Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, traveled over the weekend to Iraq and Afghanistan, where he met with military leaders and U.S. diplomats about terrorism and instability in the Middle East, his office announced Monday.
Cornyn met with U.S. Ambassador Michael McKinley and military leaders in Kabul, Afghanistan, "on the status of security efforts." He also met with Gen. John Nicholson, the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan and commander of the NATO mission overseeing Afghan security forces.
In Baghdad, Cornyn met with General Stephen Townsend, the commander of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq, U.S. Ambassador Stuart Jones and Iraqi government leaders, including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
"The prime minister provided Sen. Cornyn with an update on Iraq's political situation and ongoing efforts to liberate Mosul," according to a statement from Cornyn's office.
Cornyn also traveled to Erbil, which is considered part of the front line fight against the Islamic State. There, he met with Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani, his office said, "to learn about regional security challenges there, including the effort to combat ISIS in Iraq and Syria."
When Congress returns next week, lawmakers in the House and Senate must strike a deal on a $600 billion defense policy measure. The House version calls for an $18 billion boost in defense spending, which Republicans say is needed to combat Islamic State terrorism and instability in the Middle East.