Obama to meet with congressional leaders on Iraq

 

McClatchy Washington Bureau

As his national security team considers his options -- and insurgents move closer to Baghdad, President Barack Obama will host congressional leaders at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the situation.

Those attending will include Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, a White House official said.

The White House billed the meeting as part of Obama's "ongoing consultations with congressional leadership on foreign policy issues, including the situation in Iraq."

A spokesman for Boehner said he expects the president to offer "a coherent strategy to ensure that Iraq does not descend further into lawless barbarism.

"We spent years, vast sums of money and most importantly -- thousands of American lives to improve Iraq's security and make America safer," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. "Squandering that legacy would be a tragic mistake."

Obama has asked his national security team for a “range of options” on Iraq and that effort continues, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

“The national security team is preparing options that are part of a comprehensive strategy -- because we have been clear, the president has been clear, that this is not primarily a military challenge,” Carney said. “It is evident that Iraq needs significantly more help to break the momentum of extremist groups and to bolster the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces.”

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