The situation in Iraq, with Islamic militants battling the Iraqi security forces, is now prompting action from Washington. President Obama announced Thursday he is not sending American combat troops to fight in Iraq again. The president said Iraqi leaders must solve their country's problems. He did, however, commit to sending about 300 advisers to support and train Iraqi security forces. The administration said preventing civil war in Iraq is in the national interest of the United States.
"Iraq, in our country and in other places in the world, has long been hotly debated with contrasting views from many different quarters," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday. "But two things are crystal clear: this is no time for that debate and it is not the time for a war about the war."
Some Congressional Republicans are urging Obama to launch airstrikes to weaken ISIS.
House republicans elected Kevin McCarthy as Majority Leader Thursday. The California Republican defeated Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador for the number two position in the chamber. The Majority Leader is responsible for the day-to-day running of the House and decides which bills come to the floor for a vote. McCarthy has served as House Majority Whip since 2011. He will assume his new role in July, when current Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia will officially step down.
President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Marine Corps veteran William "Kyle" Carpenter at the White House Thursday afternoon. In November 2010 in Afghanistan, Carpenter jumped on a live grenade during a firefight with the Taliban. He lost his right eye, most of his jaw and suffers from a collapsed lung. Carpenter was briefly declared dead by medics but was revived. Since then, Carpenter has run a marathon, gone skydiving, and is now a student at the University of South Carolina.
At the General Motors hearing today, families of 13 victims posted pictures of their dead loved ones in the hearing room. House Energy and Commerce Committee members heard about the dysfunctional culture at GM that allowed a defective ignition switch to remain in production for 10 years. GM termed the ignition problems, a "convenience matter." The company has fired 15 senior managers, and hired 35 safety investigators. But this case isn't over. GM faces a $35 million fine, and a new compensation fund for victims families and many lawsuits await.
In World Cup news, the U.S. Men's soccer team is gearing up to take on Portugal, and one of the best male soccer players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. The team is still enjoying the 2-to-1 win over Ghana on Monday but are practicing for the next game against Portugal scheduled for Sunday. U.S. striker Jozy Altidore will not be playing in the match after he strained his left hamstring during the game against Ghana.