Obama to meet Wednesday with congressional leaders about Iraq

June 17, 2014

President Obama during a visit to TechShop in Pittsburgh, Pa., on June 17.  (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

President Obama plans to meet with top congressional leaders Wednesday to discuss the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Iraq.

The White House said in a statement that it has invited the top four leaders of the House and Senate to attend the meeting. Aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said their bosses plan to attend.

Boehner's aides said in a statement that the speaker "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. Squandering that legacy would be a tragic mistake."

McConnell told reporters Tuesday that he's "anxious to see what plan he may have, given where we are." He added that he hoped that the current violence in Iraq might prompt Obama to reverse his decision to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan. "We know that if we don't leave behind a deployment that the military has recommended in Afghanistan of roughly 10,000 troops for counterterrorism purposes and training purposes, we are likely to see the same kind of meltdown in Afghanistan that we've seen in Iraq. So I hope the president, at least looking to the future, has learned something from this and will reverse his decision to leave Afghanistan entirely."

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.
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