The Irony of Ironies via Republican Poison Pills

H.R. 2577 is a conglomeration of a number of bills (Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017) that  the Senate needs to take action on failed a super-majority vote (60 votes) for cloture (the ability to be considered and voted for/against on the Senate floor).  One version of that bill was passed by the House and a different version of that/those bills passed the Senate.  Thus, it’s now gone to conference committee to work out the wrinkles between the two versions.

This conference agreement now includes the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, the Zika Response and Preparedness Appropriations Act, 2016, the Zika Vector Control Act, and an unacceptable ‘division’ on funds to be rescinded from programs the Republicans don’t particularly like.  That’s what came to the floor for a cloture vote, and it failed miserably — 52-48.

Really, Senator McConnell?  It’s too difficult for the general public to understand?  I don’t think so.

It’s one thing for Republicans to short-change President Obama’s funding request.  It’s another thing to start attaching ‘poison pills’ to the proposed legislation that limit or outright prohibit women’s choices.  When you introduce a funding proposal that limits the distribution of contraceptives and that prevents family planning organizations like Planned Parenthood from participating in the effort to help women in Zika-affected areas delay pregnancy, from a disease that not just contracted from a mosquito bite, but from sexual activity with an infected male partner, did you really think that Senate Democrats would just roll over and vote for that?

When you start gutting provisions of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, did you honestly believe that Democrats would just roll over and just vote for that?

SEC. 2. MOSQUITO CONTROL WAIVER.
Notwithstanding section 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1342), during the 180 day period following the date of enactment of this Act the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (or a State, in the case of a permit program approved under subsection (b)) shall not require a permit for a discharge from the application by an entity authorized under State or local law, such as a vector control district, of a pesticide in compliance with all relevant requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.) to control mosquitos or mosquito larvae for the prevention or control of the Zika virus.

When you start stripping funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), did you really expect Democrats to just roll over, see the light and vote your way?  Or, when you decide to fund your bill by stripping balances  from the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, did you really expect Democrats to go “oh yeah, that’s a great idea” and vote in favor of your bill?  Or better yet, given that we already know that you stripped a bunch of funding from the State Department for Embassy security that might have made the outcome in Benghazi drastically different, did you really expect the Senate Democrats to let you strip even more funding for the State Department and other Foreign Operations?

Are you nuts?  They certainly weren’t and neither am I.  It took me hours to sort through all the links on Congress.gov, but here’s what I found:

DIVISION D–RESCISSIONS OF FUNDS

Sec. 101.
(a) $543,000,000 of the unobligated amounts made available under section 1323(c)(1) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18043(c)(1)) is rescinded immediately upon enactment of this Act.

Sec. 1323. Community health insurance option. Requires the Secretary to offer a Community Health Insurance Option as a qualified health plan through Exchanges. Allows States to enact a law to opt out of offering the option. Requires the option to cover only essential health benefits; States may require additional benefits, but must defray their cost. Requires the Secretary to set geographically adjusted premium rates that cover expected costs. Requires the Secretary to negotiate provider reimbursement rates, but they must not be higher than average rates paid by private qualified health plans. Subjects the option to State and Federal solvency standards and to State consumer protection laws. Establishes a Start-Up Fund to provide loans for initial operations, to be repaid with interest within 10 years. Authorizes the Secretary to contract with nonprofits for the administration of the option.

(b) $100,000,000 of the unobligated balances available in the Nonrecurring expenses fund established in section 223 of division G of Public Law 110-161 (42 U.S.C. 3514a) from any fiscal year is rescinded immediately upon enactment of this Act.

DIVISION G–DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008
Title I–Department of Labor
Title II–Department of Health and Human Services
Title III–Department of Education
Title IV–Related Agencies
Title V–General Provisions
Title VI–National Commission on Children and Disasters

(c) $107,000,000 of the unobligated balances of appropriations made available under the heading Bilateral Economic Assistance, Funds Appropriated to the President, Economic Support Fund in title IX of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015 (division J of Public Law 113-235) is rescinded immediately upon enactment of this Act: Provided, That such amounts are designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

Personally, I side with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid who declared, “It is unbelievable that somebody would have the audacity to come to the floor and say it’s Democrats’ fault. A significant amount of American women, especially young women, go to Planned Parenthood, and the Republicans want to say, ‘you can’t do that.’” Why indeed would Democrats not just prohibit Planned Parenthood from providing any services, but gut the EPA’s ability to assure clean water and harm HHS’s ability to manage health insurance options for not just Puerto Ricans, but millions of American families across our nation?  Apparently Sen. McConnell completely missed the irony of claiming to improve women’s health by prohibiting and defunding health opportunities for women altogether.


Related Posts:

Advertisements

NOT Good Enough for the Fearful?

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson explains the Syrian refugee screening process

In the days since the terrorist attack in Paris, there has been a huge debate in the United States over Syrian refugees. While the U.S. has committed to taking 10,000 people fleeing the Syrian civil war, some have argued that there is no way to ensure that terrorists won’t enter the country posing as refugees. The Obama administration has responded by saying that the vetting process is extremely rigorous.

So, putting aside emotional rhetoric about this issue, what exactly is that process?

According to Secretary Jeh Johnson, more than 23,000 potential refugees have been referred to the U.S. and that only 2,000 have made it past the screening. But according to the GOP fearmongers, our process isn’t good enough for them.  Is that because 2,000 worthy souls actually made it through the process?

Head more …. HERE

The Right-Wing’s UnAmerican Rhetoric

Hitler1aFrankly, I’m ashamed of the anti-islamic rhetoric being spewed forth by those on the right (or should I say wrong) side of the political spectrum.  With Republican candidates calling refugees nothing more than rabid dogs (Ben Carson), espousing registration of anyone who is a Muslim (Donald Trump), saying that we should take in ‘Christian’ refugees but not ‘Muslim refugees (Bush) and stomping the crap out of our constitutional right to freedom of assembly (Marco Rubio), I truly hope Americans start waking up to what the Republican party has apparently become — the party of Hitler.

Here’s a few of the headlines that make me wonder exactly “what” the Republicans want to “take our country back to.”

Articles from the right

Articles from the left

Meanwhile, newly anointed Speaker Ryan pushed forth legislation (HR 4038) that would pretty much put a halt to resettlement of any Syrian refugees on U.S. soil claiming “It’s a security test, not a religious test. This reflects our values.”  HR4038, which was passed by the House yesterday, was introduced shortly after the terrorist attacks by the fear mongerers of the right-wing.  Never mind that the attacks in Paris were NOT conducted by Syrians, but by homegrown radicalized French and Belgian domestic terrorists.  So while any French or Belgian domestic terrorist could present their official EU passport, travel to the U.S. and commit an act of terrorism in the U.S., we’ll be preventing non-violent Syrian refugees from being able to escape the horrors of terrorism for themselves and their family.

Speaker Ryan has portrayed our current vetting process as being seriously broken, Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD5), on the other hand, claims he’s wrong. “The bill rests on a faulty assumption that the European refugee screening process is similar to the United States screening process. This is entirely inaccurate,” he wrote in today’s Daily Whip. Rather than improve security, Hoyer said that HR4038 would prevent refugees from entering the country by making the vetting process overly inefficient. He described the bill as a “knee-jerk reaction” to a situation in Europe dissimilar to our own.  Unfortunately, even with Democratic leadership against the bill, one-fourth of Democrats succumbed to the hysteria and voted to pass it in the House vote.

Under existing law, the United States vets refugees for one-and-a-half to two years before allowing refugees to enter the country. If enacted (President Obama has vowed to veto it), this bill would likely halt the screening process.  Just as the Republicans have never gotten around to proposing any alternative to the Affordable Care Act, and as they’ve passed one bill after another to nullify any actions taken by the EPA to protect our environment, they’d likely pass yet another bill to nullify any actions taken to rectify their ‘vetting’ concerns.

The Paris attacks have sparked deeply troubling, abhorrent anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-immigrant policy proposals from the Republicans in Congress that not only don’t represent our American values, but they’re contrary to the principles outlined in our U.S. Constitution.  I just hope that Americans, especially those new citizen immigrants, all across our nation are paying attention. Enough is enough!  It’s time for us to cast our votes FOR American values and AGAINST those who have clearly demonstrated they would trample them in a heartbeat.

Obama Issues Veto Threat for GOP’s Syrian Refugee Gum Up the Works Bill

President Obama has issues yet another veto threat to the House Republimen regarding their Syrian refugee bill (aka, H.R. 4038 – American SAFE Act of 2015).

NoRoom

In a statement of administration policy, the White House made the president’s veto threat clear:

The Administration’s highest priority is to ensure the safety and security of the American people. That is why refugees of all nationalities, including Syrians and Iraqis, considered for admission to the United States undergo the most rigorous and thorough security screening of anyone admitted into the United States. This legislation would introduce unnecessary and impractical requirements that would unacceptably hamper our efforts to assist some of the most vulnerable people in the world, many of whom are victims of terrorism, and would undermine our partners in the Middle East and Europe in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis. The Administration therefore strongly opposes H.R. 4038.

The current screening process involves multiple Federal intelligence, security, and law enforcement agencies, including the National Counterterrorism Center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), State, and Defense, all aimed at ensuring that those admitted do not pose a threat to our country. These safeguards include biometric (fingerprint) and biographic checks, medical screenings, and a lengthy interview by specially trained DHS officers who scrutinize the applicant’s explanation of individual circumstances to assess whether the applicant meets statutory requirements to qualify as a refugee and that he or she does not present security concerns to the United States. Mindful of the particular conditions of the Syria crisis, Syrian refugees – who have had their lives uprooted by conflict and continue to live amid conditions so harsh that many set out on dangerous, often deadly, journeys seeking new places of refuge – go through additional forms of security screening, including a thorough pre-interview analysis of each individual’s refugee application. Additionally, DHS interviewers receive extensive, Syria-specific training before meeting with refugee applicants. Of the 2,174 Syrian refugees admitted to the United States since September 11, 2001, not a single one has been arrested or deported on terrorism-related grounds.

No Room at the InnThe certification requirement at the core of H.R. 4038 is untenable and would provide no meaningful additional security for the American people, instead serving only to create significant delays and obstacles in the fulfillment of a vital program that satisfies both humanitarian and national security objectives. No refugee is approved for travel to the United States under the current system until the full array of required security vetting measures have been completed. Thus, the substantive result sought through this draft legislation is already embedded into the program. The Administration recognizes the importance of a strong, evolving security screening in our refugee admissions program and devotes considerable resources to continually improving the Nation’s robust security screening protocols. The measures called for in this bill would divert resources from these effortsiven the lives at stake and the critical importance to our partners in the Middle East and Europe of American leadership in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis, if the President were presented with H.R. 4038, he would veto the bill.

The House of #Republimen are slated to vote TOMORROW on this wasteful showboat legislation. Instead of helping to resolve the crisis before Syrian refugees, H.R. 4038 is nothing but dreadful political grandstanding that directly enhances ISIS recruitment efforts worldwide.

Potential refugees ARE already vetted. But, hypocritical #Republimen, who claim to hate wasteful spending and bureaucracy, are once again wasting what limited legislative time that is available for critical legislative action, taking a showboat vote on a useless, and truly wasteful bill that will seriously add to the bureaucracy and increase costs.  So much for being the small government fiscally responsible crowd.

H.R. 4038 is one bill that President Obama can’t veto fast enough.

How Democratic presidential candidates propose to handle terror threats at home and abroad, in light of the Paris attacks and the shifting threat of the Islamic State:

Senator Bernie Sanders on PBS News Hour with Gwen Ifill:

Secretary Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail today:

(I couldn’t find any YouTube video from Gov. Martin O’Malley subsequent to the debate and the Paris attack on this issue at the time of this post.)

Republican Presidential Candidates Fear-Monger While Experts Support the Iran Deal

— by CAP Action War Room

This afternoon, GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) slammed the Iran nuclear deal at a rally outside the Capitol. Other guests at the rally included former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame. Unsurprisingly, Trump’s comments at the rally were colorful. At one point he said, “When Obama talks about the ‘supreme leader,’ it’s almost like he’s got total admiration for him,” apparently unaware of the fact that Supreme Leader is the official title of Iran’s head of state. Sen. Cruz, for his part, called the deal “ catastrophic” and fear-mongered that “Americans will die, Israelis will die, Europeans will die.”

On the other side of 2016 presidential race and across town, Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also spoke on the deal today. Clinton gave a more serious policy speech in which she outlined a five-point plan focused on building allies in the region to counter Iran. Clinton is not alone in her support for the deal. In fact, she is joined by many right-leaning experts who understand the importance of the negotiations. Here’s a list of just a few of the many bi-partisan supporters of the plan:

  • Brent Scowcroft, A retired Lieutenant General in the Air Force, National Security Advisor to Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush, Military Assistant to President Nixon, and Chairman of President G. W. Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board: “Let us be clear: There is no credible alternative were Congress to prevent U.S. participation in the nuclear deal. If we walk away, we walk away alone.”
  • Senator Richard Lugar, Served as Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy: “[T]his agreement represents our best chance to stop an Iranian bomb without another war in the Middle East.”
  • Nicholas Burns, A career foreign service officer who served as Undersecretary of Political Affairs under President G. W. Bush and Permanent U.S. Representative to NATO: “Let’s not give up on Obama’s diplomacy. It is still the surest path to where we should want to be with Iran after the deep freeze of the last three decades.”
  • Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State under President G. W. Bush, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for President George H. W. Bush, National Security Advisor to President Reagan and four-star general in the United States Army: “My judgment after balancing those two sets of information is that it’s a pretty good deal.”
  • Paul Volcker, Federal Reserve chairman under President Reagan: “I honestly think this agreement is as good as you are going to get.”
  • Thomas Pickering, A career foreign service officer who served as U.S. Ambassador to Israel under President Reagan, and U.S. Ambassador to U.N. under President George H.W. Bush: “My sense is that this is a good agreement and it has a lot of advantages for the United States and the rest of the P5+1.”
  • Shlomo Ben-Ami, Former Israeli Foreign Minister and Security Minister, Current Vice President of the Toledo International Centre for Peace: “[The deal] creates a solid framework to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons for the next 10-15 years – and that is a very positive development.”

The consensus from each of these validators is clear: the Iran nuclear agreement is a good deal. It was reached through strong diplomacy and is the strictest, most intrusive inspection and verification agreement ever negotiated that blocks all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb. To walk away now would be irresponsible and squander important progress.

BOTTOM LINE: The Iran deal is the best option we have to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon now or in the future. It is a crucial first step that will allow the United States and its allies to more strongly oppose any destabilizing behavior in the Middle East. But in order for all the benefits of the deal to be realized, Congress must approve the deal so attention can turn to robust implementation of the agreement.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

Hillary Clinton on the Iran Deal

Consistent, Tough, and Effective Leadership to Counter Threats from Iran

Hillary Clinton has led the international effort to counter Iran’s support for terrorism, stop its destabilizing role in the Middle East, confront its Holocaust denial and threats against Israel, and ensure Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon. As President, she will be just as determined to hold Iran to its obligations while countering its other malicious activities. She will also work to bolster the strength and security of Israel and our other allies in the region.

Clinton’s Record:

As a Senator from New York, Clinton sponsored or co-sponsored numerous bills to tighten sanctions on Iran, isolate and weaken Iran’s terrorist proxies, combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, and support Israel. She saw clearly what a grave menace to global security a nuclear Iran would be. As a Senator, Clinton laid out a strategy for how to engage Iran from a position of strength, saying in a speech back in 2006:

“U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal. We cannot and should not—must not—permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. In order to prevent that from occurring, we must have more support vigorously and publicly expressed by China and Russia, and we must move as quickly as feasible for sanctions in the United Nations. And we cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership of Iran—that they will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons.”
—Hillary Clinton Speech at Princeton University, 01/19/06

As the nation’s chief diplomat from 2009-2013, Secretary Clinton rallied the international community to impose suffocating sanctions on Tehran for its illicit nuclear program. When President Obama and Secretary Clinton came into office, Iran was racing toward a nuclear capability and the world was divided on what to do about it. Under the Bush Administration, Iran had mastered the nuclear fuel cycle. Unilateral U.S. sanctions were having little effect. So President Obama and Secretary Clinton designed and implemented a two-pronged strategy: pressure and engagement.

By increasing our military capabilities in the region—sending an additional aircraft carrier, a battleship, and the most advanced radar and missile defense systems—the U.S. ensured Iran felt both the strength of our military and our commitment to regional security. Meanwhile, through tough diplomacy, steadfast leadership, and countless meetings, Clinton marshaled all the major powers, including Russia and China, to impose the strongest-ever international sanctions regime on Iran.

At the State Department, Clinton also oversaw the strengthening of sanctions against Iran for its proliferation activities, support for terrorism, and human rights violations. She worked closely with the Treasury Department and Congress to craft sanctions that would maximize economic pressure on Tehran and also gain maximum compliance from the rest of the world. Under her watch, sanctions became global in scope. They reached private sector entities, such as foreign banks that had been floating Iran’s economy, resulting in massive inflation and economic losses for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. The pressure from these global sanctions ultimately forced Iran to the negotiating table, leading to an agreement that cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb and imposes unprecedented enforcement and verification measures.

Alongside the dual-track strategy, Clinton has made support for Israel and solidarity with U.S. allies a cornerstone of her approach to countering Iran’s aggression in the region. Prime Minister Netanyahu and others credited the Obama administration during her tenure as Secretary of State with elevating security support and cooperation with Israel to “unprecedented” levels. In 2012, she was the driving force behind launching a strategic coordination platform with our partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council to confront threats to regional security.

The Dual Track Strategy

Pressure Track:

  • Achieved strongest-ever UN sanctions resolution on Iran,1 passing UNSC Resolution 1929 in June 2010.2
  • Rotated additional aircraft carrier group and military assets to the Persian Gulf.3
  • Continued building Israel’s defense capabilities4 and strengthening Gulf States’ ability to deter and resist Iranian aggression.5
  • Closed Iran off from global markets and the international financial system, working with Congress and our European and Asian allies.6
  • Convinced Iran’s major oil customers to cut back, starving the regime of income.7

Engagement Track:

  • Sent senior aides to engage in initial secret diplomacy with Iran, testing Iran’s readiness to negotiate.8
  • That initial diplomacy produced an interim nuclear agreement negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran.9
  • The interim nuclear agreement led to a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that blocks all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb and imposes unprecedented enforcement and verification measures.10

Clinton’s Vision:

Clinton supports vigorously enforcing the nuclear agreement as part of a broader strategy toward Iran that includes bolstering deterrence and aggressively confronting Iran’s unacceptable behavior in the region.

To enforce the deal, her approach will be distrust and verify. As President, she’ll hold the line against Iranian non-compliance, imposing penalties even for small violations, and will make sure the IAEA has the resources it needs to keep Iran’s feet to the fire. And she will not hesitate to take military action if Iran attempts to pursue a nuclear weapon.

Clinton also has a plan to counter Iran’s other malicious behavior:

  1. Deepen America’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, continuing to guarantee Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge and increasing support for its rocket and missile defenses, including for northern Israel, and for intelligence sharing. Hillary will support selling Israel the most sophisticated fighter aircraft ever developed—and will push for better tunnel detection technology to prevent infiltration by terrorists and arms smuggling.
  2. Reaffirm that the Persian Gulf is a region of vital interest to the United States, expand our military presence in the region and act to keep the Strait of Hormuz open. She will increase security cooperation in areas like intelligence sharing, military backing and missile defense with our Gulf allies, to ensure they can defend themselves against Iranian aggression, including cyber-attacks or other nontraditional threats.
  3. Build a coalition to counter Iran’s proxies, particularly Hezbollah: enforcing and strengthening the rules prohibiting weapons transfers to Hezbollah; looking at new ways to choke off their funding; and pressing our partners to treat Hezbollah as the terrorist organization it is. Additionally, she will crack down on the shipment of weapons to Hamas, and push Turkey and Qatar to end their financial support. She will also press our partners to prevent IRGC-linked aircraft and ships from entering their territories, and to block Iranian planes from entering their airspace on their way to Yemen and Syria. And she will vigorously enforce—and strengthen if necessary—sanctions on Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and prohibitions on sending arms to bad actors like North Korea and Syria.
  4. Stand against Iran’s abuses at home, from its detention of political prisoners to its crackdown on freedom of expression, including online, by enforcing and—if need be—broadening our human rights sanctions. And she will not rest until every single American citizen detained or missing in Iran is home.
  5. Strengthen efforts to generate stability and counter extremism by renewing diplomacy to solve the destructive regional conflicts that Iran fuels; providing material assistance to support countries’ abilities to defend their borders and guard against terrorism; and strengthening institutions across the region to foster inclusivity and undermine the forces of extremism. And as the richest and most powerful nation on Earth, she believes we must also lead in helping the millions of people who have been uprooted by conflict.

In short, her strategy will cover all the bases, addressing not only Iran’s nuclear ambitions but also its support of terrorism. Not only its hatred of Israel, but also its cruelty toward its own citizens. Not only its military resources, but also its economic strengths and weakness. She will be creative, committed, vigilant, and will continue strengthening our partnerships with our friends and allies.

Related Resources:

1“Assessing the resiliency of Hillary Clinton,” Michael O’Hanlon, Reuters, 01/14/13
2“U.N. imposes another round of sanctions on Iran,” Washington Post, 06/10/10
3“U.S. decides to keep beefed-up presence in Middle East waters,” CNN, 07/16/12
4Hillary Clinton at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy 7th Annual Forum, 12/10/10
5“U.S. and Gulf Allies Pursue a Missile Shield Against Iranian Attack,” New York Times, 08/08/12
6U.S. Department of State, accessed 09/08/15
7Hillary Clinton at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy 2012 Saban Forum Opening Gala Dinner, 11/30/12
8“Deal Reached on Iran Nuclear Program; Limits on Fuel Would Lessen With Time,” New York Times, 07/14/15
9“U.S., Iran have ‘constructive’ nuclear talks in Geneva: U.S.,” Reuters, 08/07/14
10“The Iran Nuclear Deal: What You Need To Know About The JCPOA,” The White House, 07/14/15

Bernie Sanders on the Iran Deal

Supporting Iran Nuclear Deal, Sanders Cites Lessons from War in Iraq

Press Release: Wednesday, September 9, 2015

In a Senate floor speech later today, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will detail his support for an agreement to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. In prepared remarks, Sanders likened critics of the agreement to those in Congress who voted to take the United States to war in Iraq in 2003.

“Those who have made every effort to thwart the diplomatic process and have spoken out against the Iran agreement, including many in this chamber, are the same people who spoke out forcefully on the need to go to war with Iraq,” Sanders said.

“I voted against the war in Iraq.  Sadly, much of what I feared in fact did happen. I do not want to see it happen again.”

Sanders statement came as the Senate debated a resolution to disapprove the proposed agreement. “I fear that many of my Republican colleagues do not understand that war must be a last resort, not the first resort,” Sanders said.

The deal – which would require Iran to dismantle most of its nuclear program for at least a decade – “has the best chance of limiting Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon while avoiding yet another war in the region,” Sanders said.

“It is my firm belief that the test of a great nation is not how many wars it can engage in, but how it can resolve international conflicts in a peaceful manner. I believe we have an obligation to pursue diplomatic solutions before resorting to military engagement – especially after nearly 14 years of ill-conceived and disastrous military engagements in the region,” he said.

The agreement calls for Iran to reduce its stockpile of uranium, dismantle the country’s heavy-water nuclear reactor and would subject Iran to rigorous monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Does the agreement achieve everything I would like?  Of course not.  But to my mind, it is far better than the path we were on – with Iran developing nuclear weapons capability and the potential for military intervention by the U.S. and Israel growing greater by the day,” Sanders said.

A is for August and Advocacy … in support of the #IranDeal

August is when members of Congress are supposed to be meeting with their constituents to discuss issues before them.  If you get a chance to attend such a meeting, please express your support for the Iran Deal and ask for your Senator’s and Congressman’s support.

As of the date of this post, there are 32 days remaining before Congress must take action on the Iran Deal before them.  Even if you don’t get a chance to attend a meeting, you can always pick up your phone and call their offices:

Senator Harry ReidTwitter
202-224-3542 (DC) / 702-388-5020 (LV) /
775-686-5750 (Reno) / 775-882-7343 (Carson)

Senator Dean HellerTwitter
202-224-6244 (DC) / 702-388-6605 (LV) /
775-686-5770 (Reno) / 775-738-2001 (Elko)

Representative Dina Titus (CD1) … Twitter
202-225-5965 (DC) / 702-220-9823 (LV)

Representative Mark Amodei (CD2) … Twitter
202-225-6155 (DC) / 775-686-5760 (Reno)

Representative Joe Heck (CD3) … Twitter
202-225-3252 (DC) / 702-387-4941 (LV)

Representative Cresent Hardy (CD4) … Twitter
(202) 225-9894 (DC)

The U.S. + Five world powers have reached a deal with Iran to stop its potential path to a nuclear weapon. The deal is supported by over 60 nuclear security experts, more than 100 American ambassadors, 75% of Democrats, and 54% of all Americans.But the architects of the Iraq War are fighting to kill the deal. John Bolton says, 'Preemptive military action is now inescapable' and Bill Kristol says, 'Airstrikes to set back the Iranian nuclear weapons program are preferable to this deal.'Opponents are pressuring Congress by spending over $40 million to put the U.S. on a path to war with Iran. But millions of dollars can't drown out millions of voices.Americans have added more than 700,000 petition signatures and more than 100,000 calls to Congress to defend the deal. Members of Congress have less than 60 days to decide whether or not to veto the deal. Now is the time to flood their offices and town hall meetings.

Visit 60daystostopawar.com to find events near you or to call your member of Congress. Tell them: A vote against the Iran deal is a vote for war.

Resources:

Five Things You Need to Understand: #Iran Deal

— from the White House

The U.S. and our international partners have secured the strongest nuclear arrangement ever negotiated. Thanks to the nuclear deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the world can verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

It’s an historic deal. It’s vital to our national security and that of our allies, like Israel. It’s also very detailed and can seem a bit complicated. So if you’re looking to dive deep into the details, here are five things you should explore to better understand why this deal will ensure Iran’s nuclear program will remain exclusively peaceful moving forward.

Watch This: President Obama’s speech at American University

Fifty-two years ago, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech at American University on the importance of peace in the nuclear age. This week, President Obama returned there to do the same. He outlined exactly what’s in the Iran deal and what’s at stake should Congress reject it.

260Print This: A packet of everything on the Iran deal

Looking for a deep dive into the specifics of the JCPOA? Want to know what security officials, nuclear scientists, and other experts have to say about it?

Peruse this packet of information on the details of the Iran deal online, or print it and take it with you.

Share This: A few FAQs on the Iran deal

Click here for FAQs on the Iran dealAs the President has said, there’s a lot of misinformation and falsehoods out there about what exactly is in the deal and how it will work.

Check out WhiteHouse.gov/Iran-Deal to get the answers you’re looking for — and a lot more on how this deal blocks all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb.

Read This: The enhanced text of the Iran deal

Read the full text of the Iran dealYou can read all 159 pages of the Iran deal with comments from the people who negotiated it and who will implement it.

Find it on Medium — then share it with everyone who wants to dig into the specifics of the way the deal provides unprecedented transparency to monitor Iran’s nuclear fuel cycle, the robust verification regime, and more.

Follow This on Twitter: @TheIranDeal

Want updates on the Iran deal in realtime?

Follow @TheIranDeal for live fact-checks, news updates, and exclusive insights on the significance of this historic deal — along with the next steps we need to take to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and avoid another conflict in the Middle East.

Follow @TheIranDeal on Twitter

As Congress moves through its 60-day review period of the deal, stay tuned for more updates on this important diplomatic achievement.

Has Senator Heller Committed Seditious Conspiracy Along Side 46 Other Senators?

Heller 3I awoke this morning to hear that 47 U.S. Senators had signed a letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran basically telling them (1) not to trust our nation’s President to negotiate an agreement as to Iran’s nuclear program, (2) that no matter what might be negotiated, and (3) come 2017 when a new President (presumably Republican) takes office, well, he’ll just scrap that agreement.  Nevada’s Senator Dean Heller was on of those 47 signatures.  News flash Senator Heller, the President of the United States is NOT the lone Emperor of the World!

Here’s Senator Heller’s tweet:

HellerTweet03

Here’s the letter from 47 imbecilic Senators who  don’t understand the U.S. Constitution and the roles different parts of our government play, who have no rudimentary understanding of our obligations under international law and who appear to have colluded to commit seditious conspiracy to undermine the government the swore to faithfully serve:

Javad ZarifAh … but the story doesn’t end with the mere issuance of that letter.  Iranian Foreign Minister, Dr. Javad Zarif, responded that to the letter signed by the 47 Senators, “in our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy. It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history. This indicates that like Netanyahu, who considers peace as an existential threat, some are opposed to any agreement, regardless of its content.”

Zarif was astonished that 47 members of our US Senate, some of whom have held those positions for decades, believe it to be appropriate to write to leaders of another country expressing opposition their own president and administration. Zarif also challenged the lawmakers’ threats, dismissing the letter as a mere “propaganda ploy with no legal value.”  He went further explaining, “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.”

Foreign Minister Zarif added that “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. The authors may not fully understand that in international law, governments represent the entirety of their respective states, are responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, are required to fulfil the obligations they undertake with other states and may not invoke their internal law as justification for failure to perform their international obligations.”

Iranian Foreign Minister added that “change of administration does not in any way relieve the next administration from international obligations undertaken by its predecessor in a possible agreement about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.” He continued “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.” He emphasized that if the current negotiation with the 5+1 results in a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it will not be a bilateral agreement between Iran and the US, but rather one that will be concluded with the participation of five other countries, including all permanent members of the Security Council, and will also be endorsed by a Security Council resolution.

Zarif expressed hope that his comments “may enrich the knowledge of the authors to recognize that according to 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 US obligations.”

The Foreign Minister also informed the authors that majority of US international agreements in recent decades are in fact what the signatories describe as “mere executive agreements” and not treaties ratified by the Senate. He reminded them that “their letter in fact undermines the credibility of thousands of such ‘mere executive agreements’ that have been or will be entered into by the US with various other governments.”

Zarif concluded by stating that “the Islamic Republic of Iran has entered these negotiations in good faith and with the political will to reach an agreement, and it is imperative for our counterparts to prove similar good faith and political will in order to make an agreement possible.”

President Obama also condemned the action of the 47 Senators saying, “I think it’s somewhat ironic to see some members for Congress wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran. It’s an unusual coalition.”

As far as I’m concerned, I truly hope the Attorney General introduces each and every one of those 47 Senators with reality by charging them with blatant violation of the Logan Act, which ironically is a law passed by the US Congress and signed by President John Adams.  The Logan Act is a U.S. federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with or interfering with negotiations with foreign governments. It was passed in 1799 and last amended in 1994. Violation of the Logan Act is a felony, punishable under federal law with fines, as well as the possibility of imprisonment of up to three years.  Clearly, the US Constitution does NOT delegate the responsibility for negotiation agreements or treaties to the US Congress.  Foreign affairs is clearly the responsibility of the executive, the President of the United States of America.

This is the second incident the GOP has orchestrated to embarrass the President of the United States and undermine his authority.  When is the President going to finally unleash the Attorney General of the United States to put an end to the seditious conspiracies being concocted against the better interests of these United States?