At White House, Hoyer Says He Expects Afghan Decision in ‘Weeks’

Posted October 6, 2009 at 4:19pm

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday said President Barack Obama intends to move in a “timely fashion— in deciding on his strategy for waging the war in Afghanistan. Hoyer, who spoke to reporters following a White House meeting on Afghanistan between Obama and bicameral, bipartisan Congressional leaders and committee chairmen, said he expected a decision in “weeks, not months.—

The White House has been insisting that Obama will not be rushed into making his decision, drawing some concern among proponents of adding more troops that he will wait too long while the military situation deteriorates. But the pace of consideration has picked up in recent days, with Obama holding a series of meetings with his national security advisers and with more sessions scheduled for this week.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) emerged from the session expressing satisfaction with Obama’s process of mulling the matter but noting that the House would not rubber-stamp his decision.

“Let me just say where there was agreement that it’s a difficult decision for the president to make, that we all respected that he was looking into every aspect of this,— Pelosi said.

“Whether we agreed with it or voted for it remains to be seen, when we see what the president put forth,— she added. “But I think there was a real display of universal respect for the manner in which he was approaching it.—

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), also appearing before reporters, initially suggested that lawmakers would line up behind the president, no matter what he decided.

“The one thing that I think was interesting is that everyone, Democrats and Republicans, said whatever decision you make, we’ll support it basically,— Reid said.

But Reid quickly backtracked, indicating he meant to say that Republicans had stated that they would support whatever decision the president made. Reid suggested this meant the GOP should not interfere with any upcoming war supplemental request.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) indicated this was not the case. “I think the Republicans will be able to make the decision for themselves,— McConnell said.