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November 24, 2015

Posts in "Iraq"

November 20, 2015

In the House, Personal Debates on Refugees

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., speaks with a reporter outside of the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Amash has family ties to the Middle East. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House debate on refugees and national security this week took a turn for the personal and for good reason: Several members are refugees or the children of refugees, have family ties to the Middle East or were imprisoned in U.S. internment camps on the basis of their ethnicity.

After the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, House Republicans drafted legislation requiring the FBI to certify background checks for U.S.-bound Syrian and Iraqi refugees and U.S. national security agencies to vouch that they are not security threats. The final vote in the House on Thursday was 289-137, a veto-proof margin. Full story

November 18, 2015

House Democrats Plan Alternative to Syrian Refugee Bill

3: Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., speaks as House Democrats hold a news conference to call for presidential action on immigration on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lofgren tried to get changes made to the GOP refugee bill due on the floor Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:15 p.m. | House Democrats will use procedural gambits to get a vote on their proposal aimed at easing concerns about Syrian refugees coming to the United States but without completely blocking their resettlement.

The partisan maneuvering has the potential to weaken support for a Republican-backed bill set to come to the floor Thursday. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the measure, but the bill is expected to pass with GOP votes and some from fiscally conservative Democrats.

Full story

November 17, 2015

House’s Muslim Members Brace for Charged Terror Debate

UNITED STATES - MARCH 10: Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., arrives to testify during the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response" on Thursday, March 10, 2011. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Ellison, in 2011, arrives to testify at a Homeland Security Committee hearing on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response” (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Updated 5:30 p.m. | The two Muslim members of the House share the sentiments of their fellow Democrats: Under no circumstances should the United States block Syrian refugees from this country in the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris..

But for Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and André Carson of Indiana, there’s a greater sense of urgency in how Congress responds to the violence at the hands of the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIL or ISIS, that has a stranglehold in Syria. Full story

September 11, 2015

House Takes Symbolic Stand Against Iran Deal (Video)

UNITED STATES - JUNE 2: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to the media following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy called the Iran vote possibly the “most important” lawmakers would ever take. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House rejected, 162-269, a resolution Friday to approve President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran, an unsurprising outcome that still in all likelihood will not prevent the administration from moving forward with implementation.

Every Republican except Rep. Thomas Massie (he voted present) voted against the measure. They were joined by 25 Democrats, most of whom had previously announced they would oppose.

Full story

July 24, 2015

Despite White House’s Iran Blitz, Democrats Struggle With Backing Deal

The State Department isn't saying whether Kerry plans to testify May 29. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kerry is making frequent visits to Capitol Hill to sell lawmakers on the Iran nuclear agreement (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats were briefed on the Iran nuclear deal Thursday afternoon by Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Earnest J. Moniz, but many sounded as undecided when they came out as when they went in.

“I’m working through it,” said Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. “That’s why we have 60 days.” Full story

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

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

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 26, 2015

Boehner: Obama Is ‘Anti-War President’ Unwilling to Lead (Video)

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, walks back to his office after leaving the House floor on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner slammed the president Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner dismissed Barack Obama Thursday as an “anti-war president” unwilling to lead an international coalition against the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS or ISIL; al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations.

“The world is starving for American leadership, but America has an anti-war president. We have no strategy, overarching strategy, to deal with a growing terrorist threat, and it’s not just ISIS or al-Qaida and all of their affiliates,” the Ohio Republican said at his weekly news briefing.

“If America leads, our allies would be tickled to death and be happy to join our coalition.”

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

September 17, 2014

Odd Coalitions, Unusual Fractures in Syria, Continuing Resolution Votes (Video)

House Veterans' Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., speaks during the news conference with Senate Veterans' Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders to discuss legislation designed to reform the Veterans Affairs Department on Monday July 28, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller was one of the highest-ranked Republicans to vote no on the amendment to arm Syrian rebels. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House fractured along untraditional lines Wednesday, voting 319-108 to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government and 273-156 to adopt an amendment arming Syrian rebels.

Neither vote was typical. Roughly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats voted against both proposals. But there were some interesting trends hidden in both votes.

On the vote to fund the government, 143 Democrats joined 176 Republicans in support of the CR, while 55 Democrats and 53 Republicans voted against the bill.

On the vote to arm Syrian rebels, 159 Republicans and 114 Democrats voted for the proposal, while 85 Republicans and 71 Democrats voted against. Full story

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

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 15, 2014

Path Forward on CR, Title 10 Authority Starts to Crystalize

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After postponing consideration last week of a stop-gap spending measure to fund the government past Sept. 30, House GOP leaders are poised in the days ahead to bring that same piece of legislation to the floor.

That vote, however, will now likely be coupled with consideration of an amendment to the underlying bill that would authorize the Obama administration to train and arm Syrian rebels against the insurgent terrorist organization known as the Islamic State or ISIS.

This bifurcated approach would make it considerably easier for members — on both sides of the aisle — to vote against the ISIS language but not the continuing resolution, taking off the table the threat of a revolt large enough to risk another government shutdown. Full story

September 11, 2014

No. 2 House Democrat Predicts Two-Part Vote on ISIS Request

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hoyer predicts two House votes on the president’s ISIS authority request. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Thursday afternoon that he expects Congress will vote next week to grant President Barack Obama authority to arm Syrian rebels against the insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State or ISIS.

But the Maryland Democrat also said he expected that that vote wouldn’t be Congress’s last word on the subject.

“I believe a two-step process is what we will, I think, pursue,” Hoyer told CQ Roll Call and the Washington Post on Thursday during a taping of the C-SPAN program “Newsmakers,” set to air on Sunday morning. “I think there will be consideration of the president’s request to train and equip regional players.”

Then, after the elections, Hoyer said he anticipated “consideration of a larger authorization for the use of military force.”

Full story

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