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March 1, 2015

Posts in "Foreign Policy"

February 19, 2015

Nearly Two Dozen House Democrats Call for Netanyahu Delay

Waters, D-Calif., speaks during the House Democrats' news conference to discuss Republican lawsuit against President Obama and the House Democrats' focus on the economy on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Waters and other progressives in the Democratic Caucus are calling for a Netanyahu postponement.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Twenty-three House Democrats have signed onto a letter calling on Speaker John A. Boehner to postpone Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled March 3 address to a joint session of Congress.

The lawmakers argue that while they are loyal allies of Israel, the timing of the planned visit — two weeks before the Middle East nation’s elections — betrays a political agenda on the part of the GOP. Full story

February 17, 2015

Pelosi Leads House Democratic CODEL to Cuba (Updated)

Pelosi stopped short of saying she wouldn't support a continuing resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi is leading a group of Democrats to Cuba. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:44 p.m. | As congressional Republicans continue to slam the White House for overreaching on immigration and promising to veto Iran sanctions, House Democrats traveled to Cuba in celebration of another Obama administrative initiative much-derided by the GOP: the recent normalization of ties between the United States and the long-marginalized country.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and eight colleagues were in Havana Tuesday to meet with government officials, Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, local community leaders and American representatives from the U.S. Interests Section. Full story

February 11, 2015

With Critics on Left and Right, AUMF Faces Uphill Battle

King, R-N.Y., arrives for the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Thursday, May 29, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

King doesn’t want limitations on Obama’s — or any president’s — ability to use military force. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hours after President Barack Obama sent a proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force to Capitol Hill, the reviews from House lawmakers were already in: Changes will be needed.

The three-page request would repeal the 2002 AUMF for Iraq and give the president authority for the next three years to take military action anywhere in the world against groups associated with the Islamic State. It also pointedly would not authorize “enduring offensive ground combat operations” — whatever that means. Full story

December 10, 2014

Gowdy Indicates Monthly Benghazi Hearings Until ‘Questions Answered’

 

hairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., speaks during the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi hearing on "Implementation of the Accountability Review Board Recommendations" on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ R

Gowdy said hearings will take place in January, February, March, and until questions are answered. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pushing back at critics who contend it’s time to move on from Benghazi, Rep. Trey Gowdy opened Wednesday’s House hearing on the 2012 terror attack with a promise of more action next year.

“I remain keenly aware that there are those on both sides of the aisle who have concluded that all questions have been answered, there is nothing left to do, no more witnesses left to talk to, no more documents to review,” said Gowdy, who was chosen by Speaker John A. Boehner last spring to consolidate multiple ongoing House probes of the incident. Full story

Watch: Select Committee on Benghazi Holds Second Hearing

The House Select Committee on Benghazi holds its second hearing, titled “Reviewing Efforts to Secure U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel.”

The hearing begins at 10 a.m.

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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November 13, 2014

Watch: House Committee Holds Hearing on ISIS Military Campaign

The House Armed Services Committee holds a 10 a.m. hearing on the U.S. war against the Islamic State terror group, also know as ISIS or ISIL. Last week, the Obama administration committed 1,500 additional troops to Iraq and requested $5.6 billion more to fund the military campaign.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will testify.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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October 24, 2014

Watch Live: House Oversight Hearing on Ebola Threat

The House Oversight and Government Reform committee holds a 9:30 a.m. hearing on the federal government’s response to the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 4,500 people in West African nations.

Witnesses include officials from the Defense Department, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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October 16, 2014

Watch Live: CDC Director Returns to Testify on Ebola Threat

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations holds a noon hearing on the U.S. response to the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 4,000 people since the outbreak began in December 2013.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will testify on what the World Health Organization on Monday called “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times.”

Additional witnesses include representatives from Texas Health Resources, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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September 25, 2014

Boehner: Don’t Expect War Authorization Vote in Lame-Duck Session

Boehner (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Boehner says the new Congress, not the lame duck, should vote on war authorization for operations in Syria. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner thinks Congress should debate authorizing use of force against the Islamic State in Syria — but not until new members of the House and Senate take office in January.

The Ohio Republican told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday morning the lame-duck session following the midterms in November would not be an appropriate time to make those decisions.

“Doing this with the whole group of members who are on their way out the door, I don’t think that is the right way to handle this,” Boehner told the Times.

That statement is sure to rankle many members on both sides of the aisle who had hoped the House would weigh in as soon as possible on President Barack Obama’s decision to use airstrikes to target the terrorist organization, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Full story

September 17, 2014

Pelosi Backs Obama, but Says ‘We Just Don’t Whip War Votes’ (Video)

 UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds her weekly on camera press conference in the Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi: “We just don’t whip war votes.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders aren’t whipping votes on the continuing resolution and an amendment to give President Barack Obama authority to arm Syrian rebels against the terrorist group the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

But Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi used her regularly-scheduled Wednesday morning news conference to make an impassioned case for members to support their president.

“I don’t know how the vote will turn out,” the California Democrat said. “It’s not a vote we whip. We just don’t whip war votes. But I do think that, as members weigh the factors, that they will, I think, give points to the president for all that he has done, diplomatically, politically, humanitarian-wise and ask for this distinct piece.” Full story

Watch Live: Select Committee on Benghazi Holds First Hearing (Video)

The House Select Committee on Benghazi holds its inaugural hearing, titled “Implementation of the Accountability Review Board recommendations.” The hearing begins at 10 a.m.

 

Related stories:

Parties’ Shared Benghazi Goals: Win the Hearings, Control the Narrative

ISIS Puts Spotlight Back on Terror as Benghazi Hearings Kick Off

Gowdy Hires Top Lawyer for Benghazi Committee

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September 16, 2014

Bipartisan Bloc Coalesces Behind CR, Syrian Rebels Amendment

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., speaks during the House Democrats' news conference to discuss Republican lawsuit against President Obama and the House Democrats' focus on the economy on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Despite reservations, Democrats are lining up behind the House GOP’s proposed continuing resolution and an underlying amendment on Syria, Hoyer said. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite lingering reservations on both sides of the aisle, a coalition of Republicans and Democrats is coming together behind proposals to arm Syrian rebels and fund the government beyond Sept. 30.

Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer confirmed Tuesday that, despite some provisions his colleagues don’t like — namely a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank through only June 30, 2015 — Hoyer and a significant bloc of Democrats would not withhold their support on the continuing resolution. “You don’t get perfect,” Hoyer told reporters at his weekly pen-and-pad briefing.

The Maryland Democrat also said Democrats would support an amendment proposal from Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., that would give the Obama administration the authority it requested to arm and train Syrian rebels in order to combat Islamic terrorists.

With the support from Democrats, passage of the CR and adoption of the Syria amendment look increasingly assured. There are plenty of remaining concerns regarding the trustworthiness of the Syrian rebels. But with Republican and Democratic leadership supporting the measure — not to mention the White House, which has been calling members to drum up support for the proposal — passage of the CR does not appear to be in doubt. Full story

September 8, 2014

September Congressional Agenda: Must-Pass Bills and Messaging Gambits

It's the second time in as many weeks that Boehner has been threatened. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner wants to contrast House action with Senate inaction. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With Congress back in town Monday after five weeks off, plenty of Republicans and Democrats have made it clear the session’s No. 1 priority is passing a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

There’s also a lot of bipartisan consensus, it turns out, on No. 2 — which can be summed up fairly neatly under the heading “Make the Other Guys Look Bad Ahead of the Elections.”

In a final, jam-packed sprint to Nov. 4 — the House is in session just 12 days, the Senate 15 — members in both chambers will be scrambling to check off those top two items, and a few others as well.

First Things First. No one wants another government shutdown. Federal funding runs out on Sept. 30, so Congress has to pass a short-term continuing resolution to keep agencies operational or risk a repeat of last year’s disaster that put congressional approval ratings at an all-time low. Leaders on both sides of the aisle and rotunda say they want a policy-rider free CR that runs through early December, but some Republicans could revolt over immigration executive orders or reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

Which Leads Us to … Reauthorizing the Ex-Im. Funding for the institution that underwrites sales of U.S. goods abroad will expire at the end of the month, and its future is shaky: Far-right lawmakers say the Export-Import Bank represents corporate welfare, while other Republicans say that dissolving the institution would be catastrophic for small businesses. There’s growing interest in extending the bank’s charter for just a few months to buy Congress more time to reach a long-term agreement, but aides to senior GOP lawmakers caution that a deal on how to proceed is still elusive.

War on ISIS. It’s not clear whether Congress will be compelled to act on legislation authorizing air strikes in the region following the execution by Islamic extremists of two American journalists. But calls are coming from both sides of the aisle for Congress to definitively authorize President Barack Obama to use force against ISIS, the group that controls parts of Syria and Iraq. For the time being, the only planned House response is in the form of committee hearings. In the Democratic-controlled Senate, an aide said that “we are many steps away from knowing whether this is going to be an issue to come to Congress or not.”

The GOP ‘Closing Argument.’ Republicans intend to pass a number of jobs and energy bills over the next few weeks in what Speaker John A. Boehner referred to recently as a “closing argument” before the midterms: The GOP is working for Americans, while “the leader of the dysfunctional, do-nothing Senate plans to spend the final legislative days before November talking about the Koch brothers.”

Spotlight on Benghazi. Along with taking already-passed bills and re-bundling them to send over to the Democratic Senate a second time, House Republicans will also remind voters that they are paying attention to national security concerns: South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the specially-created committee to probe the 2012 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, will convene the panel’s first hearing this month.

Pelosi’s Aces: UI, Immigration. Democrats don’t control the legislative agenda in the House, but they have a couple of cards they can play to try and spare their party of some bloodletting this fall. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s troops will likely continue to support White House plans to use executive orders to grant more stays of deportation to undocumented immigrants in light of the GOP’s failure to act on comprehensive overhaul legislation. They will also undoubtedly focus on the GOP’s refusal to extend the emergency unemployment insurance program, nine months after funding lapsed.

Speaking of the Koch Brothers … In the Senate, Democrats will kick off their first day back by proceeding with a vote to cut off debate on a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court ruling allowing unlimited campaign spending by corporations and individuals. They are banking that Republicans filibuster the effort so they can spend their remaining weeks before the midterms reconsidering items from Majority Leader Harry Reid’s “fair shot” agenda, the first of which would be a bill to improve college affordability. A proposal to raise the federal minimum wage would follow.

Senate Republicans Playing It Safe. Reid’s Republican colleagues, anticipating a banner year at the polls in November, have not tipped their hands as to how they want to spend September. To thwart Reid’s wish to force politically loaded votes on the Senate floor, GOP leaders could urge members to allow debate on the campaign finance bill — the quintessential symbolic messaging measure that will never advance.

Humberto Sanchez and Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

House, Senate Laying Groundwork for War on ISIS

House GOP Plan for September: Shame the Senate

Boehner Defers to Hensarling on Export-Import Bank (Updated)

McConnell, Reid Spar Over Campaign Financing

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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September 4, 2014

McCarthy: ‘Friends Don’t Trust Us, Enemies Don’t Fear Us’

 

McCarthy was elected by his Republican colleagues to be the next House majority leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCarthy said Obama needs to step up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress is working on legislation that would authorize more aggressive military action against terror group ISIS — but President Barack Obama has to step up and take the lead in the fight, said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

The California Republican, in a Tuesday interview on conservative talker Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, said he supports efforts to give the president authority to pursue Islamic extremists across borders. But he cautioned against Congress conducting foreign policy.

“We don’t need 535 foreign policy experts trying to run the military,” McCarthy told guest host Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif. “First and foremost, this president has to have a strategy. I mean, what is our foreign policy? I mean, I don’t know what it is. And if we don’t know what it is, our allies don’t know, and our enemies don’t know, so they’re pushing the envelope. Full story

August 7, 2014

Watch Live: CDC Director Testifies on Ebola Threat Before House Committee

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations holds a 2 p.m. hearing on the Ebola virus, which has reportedly killed more than 900 people.

Witnesses include: Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez, the assistant administrator for global health at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and representatives from the State Department, Samaritan’s Purse and SIM.

 

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