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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

Reaction to GOP Letter Exposes Attempt to Outfox Congress on Iran Deal

Friday, March 13th, 2015

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.”

 

GOP Senator Hits Back at VP Joe Biden, ‘What Does He Know About Foreign Policy?’

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

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.

47 GOP Senators Send Open Letter to Iran

Monday, March 9th, 2015

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.

Obama on Collision Course with Senate Bill on Iran Deal

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Senators from both the Democratic and Republican parties are co-sponsoring a bill that would require President Barack Obama to submit to the Senate for review any deal with Iran on its nuclear program.

Obama immediately responded with a threat to veto the bill if passed into law.

Tension between Congress and President Obama will be heightened even more on Tuesday, when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivers a speech to a joint session of Congress that Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and nearly two dozen Democrats are boycotting.

The Senate and the Prime Minister ostensibly are threats to Obama’s presumed privilege  to determine foreign policy. Beneath the surface, they are threats to exposing Obama’s approach to Iran as a total failure.

Globalization does not allow any country to remain quiet when it is under a threat because of the actions of another country.

The Senate already has passed a resolution, reported here by The Jewish Press, stating that it welcomes Netanyahu’s speech at a time when “the Government of Iran’s ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a tremendous threat both to the United States and Israel.”

The new Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 bill was submitted on Friday. It would delay implementation of a deal with Iran for 60 days while senators review it, leaving the possibility for it to vote on it.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker, a Republican, told Bloomberg, “Before sanctions begin to be unraveled, this gives us our rightful role to weigh in and keeps us involved as things move along — if a deal is reached.”

Senator Robert Menendez told Bloomberg in a statement:

If a nuclear deal is reached, Congress will have an opportunity to review the agreement and, more importantly, ensure its compliance after it goes into effect. This legislation establishes that vital review and oversight process.

The White House stated on Saturday, “The president has been clear that now is not the time for Congress to pass additional legislation on Iran.  If this bill is sent to the president, he will veto it.”

However,  several Democrats have co-signed the bill, setting up a possible  full-scale confrontation between the Obama and the Upper House.

Democratic Senator  Tim Kaine told Bloomberg, “I believe Congress should weigh in on the content of the deal given the centrality of the congressional sanctions to the entire negotiation and the significant security interests involved. This legislation sets up a clear and constructive process for Congressional review of statutory sanctions relief under a standard that is appropriately deferential to the executive branch negotiating the deal.”

Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday is going to be more dramatic than anyone has imagined. He is stepping into a fray that is becoming crystal clear is not only between him and Obama but also between the American people and the president.

Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans consider a nuclear Iran as a major threat to the United States – not to Israel, but to the United States.

As in Israel, major establishment media are backing the “diplomatic process,” which on every front in the Middle East, and also elsewhere, has resulted in one-sided concessions by Israel and the United States or agreements that the other side – usually Middle East countries and the Palestinian Authority – have not honored.

Senate Resolution Unanimously Welcomes Netanyahu

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

The U.S. Senate on Thursday unanimously passed by voice vote a resolution welcoming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who will address a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.

The voice vote allowed Democrats to support the bill without their names being printed, and the unanimous vote was a message to the White House that the Democratic party is not his pocket concerning the deal he is negotiating with Iran.

The resolution was co-sponsored by 50 Republican senators but not a single Democrat.

The resolution states in part:

Whereas, in particular, the Government of Iran’s ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a tremendous threat both to the United States and Israel;

Whereas the negotiations between the so-called P5+1 countries and Iran over its illicit nuclear weapons program are entering a key phase, and Congress has heard the perspectives, both publicly and privately, of a number of close allies involved in the negotiations;…

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate

–warmly welcomes the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, on his visit to the United States, which provides a timely opportunity to reinforce the United States-Israel relationship;

–eagerly awaits the address of Prime Minister Netanyahu before a joint session of the United States Congress;….

–continues to strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself from threats to its very survival.

John Cornyn, who initiated the resolution, said that “for some reason, some people are trying to turn this into a public controversy, but to me and I imagine to many others, it is mystifying and somewhat disappointing.

“Both of our countries are threatened by radical Islam….

“I would also argue that we have no bigger foreign policy challenges than stopping the Iranian drive for nuclear weapons and keeping those weapons out of the hands of terrorists. A nuclear Iran would make this world a far more dangerous place. For starters, it would dramatically increase Iranian leverage, Iranian power, and Iranian aggression in the Middle East.”

The Washington Free Beacon reported that a pro-Israel political strategist said, “By refusing to block this resolution that passed unanimously, Democrats are showing they’re still grappling with this new political situation surrounding the U.S.–Israel relationship….

“And you can see part of the internal struggle of these members play out in public when Democrats don’t cosponsor the resolution, but don’t object when it’s brought up for unanimous consent. Even the most liberal Democratic senator didn’t object when it would have been easy to do so if they wanted.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu seen as he prepares for his speech ahead of his speech next week in Congress

Prime Minister Netanyahu seen as he prepares for his speech ahead of his speech next week in Congress

Jordan Bombs ISIS in Syria and Asks US for More Weapons

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Jordan renewed bombing of suspected Islamic State (ISIS) sites in Syria Thursday, two days after the terrorist organization burned alive a captured Jordanian pilot alive.

King Abdullah has asked the Obama administration for more weapons earlier this week before rushing back to Jordan after the barbaric murder.

He spoke with several U.S. Congressmen in Washington and asked them to break the red tape slowing up delivery of weapons, specifically “more sophisticated air-to-ground weaponry, ground-to-ground weaponry, weapons like anti-tank [and] spare parts,” according to Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Chairman Sen. John McCain.

He added that committee members from both the Republican Democratic parties agreed to sign a letter to President Barack Obama to fast-track deliveries.

“If the administration doesn’t act right away in response to this letter, which every member is going to sign on this committee, we will then introduce legislation direct to the floor,” according to McCain.

U.S. Midterm Elections 2014: How Will Obama’s Behavior Impact Today’s Scores?

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

U.S. citizens are going to the polls today (Tuesday November 4) to cast their ballots in midterm elections for Congress, with candidates being chosen in races where seats in the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and a number of gubernatorial races are up for grabs.

Thanks to Democratic President Barack Obama and probably the most dominant GOP Congress since 1929, it is likely that when the dust settles, America will wake up to find the first Republican majority in the Senate in years. Analysts are predicting that the House could see its largest Republican majority, in fact, in 65 years.

In New York State, however, incumbent Governor Andrew M. Cuomo — who is endorsed by The Jewish Press print edition — is not likely to lose his position.

A Democrat like his father, former Governor Mario M. Cuomo, Andrew Cuomo appears likely to win today’s re-election by a comfortable margin. The 56-year-old governor headed a bipartisan delegation this summer to show solidarity in a 3-day visit to Israel during the counter terror Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

A former housing secretary during the administration of former President Bill Clinton, Cuomo is seen as a shoo-in over Republican challenger Rob Astorino, the executive of Westchester County due to his efforts to cap property taxes and help New Yorkers recover from Hurricane Sandy. People interviewed by The New York Times also cited his strong support on equal wages for women and similar issues in its own pre-election coverage.

Also in New York, general state elections are taking place as well, with residents casting their ballots for representatives to the State Assembly, the State Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

In Maryland, the race for governor that originally was considered an easy win for Democrats now looks to be a toss-up.

Democratic candidate Anthony G. Brown, currently the state’s Lieutenant Governor, has had a difficult time in the past month convincing voters his term will look different from that of his boss, Governor Martin O’Malley. With Maryland facing hard times and a struggling economy, people along the Chesapeake Bay are looking for the “change” long promised by another man of color in his first term of office, incumbent Democrat President Barack H. Obama.

Republican candidate Larry Hogan has attacked O’Malley’s tax increases, slammed the fading finances and says he can bring more jobs to the state. He says, simply, that Marylanders just ‘can do better’ and he can make that happen.

The message has been heard and the race is now a tight one, with the two men showing only a single-digit difference between them in the polls as they enter Election Day.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/u-s-midterm-elections-2014-how-will-obamas-behavior-impact-todays-scores/2014/11/04/

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