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February 14, 2016 / 5 Adar I, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Biden Tells Atlanta Jews ‘Honest to God, I Don’t Know If I Will Run’ [video]

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Vice President Joe Biden told a packed Conservative synagogue in Atlanta Thursday night that the biggest factor that will determine if runs for the White House is whether his family can handle it.

His speech was part an Obama-Biden blitz to convince Jews to back the nuclear deal with Iran, which now has enough backing in the Senate to defeat an opposition attempt to override a presidential veto if Congress rejects the deal.

The biggest question on everyone’s mind was not what Biden had to say about “ObamaDeal” but rather if he will run. He answered questions from the audience, including one about putting his hat in the ring, and said:

Honest to God answer is I just don’t know

The most relevant factor in my decision is whether I and my family have the emotional energy to run.

Some people might think that is not appropriate. But unless I can go to my party and the American people and say that I am able to devote my whole heart and my whole soul to this endeavor, it would not be appropriate.

And everybody talks about the other factors — the other people in the race, whether I can raise the money and whether I can put together an organization. That’s not the factor. The factor is, ‘Can I do it? Can my family undertake an arduous commitment that I would be proud to undertake under ordinary circumstances?’

His circumstances are far from ordinary. His son Beau Biden, who was considering running for governor of Delaware, died of brain cancer last May.

The Vice President mentioned a previous tragedy, the death of his first wife and daughter in an auto accident in 1972, in his speech at the Ahavat Achim synagogue. Biden said:

I know from previous experience after my wife and daughter … there’s no way to put a timetable to it.

“If I can reach that conclusion that we can do it in a fashion that would still make it viable, I would not hesitate to do it. But I have to be honest with you and everyone who’s come to me, I can’t look you straight in the eye and tell you I can do it. That’s as honest as I can be.

Considering unfavorable polls of Hillary Clinton when it comes to honesty, Biden is an appealing alternative to the former Secretary of State and to Bernie Sanders, whose popularity has soared in the polls.

Sanders’ success reflects a large sector of the population that is fed up with “establishment political,” but as the Democratic nominee for president. he would leave the Democratic party more vulnerable to a loss to the Republican candidate, assuming the GOP nominee will be someone other than Donald Trump.

Maryland’s Sen. Mikulski Gives Obama Magic Number for Iran Deal

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski announced Wednesday afternoon she will support the nuclear deal with Iran, giving President Barack Obama enough support to stop Congress from overriding a presidential veto of a Congressional rejection of the agreement.

The Maryland Democrat caved in even though she is retiring at the end of her current term.

She stated:

No deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime. I have concluded that this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best option available to block Iran from having a nuclear bomb.”

Sen. Mikulski is retiring at the end of her current term and therefore would not pay a heavy political price if she had joined the majority on Congress who oppose the agreement

She is the 34th Democrat to side with President Obama, who still faces the embarrassment of having to veto a Congressional rejection of the nuclear deal.

He reportedly favors what he considers a less embarrassing alternative – a Democratic filibuster.

With enough votes locked up to allow a veto to stand, it remains to be seen if other Democratic senators will fall in line with the president. They can rationalize that opposing the agreement won’t help override a veto .

Congress will vote on the agreement by Sept, 17. The American obligations under the deal cannot take effect until Congress approves or President Obama vetoes a rejection.

All eyes are on Maryland’s other senator, Ben Cardin, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He said yesterday he will announce “shortly” his position. He could face political punishment in the Senate if he votes against the agreement.

Cardin is a member of Baltimore’s largest modern Orthodox congregation, Beth Tfiloh, where more than 1,000 people rallied Tuesday against the agreement.

‘Undecided’ Sen. Cardin Predicts Congress Will Back Obama on Iran Deal

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin said Tuesday he remains undecided on how to vote on the nuclear deal but that he is sure President Barack Obama will win the needed support in the Senate to prevent a veto-proof majority against the agreement.

Speaking to students at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, Sen. Cardin did not name which Democratic senators will fall in line but said thematic number of 34 will be reached by the end of the week.

The Associated Press said that Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware is scheduled to talk about the deal later today and probably will support President Obama.

Cardin is facing intense pressure from Jewish voters in Maryland to vote against the agreement. He is a member of Baltimore’s largest modern Orthodox synagogue that generally is very supportive of Israel.

31st Democratic Senator Backs Iran Deal

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

President Barack Obama on Sunday won the support of the 31st Democratic senator out of the 34 he needs to prevent a veto-proof majority against the nuclear agreement,

The latest to fall in line is Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Merkley, who announced:

Because of these shortcomings [in the deal], many have argued that the United States, instead of implementing the agreement, should withdraw from it, persuade our partners to set the agreement aside and work together to negotiate a better deal.

However, the prospects for this are slim. All of our partners … believe that the current deal — in regard to its central goal of blocking Iran’s pathways to a nuclear bomb — is sound. They have committed the good faith of their governments behind the agreement and intend to honor the deal as long as Iran does likewise, with or without the United States.

The momentum in President Obama’s favor may make the numbers game even worse for the opponents of the agreement. Key undecided senators, such as Maryland’s Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, will have a harder time opposing the agreement, which would mean paying a heavy political price, if they know that there is no chance of defeating it.

Iranian President Says Nuclear Deal a ‘Non-Committal Agreement’

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

Iran has given U.S. Congressmen the perfect reason to oppose the nuclear deal by saying that the Iranian parliament should not make it a legal obligation for the Islamic Republic.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a news conference Saturday that the deal is only a political understanding, and he urged parliament not to vote on it so that it does not become a legal obligation.

Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported Saturday:

President Hassan Rouhani underlined that Joint Comprehensive of Action (JCPOA) does not need the Majlis (Iranian parliament) approval for its implementation.

‘Under the Iranian Constitution, a treaty has to be submitted for approval or disapproval to the Parliament if it has been signed by the president or a representative of his,’ President Rouhani said, addressing a press conference in Tehran on Saturday.

‘That is not the case about the Iran-Group 5+1 nuclear agreement or the JCPOA,’ the Iranian president added.

Rouhani emphasized that parliamentary approval of the JCPOA would mean that he has to sign it, “an extra legal commitment that the administration has already avoided,” according to IRNA.

The Associated Press added that Rouhani said:

Why should we place an unnecessary legal restriction on the Iranian people?

President Barack Obama needs only four more Democratic senators to back the bill in order to prevent a veto-proof majority if Congress rejects the agreement.

If the agreement is approved, the United States will be obligated to honor it unless it can catch Iran cheating, a process that could involved months or even a year.

On the other side of the ocean, Rouhani has made it clear that the deal has no legal standing in Iran.

Sen. Cotton to Visit Israel for More Ammunition against Iran Deal

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Sen. Tom Cotton, one of the loudest voices against the nuclear deal with Iran, will arrive in Israel on Sunday for a week-long visit that can be assumed is aimed at arming him with more ammunition to try to shoot down the nuclear Iran agreement in the Senate.

The Israel government announced:

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) will be visiting Israel from Sunday, August 30, to Saturday, September 5, 2015.  During his trip to Israel, the Senator will be updated on strategic and diplomatic issues, as well as other major developments in the region.

Senator Cotton, in office as of January 2015, serves on the Armed Services, Intelligence, and Banking committees.

Updating him on “strategic and diplomatic issues” just before Congress returns from a summer recess with the Iran deal the number one item on the agenda means that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will send Sen. Cotton back with a suitcase full of arguments to try to win a veto-proof majority against the deal when it comes for a vote.

Sen. Cotton was behind the controversial letter that he and several senators sent to Iran to “inform” it that a nuclear deal would not be binding on the next president.

Earlier this month, he told Israeli reporters that the Obama administration has not made it clear to Iran that it could use force to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. He then said that the U.S. Armed Forces could bomb Iran’s nuclear program “back to zero.”

Sen. Corker stated:

You can destroy facilities. I don’t think any military expert in the United States or elsewhere would say the U.S. military is not capable to setting Iran’s nuclear facilities back to day zero,

Can we eliminate it forever? No, because any advanced industrialized country can develop nuclear weapons in four to seven years, from zero. But we can set them back to day zero.

That is music to the ears of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the timing of next week’s visit is not coincidental.

The Prime Minister and President Barack Obama are desperately campaigning against and for the deal, respectively.

Media continue to report more evidence that the deal is full of holes and that Iran already is has taken moves to get around it, such as the report Thursday that it has built an addition to its Parchin nuclear facility.

However, party loyalty usually is paramount to intellectual honesty. New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer came out against the deal and promptly faced a campaign prevent him from becoming the next party leader in the Senate to succeed retiring Sen. Harry Reid, who backs the deal.

Even Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker admits that Obama will win. He told The Tennessean:

Understand that at this moment it looks very unlikely that we’ll have a veto-proof majority to disapprove, but I know we’re going to have a bipartisan majority that will disapprove.

The Hill reported that President Obama lacks only five out of 15 undecided Democratic senators to prevent a veto-proof majority against the agreement.

Obama and Biden Running after the Jews to Back ‘ObamaDeal’

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

President Barack Obama is beginning to sweat over diminishing Jewish support for the deal with Iran, especially among Congressmen.

He and Vice-president Joe Biden are shifting into high gear to convince Jews to persuade their Representatives and Senators to vote for “ObamaDeal.”

Several Jewish senators already are in the “no” camp and key Jewish Sen. Ben Cardin on the fence, and a continuing drop of support for the deal in the polls is turning the Jews into the best friends Obama ever had.

Biden is scheduled to meet with American Jewish leaders in Florida next week in an event whose organizers include Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who heads the Democratic National Committee. She has not yet announced whether she will vote for or against the deal.

President Obama is scheduled to connect with Jews with a webcast Friday. Although it is long-shot that the Senate or the House of Representatives can come up with a veto-proof majority against the deal, the  president is not taking any chances.

The webcast will be viewed through the site of the Jewish Federations of North America..More than a dozen local Federations have come out against the agreement with Iran, and approximately 100 or more have been non-committal.

The webcast is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. tomorrow, and pre-registration is available here.

The organization, in a carefully worded and neutral statement, wrote on its website:

We are hopeful that diplomatic efforts will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and we appreciate the hard work President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and Under Secretary of State Sherman have put into crafting this agreement.

At the same time, we are concerned. Iran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas, its human rights violations and its aggressive threats toward neighboring countries—including Israel—make the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran untenable.

President Barack Obama and his administration have repeatedly said that any deal with Iran must shut down Iran’s uranium enrichment pathway to a weapon, cut off all four of Iran’s potential pathways to a bomb, and track Iran’s nuclear activities with unprecedented transparency and robust inspections throughout its nuclear supply chain. We agree.

We urge Congress to give this accord its utmost scrutiny.

The Federations earlier this month provided Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with a platform to speak out against the deal.

The  Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which is a co-sponsor of Friday’s webcast, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have announced their opposition to ObamaDeal.

J Street supports it.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/obama-and-biden-running-after-the-jews-to-back-obamadeal/2015/08/27/

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