Pelosi: Congress should return and debate military action

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) MCT

Nancy Pelosi wants Congress to debate and vote on authorizing President Barack Obama to wage war against terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

“There's a conversation among members informally about what form an authorization should take that would secure our national security interests, as well as could pass in both houses of Congress,” the House Democratic Leader told a Capitol news conference Wednesday.

“These conversations should be from the informal to the official. When this Congress comes back into session in November, it is important that we are here -- we are ready to debate and vote on such an authorization between then and now. We should be prepared.”

The White House has said it has the authority to conduct airstrikes against terrorists in Syria. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said earlier this week that he would be willing to have a vote on a formal authorization if Obama requested it.

Pelosi discussed Congress’ role in a broader context. “If you want to define an authorization...authority that you're giving the president, you don't wait for the president to write it. Congress writes it because we are asserting our willingness to vote for a plan of action,” she said.

A more specific, extensive authorization, she said, “has to spring from Congress. Congress has to vote on it, and it defines how we would limit the power of the president, or not, but it's our decision. It's not the president's decision.”

Congress is not scheduled to return to Washington until mid-November. “I think we should never have left. I think we should stay to debate and discuss what we would do to degrade and destroy ISIS,” Pelosi said.