U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration is dispatching senior intelligence officials and Secretary of State John Kerry to brief members of Congress and staff about the Islamic State militant group in the coming weeks, congressional aides said on Thursday.
Kerry will testify to members of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee during the week of Sept. 15, an aide said.
And officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center will brief congressional staff on Friday, before Congress returns on Monday from its August recess.
Some lawmakers have contended that Obama should seek congressional authorization for airstrikes in Iraq against the Sunni militants. However, it is not clear whether such a vote would take place this month or whether he needs Congress to approve the limited actions already under way.
The rise of the Islamic State is expected to be an issue in campaigning for the Nov. 4 congressional elections.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a memo to fellow Republicans on Thursday that the Obama administration had been “too passive” in allowing militants to gain strength.
Signaling Republican intentions to use accusations of Democrats’ mismanagement over Iraq and Syria as a campaign issue, he chided the administration over a U.S. Forest Service article on roasting marshmallows with healthier ingredients such as fruit instead of chocolate.
“For the things that government is supposed to do – like confront terrorist groups – we don’t have a strategy, but for things Americans are supposed to be able to do for themselves – like figuring out the best ingredients for s’mores – government bureaucrats have that figured out,” McCarthy said.