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Congress Expected To Vote On President Obama's ISIS Plan

Does President Obama have support for military action in the Middle East, and does he need it?

Congress Expected To Vote On President Obama's ISIS Plan
Getty Images / Saul Loeb

President Obama said he has the authority to take action against ISIS, but there are parts of his newly laid-out strategy that actually do need congressional support. (Video via The White House)

PRESIDENT OBAMA VIA THE WHITE HOUSE: "This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our airpower and our support for partners' forces on the ground."

There isn't a whole lot of disagreement about his authorization on airstrikes, but there is uncertainty about arming Syrian rebels. 

The president seems to have the support of most on Capitol Hill to carry out his plan in general, including House Speaker John Boehner, who spoke Thursday. (Video via C-SPAN)

JOHN BOEHNER VIA CNN: "Somebody's boots have to be on the ground, so I do believe that what the president has asked for as the commander-in-chief is this authority to train these Syrian rebels, and frankly, we ought to give the president what he's asking for."

According to Politico, Boehner told a closed GOP meeting Thursday morning the president's plan was a good start, although there wasn't a complete consensus among Republicans. 

Where and how they would provide support is still up for debate, though. That's because while the president and his supporters want authorization attached to a spending bill Congress has to move on soon, Republicans, including the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, want Syrian rebel training considered separately.

The president had already authorized airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq before Wednesday night's speech, some of which helped Kurdish and Iraqi forces retake the Mosul and Haditha dams. (Video via U.S. Department of Defense)

A BuzzFeed article looked at how the president's rationale behind authorizing those attacks mirrored that of his predecessor, George W. Bush. "The most obvious precedent for Obama's claim of expansive [constitutional] power is a memo written nearly 13 years ago."

That memo stated that the president had the authority to preemptively strike against terrorist organizations without the specific authorization of Congress. 

But there are a couple reasons the president will need congressional authorization to equip and train Syrian troops.

First off, there's the question of funds for the training of those Syrian troops, which the president will need Congress to allocate. Then there's the question of how it looks to act with congressional backing. (Video via Euronews)

FORMER REP. LEE HAMILTON VIA MSNBC: "I always feel more comfortable if a president goes to the Congress and gets permission so you have a shared decision on the most important decision a government makes — whether to go to war or militarily intervene."

The Washington Post reports a vote on that issue is likely to come in the following days.