U.S. should take against ISIS. Like Gardner, he said that’s Obama’s job.

“He’s the commander-in-chief,” Tipton said. “We don’t want 535 members of Congress trying to lay out the best plan of action.”

Tipton said Obama was wrong to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq but he didn’t want to say if those Army brigades needed to be redeployed.

“I’m going to defer to the military,” he said.

Rep. Ken Buck, who represents the 4th Congressional District, said he wanted to see “clearly defined limits and goals” in any authorization approved by Congress.

Lawmakers pointed to the recent death of hostage Kayla Mueller and other Americans held hostage by ISIS as proof the Islamic jihadist group is a danger to all Americans.

But that was mixed with calls that Congress limit White House authority.

“I won’t give this president or any other a blank check to engage in unending and poorly defined wars,” Buck said.

But even Democratic lawmakers said they wanted to hear more details of the Obama plan.

“Coloradans are rightfully concerned about sending our troops into another conflict,” Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet said in his statement.