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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Carl Levin’

Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks Letter

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks LetteTwenty-three Democratic senators signed a letter to President Obama on the Iran nuclear talks that was cast in less strident terms than a separate letter sent last week.

“As negotiations progress, we expect your administration will continue to keep Congress regularly apprised of the details,” said the letter, spearheaded by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Levin’s letter sent March 22 is a word for word replica of a letter sent last week by an overwhelming number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, initiated by Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House minority whip.

Levin had circulated the Cantor-Hoyer letter, saying he preferred it to another letter initiated by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The Menendez-Graham letter, backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, garnered signatures from 83 senators of both parties, out of the body’s 100 members, and was sent last week.

Levin did not explain why he preferred the Cantor-Hoyer language in his cover letter seeking signatories, but that letter was considerably softer in tone than the Menendez-Graham letter.

The Menendez-Graham letter more definitively described outcomes of the Iran negotiations that “must” be in place while the Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters instead were “hopeful” of such outcomes. The Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters were also closer to the position of the Obama administration, explicitly saying that its signatories “do not seek to deny Iran a peaceful nuclear program.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a number of Republicans in Congress say that any deal must end uranium enrichment altogether; Obama administration officials have said that a limited degree of enrichment is the likely outcome of any deal.

The Menendez-Graham letter does not explicitly count out an enrichment capability for Iran, nor does it mention it.

The Senate letter suggests that the body could soon reconsider new sanctions on Iran, a bid also backed by AIPAC that the Obama administration deflected earlier this year.

Of the Levin letter’s 23 signatories, 19 also signed the Menendez-Graham letter, and four were Jewish: Levin, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). AIPAC backed the Cantor-Hoyer letter in the House, but did not back Levin’s version in the Senate.

Hagel Vote Postponed, Senators Say Financial Info Withheld

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

The vote to decide whether Former Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska will be the next Secretary of Defense was abruptly postponed late Wednesday, February 6.  That vote had been scheduled to take place on Thursday, during a different hearing concerning Libya.

The vote was put off, according to most sources, because Hagel has not provided adequate documentation concerning compensation for speeches and other activities over the past five years.

More than a dozen Republicans sent a letter to Hagel, a copy of which the Associated Press obtained, pressing him to provide the requested information.

“The committee, and the American people, have a right to know if a nominee for secretary of defense has received compensation, directly or indirectly, from foreign sources,” Senate Republicans wrote. “Until the committee receives full and complete answers, it cannot in good faith determine whether you should be confirmed as secretary of defense.”

Hagel stated in a letter to Senate Republicans that he is not in possession of the information requested.

“My role with respect to the entities you identify is as a current and former board or advisory board member. I was not involved in the day-to-day management of any of these firms, and have not been involved with some for the firms for years now,” Hagel wrote. “Thus, as a matter of fact, I do not believe I have any of the information requested. More importantly, the information you seek is legally controlled by the individual entities and not mine to disclose.”

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee,  is already on record as supporting Hagel and had hoped to have the vote take place as scheduled.  Instead, Levin’s office issued a terse statement late Wednesday that there would be no vote on Thursday.

“The committee’s review of the nomination is not yet complete. I intend to schedule a vote on the nomination as soon as possible,” Levin said.

The Free Beacon reported that sources close to SASC members believe that Hagel’s refusal to provide the requested information may encourage GOP lawmakers to hold up the nomination.

“Senators are really taken aback that Hagel would refuse to provide financial information about foreign governments and foreign agents that may have been indirectly paying his salary for the last few years,” said one Republican Senate aide who is close to the process. “We are talking about the most sensitive cabinet post—control over our nuclear secrets, our intelligence agencies, our covert activities—and we don’t have a right to know if he’s got IOUs for certain countries or groups?”

In a late-breaking story from Foreign Policy, another irregularity has arisen with the nomination, one about which some senators are requesting additional information.  This matter has to do with a claim of sexual harassment by one staff member about the actions of a more senior staffer.  There is no question of the senator’s own impropriety, rather it goes to staff management and behavior, according to the report.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/hagel-vote-postponed-senators-say-financial-info-withheld/2013/02/07/

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