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Obama to meet with congressional leaders on Iraq on Wednesday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, said on Tuesday that President Barack Obama had invited the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives to the White House on Wednesday for a meeting on Iraq.

He told reporters at the Capitol that he, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi had been invited.

A White House official confirmed the meeting, describing it as part of Obama's "ongoing consultations" with congressional leaders on foreign policy issues, including Iraq.

The Republican lawmakers said they hoped Obama would spell out a plan for Iraq.

"We spent years, vast sums of money, and - most importantly - thousands of American lives to improve Iraq’s security and make America safer. Squandering that legacy would be a tragic mistake," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner.

Obama administration officials have been holding a series of classified briefings for members of Congress about the situation in Iraq as they finalize a strategy for dealing with the crisis there.

But congressional leaders noted that Obama is not legally required to obtain permission from Congress before taking action.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton.; Editing by Eric Beech and Ken Wills)

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