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July 8, 2015

Posts in "Foreign Policy"

June 17, 2015

War on Islamic State Finally Gets House Floor Debate

Farm Bill's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

McGovern spearheaded the push to force a floor debate on U.S. military action in Iraq and Syria (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Three House lawmakers wanted a robust debate on whether there should be boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

On Wednesday, they got their wish. Full story

June 14, 2015

Ryan Still Optimistic on Trade Deal: ‘Heavy Lift Is Done’

House Ways and Means chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., speaks with Roll Call in the House Ways and Means Committee room in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, April 30, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll

Ryan is still optimistic on trade bills. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Ways and Means Chairman Paul D. Ryan, Capitol Hill’s biggest Republican proponent of “fast-track” trade legislation, said Sunday he remains optimistic, despite the recent collapse of a deal that would have cleared the way for President Barack Obama to negotiate a 12-nation Pacific pact.

Ryan, R-Wis., in an interview on Fox News Sunday, said the most difficult legislative work required for fast track — lining up GOP and Democratic votes for Trade Promotion Authority for the president — is done. Now it’s up to Obama and the Democrats to come to an agreement on an underlying worker-training bill that failed on the floor Friday, derailing the entire package. Full story

June 3, 2015

‘Fast-Track’ Trade Vote in Flux, but Backers Are Confident

Tiberi, R-Ohio, Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., and Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., speak to reporters about the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

From left, Tiberi, McMorris Rodgers, Salmon and Noem speak to reporters about trade last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the House prepares to take up “fast-track” legislation as early as next week, Republicans and Democrats are engaging in a vote-counting game that’s making the Trade Promotion Authority package look like a bigger lift than it really is.

The TPA vote, which would clear the way for a 12-nation Pacific trade deal — a key second-term goal for President Barack Obama — has been painted as a down-to-the-wire, every-vote-counts test of clout for the White House and for Republican leaders, who have forged an unusual alliance with the president in backing the deal. Full story

May 29, 2015

Boehner: House Won’t Lift Sanctions On Cuba

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 4: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during his weekly press conference on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner will continue to oppose Obama administration efforts to normalize relations with Cuba. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The same day President Barack Obama announced the removal of Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list, Speaker John A. Boehner reiterated the House won’t be a willing partner in the administration’s campaign to normalize relations between the two countries.

That includes taking up any bill to lift long-imposed sanctions on Cuba. Full story

May 19, 2015

Boehner: Obama Should Start Over on War Authority Request (Video)

 Boehner, R-Ohio, conducts his weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center, May 14, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner steps up criticism of Obama as ISIL takes Ramadi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner, escalating his criticism of the administration’s handling of the war against the Islamic State terror group, said Tuesday the president should scrap his Authorization for Use of Military Force proposal and submit something different to Congress.

“The president, frankly, should withdraw the [AUMF] and start over,” Boehner said at a news conference. “We don’t have a strategy. … For over two years I’ve been calling on the president to develop an overarching strategy to deal with the terrorist threat. We don’t have one, and the fact is the threat is growing faster than what we and our allies can do to stop it.”

Full story

May 18, 2015

McCarthy: No Plans in House to Budge on NSA Curbs

McCarthy, R-Calif., listens as other House GOP leaders speak to reporters following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has a message for Senate Republicans: If they want to extend expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, they aren’t going to do any better than the so-called USA Freedom Act.

The California Republican wouldn’t say whether there was a contingency plan if the Senate doesn’t heed that advice. Full story

April 22, 2015

2016’s ‘October Surprise?’ Not Much of a Surprise

Boehner is in a tough spot. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Benghazi panel has more work to do, Baehner said Wendesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

October revelations about the Obama administration’s handling of Benghazi weren’t enough to get the Republican presidential candidate over the hump in 2012 — but that doesn’t mean it won’t work in 2016, right?

The ongoing partisan rancor over the GOP-controlled House Select Committee on Benghazi erupted again Wednesday after Bloomberg reported a day earlier that the panel’s final report — originally expected sometime his year — likely won’t be finished until sometime in the presidential election year of 2016. Full story

April 14, 2015

Top House Democrats Warming to Senate’s Iran Bill

Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., leave a news conference on the DHS funding bill in the Capitol's Will Rogers hallway, February 27, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi and Hoyer are open to the Senate’s Iran bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The top two House Democrats are warming to the Iran legislation that will likely come to their chamber floor if it passes the Senate.

On Tuesday afternoon, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer signaled — to a gaggle of reporters and in a written statement, respectively — they aren’t dead-set against a bill that had just sailed, 19-0, out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Full story

April 10, 2015

House Democrats Forced to Choose Sides in Iran Debate

The White House wants House members like Israel to get behind the Iran nuclear deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The White House wants House members like Israel to get behind the Iran nuclear deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats on the fence about the White House’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran will be asked next week to close ranks and get behind the president.

With the House and Senate getting back to work on April 13 after a two-week recess, most of the legislative action is set to be in the Senate, where the Foreign Relations Committee will begin marking up its bill giving Congress power to override President Barack Obama’s emerging deal to disarm Iran.

But Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has made it clear that, short of the White House dramatically changing course, he would support the House acting on similar legislation, perhaps even taking up the Senate’s product (assuming it passes). Full story

April 8, 2015

Welch Gets Bipartisan Treatment on CODEL to Tunisia and Ukraine

 Welch, D-Vt., conducts a briefing with reporters in Russell office of Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., on the re-introduction of the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act. The legislation would give investors in renewable energy projects the same tax advantages that are enjoyed by investors in fossil fuel-based projects. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The GOP-dominated Ukraine delegation included one Democrat: Welch. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Being the only Democrat on a plane full of Republicans last week could have been awkward for Rep. Peter Welch — especially with GOP leaders are doubling down on criticism of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

But Welch, a Vermonter with a reputation for seeking common ground with lawmakers on the other side of the aisle, had nothing but praise for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the other Republicans he accompanied last week to Tunisia and Ukraine. Full story

March 30, 2015

CODELs: Boehner to Israel, McCarthy to Tunisia, Pelosi to Asia

McCarthy, R-Calif., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

McCarthy and his delegation were in Tunisia before heading to Ukraine. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not everybody gets to travel overseas during the two-week House recess  just ask Louie Gohmert.

However, many of those lawmakers who are participating in high-profile congressional delegations, or CODELs, will come back to Capitol Hill armed with new insights into some of the biggest policy issues facing Congress this year. Full story

March 27, 2015

Warm Fuzzies After Boehner-Pelosi SGR Deal Not Likely to Last (Video)

Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., run into each other in the green room in between their weekly news conferences in the Capitol Visitor Center's Studio A, July 10, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner and Pelosi, right, came together for the Medicare fix, but don’t expect the togetherness to last. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House lawmakers left for a two-week recess on a high note Thursday, with members of both parties banding together in nearly equal measure to pass a substantive piece of legislation.

But unlike the longevity of the bill that permanently ends the “sustainable growth rate” used to calculate doctors’ payments for Medicare, and extends for two years the Children’s Health Insurance Program, it’s highly doubtful the bipartisan comity will endure. Full story

March 25, 2015

New Jersey Republicans Set Stage for Fight on U.S.-Cuba Relations

Garrett, R-N.J., joins House Republicans to speak during a news conference in opposition to the Supreme Court's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) decision on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Garrett and other New Jersey Republicans want Cuba to hand over an escaped fugitive before relations are normalized. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lawmakers are always eager to use appropriations bills to make political statements; this year, House Republicans are using the power of the purse to weigh in on President Barack Obama’s move to normalize U.S. and Cuba relations.

GOP lawmakers began to set the stage Wednesday, when New Jersey Republican Reps. Scott Garrett, Leonard Lance and Tom MacArthur officially asked senior appropriators to withhold necessary funding to fulfill the diplomatic process unless the Cuban government agrees to extradite copkiller Joanne Chesimard, an enemy of the Garden State and a longtime fixture on the FBI’s “most wanted” list. Full story

March 24, 2015

Boehner ‘Baffled’ by Reports of Israeli Intelligence Leaks to House Members (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner said he was “a bit shocked” by Wall Street Journal reports that Israeli officials were actively working to undermine U.S. efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program through diplomacy.

In particular, Boehner said he was “baffled” by allegations Israelis were spying on closed-door talks and leaking intelligence to members of Congress. Full story

March 12, 2015

Steve Cohen: Netanyahu’s Campaign Ad Turns Congress Into ‘Theater’ (Video)

Before Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint meeting of Congress last week, many House Democrats expressed concerns that the prime minister intended to use his appearance to advance his own political fortunes ahead of Tuesday’s Israeli elections.

Days later, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said their suspicions were correct. Full story

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