Posts Tagged ‘Senate’
There are wider range ramifications to Netanyahu and the Likud’s victory than who gets to sit in the coalition.
To begin with, we’ve learned the Israeli public is healthy and balanced.
If nothing else, we discovered that the Israeli public no longer believes the leftwing “peace” pipe dreams and lies, and we recognize them as the fiction and danger they are.
And this could mean we can now search for more practical containment solutions to our regional problems, trying out new ideas, breaking away from the failed and murderous “Two-State solution” paradigm.
Simultaneously, we learned that economic issues are extremely important to the Israeli electorate, but we want them done responsibly, through the free market, and not through government enforced redistribution of wealth. And that’s the way to lower prices and increase the standard of living.
Once again we see that the Settlers and the Religious-Zionists are self-sacrificing for the greater good of the nation. By shifting between 4 to 7 seats from Bayit Yehudi over to the Likud, after the media (and Netanyahu) made it clear that a right-wing coalition was in danger, we showed we could look beyond sectoral politics and vote for the greater good, even if it didn’t seem to be in our personal best interest. We hope Netanyahu recognizes that sacrifice.
Now just as importantly is the message we send overseas.
The world looks to Israel. The world looks to the Jews. And especially at Netanyahu who has been clear about the dangers the world faces from radical Islam.
The American people, as well as the Congress and Senate see a strong Netanyahu, with a clear message, firmly backed by the Jewish people.
That strengthens the resolve of the American people as well as the Congress and Senate.
Israel is going to face an even more antagonistic and undermining White House than ever before.
But the American people, knowing that the Jewish nation stands behind Netanyahu, will feel they have the moral high ground to push back.
God bless Israel and God bless the United States of America.
Republican senators may have a veto-proof majority from Democrats backing a bill that would require President Barack Obama to submit any deal with Iran to Congressional review, Politico reported.
Almost all 54 Republican senators are on board as are more than 12 Democrats, which comes out to more than the two-thirds majority that is needed to override a presidential veto.
It is not clear if the Democrats supporting the bill would go so far as to vote against a veto by Obama, but a two-thirds majority would make it very difficult for him to exercise his veto power over a law giving Congress 60 days to review a deal.
The Democrats were offended by the “open letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran”” initiated by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and which warned Iran that Congress might be able to challenge an agreement between President Obama and Iran.
The White House and the other P5+1 powers reportedly are considering going through the U.N. Security Council to lift sanctions, which would raise a question in international law concerning Congress’ power to decide to re-impose sanctions.
The legalities may not matter because it is doubtful if Obama would be willing to act against such a large majority in the Congress.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said there is chance that a deal could be struck with Iran as early as this week,” but his constant optimism has to be taken with a few grains of uranium.
The open letter damaged relations with Democratic senators, but Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, who did not sign the open letter, said:
Let a couple days go by. We think there’s going to be really ignited momentum. Nobody’s dropping out. We’ve had reaffirmed commitment [from Democrats.]”
The White House is trying to convince Sen. Corker to hold off on the bill and let the administration try to reach an agreement with Iran, but that night not happen until June even if a framework agreement is signed this month.
Even several Democrats are not willing to wait.
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told Politico that he still would back the bill demanding Congressional approvals for a deal even though “this is a sad day in America when people are trying to kill negotiations that are underway.”
Another bill, proposed by Illinois Republican Mark Kirk, would put into law that sanctions will be slapped against Iran if Congress doubts the Islamic Republic’s commitment to reach a deal or stand by its promises.
According to Kirk, there are enough Democrats behind him to give the bill more than a two-thirds majority.
Published on Jewish Business News
A Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee has launched a bipartisan investigation into funding by the OneVoice Movement—a Washington-based group that received $350,000 from the State Department—the Israeli Victory 15 campaign, which seeks to “replace the government” of Israel, Fox News reported Saturday.
Democrats in the subcommittee, which has subpoena powers include Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.
Republican subcommittee members, who form the majority, are Senators John McCain of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, in addition to Portman.
Fox News cited a source involved in the effort to find a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which said: “It’s confirmed that there is a bipartisan Permanent Subcommittee inquiry into OneVoice’s funding of V15.”
The report emphasizes that both Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations have launched the investigation.
Last week, Netanyahu told Israel’s Channel Two TV that foreign governments were behind the “Anyone But Bibi” campaign.
OneVoice spokesman Payton Knopf told Fox News that “OneVoice is eager to cooperate with any inquiry, and after a fair examination, we are confident no wrong doing will be found.”
Because of its tax-exempt status, OneVoice is legally prohibited to campaign against Netanyahu directly.
According to NGO Monitor, One Voice is the “legal-organizational channel” for Victory 2015 (V15), a campaign seeking to defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the 2015 March elections.
The NGO Monitor website quotes OneVoice Israel’s Executive Director Polly Bronstein as saying: “We believe that it’s critical that the majority of Israelis who are concerned about the numerous security and socio-economic challenges we face have their voices heard in the next election. We need a prime minister and a government who will be responsive to the people.”
The NGO Monitor website claims V15 posted a statement on its website saying: “Among those that donated are Daniel Lubetzky, Alon Kastiel, Uri Weiss and S. Daniel Abraham. Some organizations also donated, among them OneVoice.”
According to FoxNews.com, in its 2014 Annual Report One Voice said its Israel branch would be “embarking on a groundbreaking campaign around the Israeli elections.” In partnering with V15, the two groups have operated from adjacent offices in Tel Aviv.
In Israel, V15 has been assisted by Jeremy Bird, President Obama’s deputy national campaign director in 2008, and national campaign director in 2012.
The State Department has denied that its funds were used for election campaign activities.
Reactions to the letter by Republican senators to Iran that a deal on its nuclear deal could require Congressional approval have exposed the Obama administration as possibly being involved in international moves to make an agreement binding through the United Nations.
The United States and other world powers have been secretly talking about going to the U.N. Security Council to lift U.N. sanctions if the P5+1 powers strike a deal with Iran over its nuclear program.
The possibility of a Security Council resolution being considered legally binding would make the Obama administration’s statement to the contrary look ridiculous.
The open letter to Iran from the senators underlined what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and told Congress – that a deal would not be binding on future presidents.
“If there’s a nuclear deal, and that’s still a big ‘if’, we’ll want to move quickly on the U.N. sanctions issue,” an unnamed official told Reuters.
“There is an interesting question about whether, if the Security Council endorses the deal, that stops Congress undermining the deal,” the news agency quoted a Western diplomat as saying.
Iran was quick to pick up the thread,
Supreme leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, who apparently is far from critically ill or and certainly not dead, as reported last week, scoffed at the threat in the letter that Congress could alter any possible nuclear deal between the US administration and Iran. He said:
According to international norms, governments are bound to their commitments and those rules cannot be breached with the change of governments.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is also the country’s top negotiator in talks with powers, mocked the United States for acting as if it is equal to the world and stated:
I should bring one important point to the attention of the authors and that is, the world is not the United States, and the conduct of inter-state relations is governed by international law, and not by US domestic law…..
I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with ‘the stroke of a pen,’ as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law….
Congress may not ‘modify the terms of the agreement at any time’ as they claim, and if Congress adopts any measure to impede its implementation, it will have committed a material breach of the US obligations.
Omri Ceren, press director for The Israel Project, stated, “The letter forced the administration to explain why they’re icing Congress out of Iran negotiations, and now that explanation has ignited a firestorm.
“The administration looks like it intentionally chose a weaker, non-binding arrangement, rather than a treaty, to avoid Senate oversight.”
As the controversy heats up over the U.S.-led talks between world powers with Iran about Tehran’s nuclear development program, so does the latest spat between the White House and senators who sent a letter to Iran.
The partisan divide has deepened between nearly all the GOP senators who signed that letter, organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK), and President Barack Obama.
Several Democrats who also signed on to the letter were called “traitors” in a headline on the front page of Tuesday’s New York Daily News.
Vice President Joe Biden hit back in a long, angry statement late Monday, charging that the letter “sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments – a message that is as false as it is dangerous.”
Cotton responded Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” with equal vigor, bluntly questioning the Obama administration’s competence in foreign policy – and specifically, the acumen of the vice president.
“Joe Biden, as [President] Barack Obama’s own secretary of defense has said, has been wrong about nearly every foreign policy and national security decision in the last 40 years,” Cotton said.
“Moreover, if Joe Biden respects the dignity of the institution of the Senate he should be insisting that the president submit any deal to approval of the Senate, which is exactly what he did on numerous deals during his time in Senate,” he added, as quoted by Politico.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama may sign a 10-year deal with Iran this month, but if the Congress has its way, that agreement won’t be worth the paper it’s written on, once Obama is out of office.
All 47 Republican senators banded together to send an open letter about the deal to Iran this week. The letter warned that nation’s leadership that any nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration without Congressional support would be a “mere executive agreement.”
As such, the letter went on, “the next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded that the “letter is a continuation of a partisan strategy” and said the lawmakers were “interfering in a delicate moment” in the talks, which are due to resume on March 15. The deadline for an agreement is March 31.
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) spoke with CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer on Monday and explained that the letter to Iran simply meant, “If this is a bad deal, it will be revisited. We are going to represent the views of the American people.
“Iran has said it does not understand our governmental system. This is a civics lesson for Iran, and I think that’s perfectly appropriate… This just says that the deal better represent U.S. interests as well as Iran interests… If it’s a bad deal, then there will be repercussions.”
The move was organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton, but signed by the Senate’s entire Republican party leadership, as well as three presidential candidates, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.
Because the Congress has been blocked from having any role to play in the negotiating process, lawmakers are very frustrated. As long as the agreement does not have to be ratified by Congress, the Secretary of State or the president can sign the document at the executive branch level, leaving the legislative branch with no role.