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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Peter Roskam’

Will Obama Also Attempt to Waive Iran Terrorism Sanctions?

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Remember all the promises that the only sanctions to be lifted would be those related to Iran’s presumed efforts to obtain nuclear weapons? Well, many other seemingly iron-clad promises have gone by the wayside. For example, how could it be that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or Nuclear Iran Deal) included provisions that lift the embargo on Iran for acquiring conventional weapons, or – even more frightening – the embargo on intercontinental ballistic weapons?

So, the concern arose, what if the administration decided to waive the anti-terrorism sanctions under the tax code (specifically, 26 U.S.C. 901(j))? That regulation states that U.S. taxpayers cannot get credit for taxes paid to countries with which the U.S. has severed diplomatic relations or which the Secretary of State has designated as a supporter of terrorism.

As a general matter, the President has the authority to waive that measure “in the national interest.” Do you see the problem? It is the president’s decision to make.

Given the many sleights of hand surrounding the Iran Deal, on Sept. 22, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, sent a letter to President Barack Obama. In that letter Ryan asked Obama whether his administration had made any commitment or promise to exercise his waiver authority for sanctions imposed on Iran due to its engagement in terrorism.

Ryan also asked whether the president would commit not to exercise his waiver authority with respect to Iran during the remainder of his term in office.

There was no response from the White House.

Because the White House refused to answer those very direct questions in Ryan’s letter, Rep. Peter Roskam, chair of the Oversight subcommittee of Ways and Means, decided to be proactive.

Roskam put together a hearing which was held on Wednesday, Nov. 4, to which experts were invited to testify about whether the administration could and should waive the sanctions on Iran which were imposed because of Iran’s terrorist activity and its sponsorship of global terrorism.

Roskam explained the genesis of the anti-terrorism regulations contained in the Internal Revenue Code with respect to Iran.

They were introduced thirty-six years ago, after the Iranian mullahs came to power and their thugs seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, holding hostage hundreds of Americans. The U.S. responded to that act of terrorism by severing diplomatic relations and imposing economic sanctions against Iran.

Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, was the first witness to testify at Wednesday’s hearing.

Dubowitz, a well-respected expert on the Nuclear Iran Deal, explained the current, post-JCPOA situation. He testified that Iran remains the leading state sponsor of terror, and is known to be currently holding four Iranian-American citizens and refuses to give information about a missing American citizen who vanished after traveling to Iran eight years ago.

Dubowitz maintains that the JCPOA will not prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability – the central position of the Obama administration. Dubowitz said that while the deal provides extensive sanctions relief to Iran, he insisted it was imperative that the U.S. administration employ various “non-nuclear” sanctions, including through the use of the tax code, to prevent enriching those in the Iranian regime who continue to engage in terrorism.

In fact, it was the FDD director’s suggestion that the U.S. increase sanctions and take other measures to prevent Iran from continuing its position as the number one state sponsor of terrorism.

Former Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith also testified at the Terrorism Sanctions hearing. Feith was asked to testify specifically because the only other president to waive tax code terrorism sanctions was his former boss, President George W. Bush, regarding Libya.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

House Passes Bill Blocking Obama from Lifting Iran Sanctions

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

At the very last minute the House of Representatives is acting as if the house is on fire. Finally.

First, the House voted on Friday – the day after the Senate seemed to hand the President a victory – against the approval of the Nuclear Iran Deal. The vote was 269 to 162.

The House also acted on a bill which was introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

That bill, HR 3460, blocks U.S. President Barack Obama from in any way lifting sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program, or from releasing individuals from specially designated terrorist lists which would otherwise be released under the proposed terms of the Nuclear Iran Deal.

The bill not only seeks to prevent the president from lifting sanctions now, it seeks to prevent him from lifting them until the end of his term as president, which is January 21, 2017.

The bill passed by a vote of 247 to 186.

Following the passage of HR 3460, Congressman Zeldin said,

“The President must not lift sanctions on Iran to implement this fatally flawed deal. The leverage that brought the Iranians to the table was the sanctions relief. Negotiating away our leverage while leaving so much out of the agreement is a historic strategic mistake.

“Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism, actively working to overthrow foreign governments, while pledging to wipe Israel off the map and chanting Death to America in their streets. So much wasn’t even part of the negotiations, including Iran’s continued efforts to develop ICBMs, blow up mock U.S. warships and unjustly imprison American citizens, including a U.S. Marine, a Pastor and a Reporter.

“This is a fatally flawed deal that paves the path to worsening instability and turmoil in the Middle East and is on track to trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. Furthermore, Congress has not even received the entire agreement yet from the President, specifically the critical components of the deal that would outline the verification agreements entered into between the IAEA and Iran. The President says this deal is not based on trust; it is based on verification, but we don’t even know the full details of the verification regime. It’s unfortunate that some members of Congress choose party loyalty over national security. I also want to thank Congressman Roskam for his very thoughtful and determined effort with this noble cause.”

Congressman Roskam said, “This dangerous nuclear agreement is what happens when the Administration capitulates to the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism. Under no circumstances should Congress be complicit in giving Iran a $150 billion cash infusion to further fund attacks against the United States and our allies. That’s why today the House passed this important bill to prevent President Obama from lifting statutory sanctions against Iran under this deeply flawed deal. I want to thank Congressman Zeldin for his leadership on this issue critical to U.S. national security.”

The following is the text of the bill that was passed by the House on Friday, September 11.

A BILL To suspend until January 21, 2017, the authority of the President to waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of sanctions pursuant to an agreement related to the nuclear program of Iran.  Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

 SECTION 1. SUSPENSION OF AUTHORITY TO WAIVE, SUSPEND, REDUCE, PROVIDE RELIEF FROM, OR OTHERWISE LIMIT THE APPLICATION OF SANCTIONS PURSUANT TO AN AGREEMENT RELATED TO THE NUCLEAR PROGRAM OF IRAN.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, prior to January 21, 2017, the President may not— (1) waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of sanctions described in subsection (b) or refrain from applying any such sanctions; or (2) remove a foreign person listed in Attachment 3 or Attachment 4 to Annex II of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action from the list of specially designated nationals and blocked persons maintained by the Office of Foreign Asset Control of the Department of the Treasury.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Lawmakers Opposed to Iran Deal Introduce Measures Addressing its Flaws

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) have finally done what so many opponents of the Nuclear Iran Deal have been waiting for. Whether their efforts will achieve the goal of opponents will soon be revealed.

The two Republican House members each introduced legislation late on Tuesday, Sept. 8, addressing procedural flaws in the administration’s conduct of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Gohmert introduced a resolution that recategorizes the JCPOA as a treaty (and presidents have no veto power over Senate votes on treaties) and Roskam introduced a resolution which rewinds the clock on Congressional review of the JCPOA because the administration has not provided Congress with all the relevant, required documents relating to the agreement.

Gohmert introduced into the Rules Committee a Resolution declaring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action a treaty. The effect of such a move is that rather than two-thirds of the Senate having to oppose the JCPOA, which is the case under Corker-Cardin (the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act), if the JCPOA is classified as a treaty it means that two-thirds of the Senate is required to approve the measure.

As Gohmert explained to the members of the House Rules Committee late on Tuesday, a treaty is “any agreement between the U.S. and another country that affects, changes or modifies an existing treat is a treaty.” Because the JCPOA affects, changes and modifies the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Q.E.D., it is a treaty.

Corker-Cardin explicitly provided that the agreement that the U.S. and its partners was going to enter into with Iran would not lift the embargo on the supply of ballistic missiles to Iran and that the act was only to apply to sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program.

As later became public, the Nuclear Iran Deal includes all kinds of relief for Iran which are totally unrelated to Iran’s nuclear program, such as lifting embargoes on conventional weapons  and ICBMs.

In addition, the two “secret side deals” between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran only became public well after the JCPOA was announced, and the INARA explicitly requires all the material dealing with the JCPOA be provided to Congress by the administration by Sept. 7.

All of this means, as explained in Gohmert’s Resolution, that Corker-Cardin cannot be the oversight mechanism for the JCPOA, given the many fundamental differences between what Corker-Cardin was written to cover and the many dramatically different aspects of the JCPOA which have since been revealed.

Gohmert’s Resolution also reveals that Secretary of State John Kerry’s explanation for why the JCPOA could not be considered a treaty was a farce. Kerry undermined his own explanation – that no treaties could be ratified by the Senate – by announcing the ratification of treaties by the Senate within days of making that statement.

The Resolution calls for the Senate to deliberate on the ratification of the Nuclear Iran Deal within 30 days of the passage of the Resolution.

Roskam’s effort states that under the INARA, the administration is required to provide to Congress all of the substantive material detailing the agreement, including the so-called “secret side deals.”

The administration has not provided Congress with that material, so the 60-day congressional review period has not begun to run, and won’t begin until all such materials are provided to Congress. And, of course, no vote on the JCPOA can take place until it does.

A hearing on Gohmert’s Resolution, H.J. Res. 64., will take place in the House on Wednesday, Sept. 9, beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

US Promises to Protect Israel if Iran Attacks

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

An Obama administration official told Israeli diplomatic journalists Monday that the United States will protect Israel if Iran attacks it.

He also promised that the United States will not sell the F-35 advanced warplane to any other Middle East country besides Israel.

The briefing served the Obama administration’s current priority to make sure that Congress does not reject the nuclear deal with Iran by a veto-proof majority. President Barack Obama has no chance of winning majority support in the Senate, and Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam declared on Monday that a majority of House members have pledged to back a resolution of disapproval of the nuclear deal

In the briefing with Israeli journalists, a defense official said that the government’s commitment to Israel’s security is “something US defense officials live on a daily basis.”

He also asserted that Iran’s continued declaration to annihilate Israel “doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t sign a deal that decreases the likelihood they will be a nuclear state.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has argued that ObamaDeal actually paves the way for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. If that is the case, the Obama administration in effect is creating an existential threat to Israel and then proposing a solution that makes Israel dependent on Washington.

Similarly, the promise not to sell F-35 warplanes to other countries n the region, most notably Egypt and Saudi Arabia which have expressed interest in buying the plane, eventually could be used as a tool to force concession from Israel. For example, President Barack Obama, or his successor, could warn Israel that if does not surrender to the Palestinian Authority, Washington will sell the F-35 to Egypt.

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

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.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

US Congressman Gets it Right on Gaza v. Israel

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Responding to a letter from a constituent, U.S. Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL-06) sent out a video to his constituents explaining what the U.S. is doing to protect Israel from Gaza’s rocket attacks.

Roskam is the co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus and is active in helping to secure funding for Israel’s defense needs from the U.S., including the Iron Dome Missile Defense system, David’s Sling and the Arrow missile defense systems.

This past spring, Roskam and Democratic Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06) sought a near doubling in appropriation levels over those requested by the administration for the Iron Dome system. They requested $350.9 million for Iron Dome, which was $175.9 million more than was allocated in the president’s budget, and $268.7 million for the Arrow, Arrow 3 and David’s Sling systems, which was $172.1 million more than the administration requested.

In the video, Roskam refers to Hamas as the “Iran backed terrorist regime,” and explained to his constituents that Israel accepted the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, while Hamas rejected it, instead choosing more violence.

 

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Congress Members Blast ASA for Boycott Decision

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

A bipartisan slate of 134 U.S. Congress members wrote a letter to the American Studies Association protesting its decision last month to boycott Israeli universities.

“Academic cooperation can be an important tool to help foster peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but you have chosen the unproductive path of isolation,” said the letter dated Friday, initiated by Reps. Pete Roskam (R-Ill.), the chief deputy whip of the U.S. House of Representatives and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), the senior Democrat on the House Middle East subcommittee. “We hope that the ASA will learn to appreciate the mutually beneficial academic ties between the United States and Israel and work with us to promote peace and academic freedom.”

The ASA, with a membership numbering less than 5,000, was the largest of three academic organizations to recommend boycotts against Israeli institutions last year, a breakthrough in the United States for the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.

The move has been repudiated by close to 200 U.S. universities and the larger academic groups, such as the American Association of University Professors, have pushed back such attempts.

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/congress-members-blast-asa-for-boycott-decision/2014/01/19/

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