WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives should debate and vote on whether to authorize expanded military force in Iraq, U.S. Reps. Walter Jones, R-N.C., Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and James McGovern, D-Mass., wrote in a letter sent on Thursday to House Speaker John Boehner.
“The situation in Iraq is a grave one and before sending our uniformed men and women into danger we owe it to them and the people we represent to fully debate the matter and have a vote,” Jones said in a statement.
The letter asks for Boehner to bring a resolution up for debate and a vote when the House reconvenes the week of Sept. 8.
Jones, Lee and McGovern were the original backers of a resolution to prohibit the deployment of U.S. forces in a sustained combat role in Iraq without congressional authorization. It passed 370-40 on July 25.
From the letter, which Jones released:
“As you well know over the month of August, the number of U.S. military personnel deployed to Iraq has increased significantly, along with the number of military airstrikes. There is open discussion by the administration regarding the potential need to expand operations beyond Iraq into neighboring Syria.
“We all share concerns about the Islamic State’s (IS) brutal tactics and further destabilization of the region. And as became clear during our conversations last month, we also all support the specific and limited mission to prevent potential genocide and protect U.S. military personnel.
“But current military operations now underway in Iraq are beyond the scope of these limited purposes and even greater expansion is under discussion. These are serious matters that require congressional debate and a vote on whether to authorize them.”
The letter calls on Boehner to “clarify with the Department of Defense and the White House what scope of authorization might be required and to instruct the House Foreign Affairs Committee to draft an authorization for debate and vote once the House returns on September 8th.”