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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

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.

Senate Approves ‘ISIS Bill’ – US Military Hopes for More

Friday, September 19th, 2014

The U.S. Senate approved the “ISIS bill” 78-22 in a ‘last gasp’ vote Thursday, approving a measure to train and arm 5,000 Syrian rebels one day after members of Congress had done the same.

After the vote, both senators and congress members then fled Capitol Hill, heading for a grueling fall campaign prior to midterm elections.

The bill itself went straight to the desk of President Barack Obama to be signed into law.

But even as the president prepared to approve the measure intended to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group, U.S. military leaders are growing more concerned. So is the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), who was quoted by the Washington Post as saying Obama should listen to his commanders.

“I think it’s very important that he does follow the advice and counsel that he receives, the professional advice of the military. They are the ones best suited to do that,” McKeon said.

But as to Obama’s ban on ‘boots on the ground,’ the lawmaker added, “I realize he’s commander in chief, he has the final say and the final obligation and responsibility. I would also request that he not take options off the table.”

Retired Marine General James Mattis told the House Intelligence Committee in testimony on Thursday that Obama’s ban on combat troops in the Middle East would cripple the military.

“Half-hearted or tentative efforts – or air strikes alone – can backfire on us and actually strengthen our foes’ credibility,” Mattis told American lawmakers. “We may not wish to reassure our enemies in advance that they will not see American boots on the ground.”

The testimony followed a public suggestion two days earlier by the chairman of the Joint chiefs of Staff, U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey, not to rule out the possibility. According to the Post, Dempsey pointed out that Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander for the Middle East, had already made the recommendation at least once in connection with a case in Iraq – but was overruled.

The U.S. military has carried out 176 air strikes against ISIS in Iraq since August 8. Obama has hinted the U.S. will also carry out air strikes against the terror group in Syria as well.

But given the clear opposition expressed by Iran and Russia, let alone Syria — and to some extent, the threatening posture maintained by Iran over the issue – it is not at all clear when or even if Obama will actually send American warplanes into Syrian skies.

‘Last Minute’ Iron Dome Infusion from US

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

The Congress voted Friday morning to transfer an additional $225 million to Israel for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

The move came less than 24 hours after Hamas terrorists kidnapped an Israeli soldier during a cease fire demanded by the United States and the United Nations.

President Barack Obama immediately signed the measure into law, and the funds were transferred overnight, according to a report posted by ABC News.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee two weeks ago approved the transfer of $351 million, bringing the total appropriations for Israel to $621 million.

The funds transferred last night followed a unanimous vote of approval by the Senate just before the start of a long Congressional recess.

“This is a good example of us being able to put aside partisan considerations and work together to help our good friend, Israel,” Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Politico.

“I will stand by Israel for a lot of personal reasons but certainly for political reasons,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). “And I have no hesitation in declaring to the world that’s how I feel.”

Senatora Tom Coburn (R-OK) tried but failed to convince his colleagues to pass an amendment to offset the costs of helping Israel by “reducing unnecessary contributions to the UN.”

United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, meanwhile, earlier had slammed the United States for funding the entirely defensive Iron Dome anti-missile system.

“Americans not only equipped the Israelis with weapons used in the Gaza Strip but also helped Israel in the amount of almost a billion dollars to develop the Iron Dome system that protects the residents from rocket fire,” Pillay said. “Gaza residents were not given similar protection from Israeli bombing.”

Pillay has called for an international investigation of Israel’s counter terror operation in Gaza, claiming the IDF is guilty of war crimes. She has not, however, used the same criteria in addressing the actions of Hamas, who started this war, and freely uses civilians as human shields in combat and in placement of weaponry for use against Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/last-minute-iron-dome-infusion-from-us/2014/08/02/

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