Washington, DC — Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s plan to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists. Today, Himes and all of his fellow House members received a classified briefing from top national security officials on ISIS.

The president gave a strong speech on the need for U.S. leadership to respond to ISIS, a brutal terrorist group that has absolutely no respect for human life, and this case was underscored during today’s briefing. If left unchecked, ISIS could destabilize key American allies and ultimately pose a direct threat to the United States. I support the president's plan to increase the tempo of airstrikes against ISIS with the condition that the United States will not engage in a ground war. This operation must involve a broad, international coalition that includes the meaningful participation of Arab states.

“I strongly believe that Congress should fully debate and vote on authorizing the escalation of U.S. intervention in the region. We need to have a serious conversation about questions the president’s speech did not raise, including the wisdom of training so-called moderate opposition forces in Syria. We cannot be drawn into an open-ended, sectarian conflict.

“On this 13th anniversary of 9/11, we also need to develop a strategy for eradicating the underlying conditions that allow ISIS and other terrorists groups with obscene ideologies to thrive so that we're not having this discussion on the 25th anniversary of 9/11.”