By Keith Laing - 08/24/14 01:50 PM EDT
Republicans are pushing President Obama to clarify his plans for combating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) following the beheading of an American journalist last week.
“I get the sense that [Defense] Secretary [Chuck] Hagel and [Army] General [Martin] Dempsey understand the gravity of the situation. Candidly, … I don't want to hear from the president how he's reacting to events like the Mosul Dam,” the House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“What I want to hear from our commander-in-chief is that he has a strategy to finish ISIS off. To defeat ISIS,” Ryan said. “If we don't deal with this threat now thoroughly and convincingly, it's going to come home to roost.”
The former Republican vice presidential nominee was hardly the only GOP member to take to the airwaves to criticize Obama’s handling of ISIS on Sunday.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday called on Obama to expand U.S. airstrikes to Syria so the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) does not have a base of operation.
"There is no boundary between Syria and Iraq," McCain said on "Fox News Sunday." "One of the key decisions the president is going to have to make is airpower in Syria. We cannot give them a base of operations. And we have got to help the Free Syrian Army."
McCain said the recent beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS will hopefully work as a catalyst for the administration to define a comprehensive strategy in Iraq and other parts of the world. The United States has launched more than 90 airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS.
"This is an administration, which the kindest word I can use is 'feckless,' where they have not outlined a roles that the United States has to play. And that is a leadership role," he said.
“No more ‘leading from behind’, no more ‘don't do stupid stuff,’” he added.
Democrats were not as ready to call for military action in Syria in response to the ISIS threat.
“We have to begin with the assumption that they could be such a threat, then we have to evaluate what their capabilities are, what their intentions,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I don’t think we can simply dismiss [ISIS], but to jump from what they’ve done with this horrific incident with Mr. Foley to the idea that they would be an immediate threat to the homeland, I don’t think you jump to that,” he continued.
Republicans said the threat of an ISIS attack inside the U.S. was viable because the group has thousands of members who hold western passports.
"One of the problems is it’s going unabated for nearly two years, and that draws people from Britain, across Europe, even the United States to go and join the fight,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”
“They see that as a winning ideology, a winning strategy and they want to be apart of it, and that’s what makes it so dangerous,” he continued. “They are one plane ticket away from U.S. shores and that’s why we’re so concerned about it.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) agreed, calling Sunday for Obama to target ISIS leaders in Syria.
“It’s about time to assume the worst about these guys,” Graham during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “They’re not the JV team anymore, they’re the most prominent terrorist organization in the world.
“There’s no way you can solve the problem in Iraq without hitting them in Syria,” the South Carolina Republican said.