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Washington, D.C. – Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke today in support of the amendment authored by Chairman Buck McKeon (CA-25) that takes the first steps toward destroying ISIL:

“Madame Speaker, we face an enemy who poses a grave and growing threat to the United States and our allies—a threat that has been ignored for too long and  must no longer be tolerated. I know that many of us in the Chamber, from both sides of the aisle, believe the President’s strategy should do more to eradicate these extremists from the earth.

 “But despite those reservations—reservations that I share—we must support this amendment and take this first step towards a comprehensive strategy to combat these brutal terrorists. Voting against this request would send a terrible message that America is unwilling to stand with those who are already fighting a common enemy, and confirm the views of many in the region that America is but a paper tiger.

 “I am not convinced this train and equip effort will change the balance of power on the ground any time soon, and I believe this approach comes with great risks.  I am also concerned that air strikes alone will be insufficient to meet the international threat posed by these terrorists. 

“Congress must maintain a central role.  We must conduct oversight to ensure this program is managed effectively. Under the Leadership of Chairman McKeon, we have taken the President’s original request and have added substantial oversight provisions to ensure this program is properly and carefully managed. Congress must also push the President to craft a comprehensive strategy that recognizes the inescapable reality that ISIL is but a symptom of a broader terrorist threat.  

“Preventing the next 9/11 requires us to confront the reality that al-Qaeda, ISIL, and similar radical terrorist groups are spreading, operating out of sanctuaries across the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.  These groups pose a grave and growing threat to the United States. A strategy cannot ignore these growing dangers.

“A president who has made ending the war on terrorism the central focus of his foreign policy must now change. He must now make winning the war a priority.

“The Congress will need to push the President and his Administration to do this right, to confront America’s enemies, and to restore America’s alliances, strength, and credibility. But this institution will be in no position to do that if we block his simple request today. Congress must now vote to support the first steps of what will be a long march toward that victory.”