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July 2, 2015 / 15 Tammuz, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Schumer’

NY’s Schumer Not Puppet for Obama on Iran ‘Deal’

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Many hard-core Israel supporters thought all hopes of preventing a bad Iran deal was lost when powerful New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D) recently learned he would soon attain a long-coveted starring role in Washington, D.C.

With long-time wheeler-dealer Nevada Senator and minority leader Harry Reid’s announcement that he would retire in 2016, Schumer is the one who will step into that coveted role.

And with the center of power so close within reach, few thought Schumer would risk bucking the White House on the Iran “deal” it is desperate to make.

Schumer’s support is considered essential for an override of President Obama’s promised veto of proposed legislation to insert Congress into the review process of any nuclear power deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Such review is embodied in what is known as the Corker bill after its sponsor, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Under the Corker bill, Congress would have 60 days to review any final agreement with Iran before U.S. sanctions could be lifted.

When Schumer co-sponsored the legislation a few weeks ago, informed spectators lashed out at those who cheered the senior New York senator, pointing out that being a bill’s co-sponsor was not money in the bank either for the senator’s vote on the bill’s passage or, more importantly, for a Schumer vote to override the president’s veto.

However, on Monday, April 6, Schumer finally came out publicly with a strong endorsement of the Corker bill.

“This is a very serious issue that deserves careful consideration, and I expect to have a classified briefing in the near future,” Schumer wrote in an email to the Politico website.

“I strongly believe Congress should have the right to disapprove any agreement and I support the Corker bill which would allow that to occur,” Schumer said.

Schumer’s strong statement declaring his support for Congressional review of an Iran agreement was released after the contours of the proposed framework began circulating last week.

Given Schumer’s stature and his presumptive central leadership role in the future, it is believed the number of legislators required for an override of the president’s veto will be attainable.

Congressional role in the Iran nuclear weapons agreement signals an early failure for at least one aspect of the administration’s hoped-for deal with Iran.

Congressmembers: No More Money for Talks With Iran

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Some members of Congress are insisting there be a limit to the ongoing negotiations to convince the Islamic Republic to agree not to produce nuclear weapons.

In a letter sent on Thursday, March 26, to the Chair and the Ranking member of the subcommittee on Foreign Operations of the House Appropriations Committee, several members of Congress, spearheaded by Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY), sought the insertion of language in the upcoming foreign operations appropriations bill that would prohibit the inclusion of funding for continuing talks with Iran by the U.S. with the P5+1 member nations.

The letter, addressed to Cong. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Cong. Nita Lowey (D-NY), described the ongoing negotiations with Iran as “dangerous” and a “failed effort” to “ensure Iran never acquires a nuclear weapons capability.”

The letter pointed out that, despite assurances to the contrary, the administration has already made dangerous concessions to Iran, including the decision to permit Iran to maintain a “peaceful nuclear enrichment program.”

As pointed out in the Congressional letter, “there is no such thing as a peaceful Iranian nuclear enrichment program.”

In addition, the March 26 letter recounts the highlights (or, rather, low points) of what is understood to be included in a final deal, which would permit Iran to maintain its current stockpile unmolested now, and then the complete lifting of any restraints on Iran in ten years time.

A House staffer who spoke about the current status of the negotiations with the JewishPress.com was piqued by the administration’s refusal to share details of the deal with members of Congress. The language the administration has employed is particularly irksome. Saying that Congress will “see the agreement” once it is completed is hardly reassuring to those with grave concerns about what it contains.

The staffer explained that while this request to Appropriations, even if implemented, would not kick in for another 19 months, it is significant because Congress needs to continue demanding “it has a role to play,” and this is one way of alerting both the administration and the public that Congress has not yet been heard on this critically important topic. Congress has, essentially, “been left in the dark.”

FORDOW ENRICHMENT TO CONTINUE UNDER DEAL?

The Congressional letter was sent the same day that an absolute blockbuster scoop from the Associated Press revealed yet another dangerous concession allegedly made by the U.S. to Iran: that Washington is poised to allow the Iranians to continue enrichment activities at its Fordow facility. This is the one that is an underground military bunker. Fordow is built into the side of a mountain and is all but impervious to an air attack.

Really? Spinning centrifuges in a bunkered facility? Any members of Congress who are not standing up on their hind legs and demanding the right to review and make changes to a final deal with Iran on what is perhaps the most important treaty of modern times deserves to lose their seat.

RALLY FRIDAY OUTSIDE SENATORS SCHUMER AND GILLIBRAND’S OFFICES IN NYC

And there are some New Yorkers who will be sharing that view with their U.S. Senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, tomorrow, March 27, at noon.

There will be a rally in front of the senators’ offices, at 780 Third Avenue between East 48th and 49th Streets in Manhattan. The purpose of the rally is to press the senators to commit to overriding President Obama’s promised veto of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, better known as the Corker-Menendez Bill.

Neither Schumer nor Gillibrand have stated publicly how they will vote on an override of the president’s promised veto of INARA. Concerned constituents want the senators to be counted among those elected representatives who will demand Congress plays a role in ensuring that any deal with Iran will not allow it to acquire nuclear weapons.

Despite Veto Threat and Heavy Pressure, Schumer Supports Sanctions Bill

Friday, December 20th, 2013

The Democratic senior senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, remains on track with the new bi-partisan Iran sanctions bill despite intense lobbying by the White House and the threat of a presidential veto.

The new sanctions bill is called the “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act.”  It  is co-sponsored by Schumer, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez and Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, and was introduced on Thursday, Dec. 19.

Under this bill, new sanctions would not be imposed until after the six-month negotiations window between the U.S. and Iran passes, or if Iran breaches the interim deal.

But Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told Time magazine earlier this month that any new sanctions, even ones that take effect after the interim agreement expires, would kill any chance of a more comprehensive deal.

At Thursday’s press briefing, the president’s spokesperson Jay Carney said he saw no need for this sanctions bill and assured everyone that if it becomes law the president will veto it.

“We made it very clear to the Senate that it is not the time for new Iran sanctions. We don’t think it will be or should be enacted,” Carney told reporters.

Schumer said he discussed the sanctions issue with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough Thursday, according to BuzzFeed. The New York senior senator downplayed the idea of bad feelings over the matter between the White House and him, saying he supports the idea of negotiating an interim agreement with Iran, “but I don’t think the reduction of sanctions made much sense.”

“Basically, it’s a judgement call. We have a disagreement with them,” Schumer said. “Many of us believe that by ratcheting up sanctions, not by reducing sanctions, is the best way to produce peace and get Iran to forego a nuclear weapon.”

The bill has 26 co-sponsors. Co-sponsors from the Democratic party include senators Ben Cardin (Md), Bob Casey (PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Mark Warner (Va.) and Mary Landrieu (La.).

 

PA Official: We Reject US Safeguards for Israel in Peace Plan

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

For days the mainstream media has been filled with headlines condemning Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his intransigence in thwarting U.S. efforts towards a Middle East peace accord and for trying to torpedo the West’s appeasement deal with Iran.

You could wall paper an entire house with the articles criticizing Netanyahu for “damaging the relationship” with the U.S.  Why, even former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert joined the croaking chorus with this gem: “We’ve [Israel] declared war on the U.S. government. You can’t deny this.”

But on Thursday, Dec. 5, it was the Palestinian Arabs who slammed the door in U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s face.

The Palestinian Authority rejected Kerry’s ideas for security arrangements under a possible future peace accord with Israel, a PA official said, according to Reuters.

“The Palestinian side rejected them because they would only lead to prolonging and maintaining the occupation,” according to the official, who refused to allow his name to be used.

Those security arrangements were the ace in the hole the U.S. was counting on to lure the Israelis into accepting a peace plan.

General John Allen, the U.S. envoy to the peace process, discussed with Netanyahu the issue of possible security arrangements to assuage Israel’s fears for any final status agreement that would leave the Jewish state vulnerable.

Of primary concern is the ability of Israel to maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley and to have some control over airspace that could leave Israel vulnerable. A video of an American air security expert addressing the need for Israel to maintain such airspace control is at the end of this article.

The time may come when the United States and other countries will realize that any arrangement which provides adequate security to Israel will be rejected by the negotiators representing the Palestinian Arab leadership.

The so-called “Middle East peace talks” was one of two issues Kerry is expected to discuss with the leaders of the Israeli and the Palestinian Arab people.  The other issue is the recent agreement which the U.S., along with its P5+1 partners, allegedly reached with the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

That agreement has been widely criticized as a huge boon for Iran and a destabilizing force in the Middle East by most Israeli security experts as well as even some of President Obama’s most stalwart defenders, such as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School.

Panicky Obama Recruiting Olmert to Slam Bibi

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

How can you tell when the White House is in a panic? When they recruit a disgraced has-been Israeli politician to go after Netanyahu’s Iran message. It means they were unable to get President Shimon Peres to carry that bucket of water for them, which says a lot.

After revelations that the U.S. has been misleading two of its most loyal friends in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia, and conducting secret talks with Iran even before the latter picked “moderate” Hassan Rouhani – it’s not easy to find A-list Israelis to make fun of Bibi’s “hysteria.”

So Olmert agreed to do the deed, and told a conference of security experts on Sunday that Netanyahu’s public criticism of the American nuclear deal with Iran was provocative and counterproductive.

Netanyahu, you’ll recall, said the deal with Iran was an “historic mistake” and Israel is not bound by it.

This means that no matter how much good will Rouhani is getting from Obama and the EU gang – Israel could up and bomb the plants overnight, any night. And, considering the Saudis’ mood about Obama these days – the IAF could fly through Saudi airspace unmolested. Why, the royal band would be playing Hatikva as the Israelis fly above (you don’t want them to play the Saudi anthem, because it could interfere with the mission).

Olmert said he, too, had disagreements with Obama, but always made sure to voice them in private.

Bibi’s response was that in contrast to “others,” when it came to the security of Israeli citizens “I will not be silent.”

Why should the White House be in a panic? Because of the bipartisan action taking place in both houses of Congress – something which has been rare, indeed, these past few years. As always, only the Jews could get the Democrats and Republicans together, or, if you will, only a clear betrayal of an old friend by the president could do it.

Anonymous senior officials in the Obama administration have been making a point of saying that Netanyahu’s efforts to appeal to Congress won’t be effective and Netanyhau can be “managed”, saying that Netanyahu is “weak and desperate”, that Netanyahu lacks self-confidence, and and the the White House isn’t excited by Netanyahu’s opposition, according to a report on Israeli TV. The official made sure to add that they aren’t naive.

The anonymous senior official doth protest too much, methinks.

According to Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations writing for Politico, the Iran accord, freezing but not eliminating Iran’s nuclear program over the next six months, is proving “contentious,” as congressional critics are highlighting its problems. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), for instance, urged that the agreement be met “with healthy skepticism,” and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that the sanctions relief vs. Iranian concessions “does not seem proportional.”

Takeyh reminds readers that all the Iran sanctions bills to date have passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities.

“Liberals and conservatives have come together to punish the Islamic Republic for its nuclear transgressions and sponsorship of terrorism. During the past three decades, while many countries have been enticed by Iranian commerce, Congress has distinguished itself by persistently holding Tehran responsible for its human rights abuses.”

And Takeyh insists this should not be attributed to pressure from AIPAC etc., since “American legislatures are perfectly capable of being offended by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s penal colony without such advocacy.”

Of course, the Iranians are not helping. President Obama wakes up every morning to discover new quotes from Iranian officials being candid about the interim deal. Last week, Hossein Shariatmadari, the voice of the Supreme Leader, according to the Washington Post, bragged to the Wall Street Journal that “if the right to enrich is accepted, which it has been, then everything that we have wanted has been realized.”

Wouldn’t you panic reading this quote? The Iranians are spilling so many beans, somebody is bound to trip and break something…

According to the Hill, the sanctions effort is led by Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who co-authored the Iran sanctions legislation that sailed through the Senate 100-0 two years ago (see: Senate Foreign Relations Chair (D) Attacks Obama ‘Fear Mongering’). And Senators Schumer and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are pushing for new sanctions, too.

It appears that the new legislation will take into consideration the general support of the American public for any deal that doesn’t require starting yet another war. What they’ll do is push for verification of Iran’s compliance. It will focus on getting Iran to dismantle its nuclear program, which the current six-month deal does not do.

Meanwhile, it appears Ehud Olmert, once Israel’s political fixer, has been reduced to doing Obama’s bidding. It’s a good job, but with an obvious sunset date: 2016. Until then, send all water carrying assignments to Yossi Olmert’s older brother.

Top Senators Pledge Sanctions Legislation after Thanksgiving

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

U.S. Senate leaders pledged to revisit intensified Iran sanctions after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The Senate must be prepared to move forward with a new bipartisan Iran sanctions bill when the Senate returns after Thanksgiving recess. And I am committed to do so,” Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader, told The Hill, a Capitol Hill daily, on Thursday. “I believe we must do everything possible to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons capability.”

Separately on Thursday, a bipartisan slate of 14 senators issued a statement saying they would work to reconcile a number of sanctions bills circulating “over the coming weeks.”

“A nuclear weapons capable Iran presents a grave threat to the national security interest of the United States and its allies and we are committed to preventing Iran from acquiring this capability,” said the statement signed by, among others, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), a leader in advancing sanctions, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the body’s third-ranked Democrat.

The Obama administration is opposed to intensifying sanctions while negotiations with Iran are underway to stop its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions. Israel’s government and a number of lawmakers favor adding new sanctions as leverage in the talks.

However, the latest statements from senators are not inconsistent with the White House strategy; while the Obama administration has pressed the Senate not to pass new sanctions for now, it has encouraged Congress to make clear such an option is still on the table.

The third round of these talks are taking place now in Geneva.

The $13 M Runoff for a $2.1 M NYC Political Office: Tish James Wins

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

In the September 10th Democratic primary for New York City Public Advocate, none of the five candidates received 40 percent or more of the vote. For that reason, on Tuesday, October 1, there was a runoff election for the position, which has a total budget of only $2.1 million. The cost of the runoff election? Thirteen million dollars.

The winner, Letitia James, is currently a NYC Council member. In the past, James was a public defender with the Legal Aid Society, an assistant New York State Attorney General, and the chief of staff in the New York State Assembly. James was heavily supported by labor unions, women’ groups and Muslim organizations.

James’s opponent, Daniel Squadron, is a Yale graduate, a NY state senator and a former aide to New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Squadron enjoyed Schumer’s endorsement, as well as that of two former NYC Public Advocates, Mark Green and Betsy Gotbaum. Squadron also won the endorsements of the major NYC newspapers.

Other than the fact that Squadron is a white male and James is a black female, there is not much difference between the two candidates, at least politically. Both are liberal Democrats. And in fact, the position is one well-suited to liberal Democrats. The City’s Public Advocate is expected to be the government voice for consumers.

James is not only a member of, and runs on the ticket of, the Democratic Party. She has also long been a member of a community organizing party known as the Working Families Party, which is made up of civil rights leaders, community advocates and tenant organizers.

The winner of Tuesday’s runoff will move on to the general election on November 5th as the Democratic Party nominee. However, given that there is no Republican candidate in the race, James is sure to become the next Public Advocate.

Although the position is not a well-known one, as far as the NYC Charter, it comes in as most important after the mayor. And the Democratic contender for mayor this year, Bill de Blasio, is the current NYC Public Advocate.

Given that the runoff election cost the City of New York nearly seven times the entire budget of the office of Public Advocate, maybe the first thing James should do is abolish the forty percent threshold which mandates a runoff – no matter how small the office.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/the-13-m-runoff-for-a-2-1-m-nyc-political-office-tish-james-wins/2013/10/02/

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