President Obama on Tuesday told congressional leaders he doesn't need legislative approval to pursue the military strategy against the Islamic State that he plans to outline to the nation on Wednesday night.
But, according to the White House, Obama also told the leaders that if Congress wants to show his support anyway, it can go right ahead.
The news came after the president gathered the top two congressional officials from each party in the Oval Office to brief them on his strategy to defeat ISIS, one day before he delivers his prime-time address.
The biggest question entering the meeting was whether Obama would seek a formal vote of authorization for his military campaign, as he did last year – unsuccessfully – when he wanted to launch missile strikes against the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.
This time around, Obama told lawmakers he doesn't need them to sign off, according to a White House readout of the meeting.
The president told the leaders that he has the authority he needs to take action against ISIL in accordance with the mission he will lay out in his address tomorrow night."
The leaders in attendance were House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Vice President Joe Biden also sat in.