Politics & Government

Lawmakers unsure how to proceed on ISIS strategy

Sentiment was growing Tuesday for some sort of congressional action on U.S. policy toward ISIS, though leaders remained reluctant to commit to any formal debate or vote.

"I very much favor a unified position by Congress to support a strong position—(and)I believe the president will enunciate one—against ISIL," said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich.

"It’s important that we join together, Democrats and Republicans, as a Congress to support the strong position by the president," he said.

Levin would not detail what sort of action would be necessary, and thought the administration did not need authorization for air strikes.

Like most lawmakers, he wanted to see what Obama proposes before discussing details. Until then, he said, "I think it’s a mistake to get involved in procedures. The issue is will Congress be able to come together to support a strong position by the president. "

Lawmakers spoke before leaders were to meet Tuesday afternoon with President Barack Obama. It remained unclear what if anything would happen next in Congress.

"Until we know what the strategy is, we don’t know what’s going to be involved," said House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. "And so it’s critically important that we take these in some organized steps. And the first step is, what’s the plan?"

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, was also noncommittal, saying "I'm inclined to not rush into anything."

Many Republicans tended to be pushing hard for congressional action.

"I think the view of myself and most of my members is the president should be seeking congressional approval, period, for whatever he decides to do. Because that's the way you hear from those of us who represent everyone in the country," said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.