Tammy Duckworth on War & Peace
Duckworth wrote an op-ed explaining her support for the deal. Duckworth said she reviewed the agreement, attended briefings with national security experts and heard from "hundreds" of constituents before reaching a decision. "I have no illusions about the authoritarian Iranian regime," she said in a statement. "Iran is our enemy, it is Israel's enemy and it is the enemy of all nations that seek peace and stability. But Iran's destabilizing role in the region would be much greater if it could obtain nuclear weapons. Therefore preventing a nuclear armed Iran must be our primary goal. While not perfect, I believe the nuclear agreement provides the US and our allies with the most realistic and effective course of action currently available to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program.
While I support withdrawing American combat troops from Afghanistan, the US needs to continue to oppose terrorism around the world. The war in Iraq was a distraction from the real threat posed by Al Qaeda and similar extremist groups, and the new focus on eliminating terrorist leaders and disrupting their operations has been more effective. We need to narrowly focus on threats and eliminate them with minimal risk to our country and our troops. We have to be smarter and more efficient about deploying the military so they can respond appropriately to individual threats.
Congressional Summary: H Amdt 1141 authorizes training and equipping appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition; requires detailed reports (including progress reports) on the plan, vetting process, and procedures for monitoring unauthorized end-use of provided training and equipment; and permits the Secretary of Defense to accept foreign contributions.
Statement in support by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA-25): I offer an amendment to HJ.124 to provide authority to train and equip elements of the Syrian opposition in order to defend the Syrian people from attacks by ISIL and to protect the US and our friends and allies. ISIL is a clear and present threat to our allies across the Middle East and to the US. The President has requested the authority to train and equip nongovernmental entities fighting in the non-U.S.-led operation in Syria. There is no doubt that any strategy to defeat ISIL must contain a Syrian component. I believe that there are options to defeat ISIL in Syria short of a major U.S.-led combat operation. But the window of opportunity is closing.
Statement in opposition by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY-13): I don't see where the President needs authority to do what we are about to allow him to do because of a threat to the US. I haven't come close, in convincing [myself or my constituents] that training people overseas, that we don't know, to fight ISIS is in their best national interest. Already we have lost trillions of dollars and over 6,000 lives in this area, and I don't think we have yet to declare war. This honorable body [should] determine whether or not any enemy is a threat to the US and that we are going to go to war with them, that we should force every American to evaluate whether or not they believe that they are prepared to make sacrifices.
Legislative outcome: Amendment passed House 273-156-9 on 17-Sep-2014.
Axios.com summary: The House passed a symbolic war powers resolution directing President Trump to halt the use of military force against Iran unless he obtains approval from Congress.
The big picture: A classified briefing on the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani [by the US military] left Democrats and even some Republicans deeply skeptical, with many claiming that officials did not provide evidence that there was an "imminent" threat from Iran. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) said they will vote in favor of a similar resolution in the Senate [S J Res 68].
What opponents are saying: Former national security adviser and notorious Iran hawk John Bolton tweeted: "The 1973 War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional. It reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Constitution allocated foreign affairs authority between the President and Congress. The Resolution should be repealed." Pres. Trump quote tweeted Bolton and added: "Smart analysis, I fully agree!"
What supporters are saying: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was one of the few Republicans to vote in favor of the resolution, stating on the House floor: "Killing Soleimani was the right decision, but engaging in another forever war in the Middle East would be the wrong decision." Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced legislation that would block funding for offensive military force against Iran without congressional authorization. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) is also seeking to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has been used repeatedly to justify war in the Middle East in the wake of 9/11. Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against the AUMF in 2001, criticizing it as a "blank check."
Legislative outcome: H Con Res 83 Passed House 224-194-13 on 1/9/20; S J Res 68 passed Senate 55-45-0 on 2/13/20. Vetoed 5/6; Senate veto override failed 5/7/20.
Congressional summary: A resolution affirming the United States commitment to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and noting that Israeli annexation of territory in the West Bank would undermine peace,, harm Israel's relationship with its Arab neighbors, threaten Israel's Jewish and democratic identity, and undermine Israel's security.
Aljazeera summary, 4/22/20: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that it was Israel's decision whether to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, and the US will offer its views on this to the new Israeli government in private. "As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis will ultimately make those decisions," Pompeo told reporters. Israel's intention--in accordance with President Trump's Middle East plan--to annex the Jordan Valley and illegal Jewish settlements would defy international law. Last year, the Trump administration said it would no longer abide by a 1978 State Department legal opinion that the settlements were "inconsistent with international law".
Letter to Secretary Pompeo from 13 members of Congress on 6/30/20: We express our deep concern over the planned annexation of occupied Palestinian territory by the government of Israel. Annexing parts of the West Bank will perpetuate and entrench human rights violations against the Palestinian people, including limitations on freedom of movement and mass expropriation of privately-owned Palestinian land. Furthermore, Israel has stated it will not grant citizenship to Palestinians living in annexed territory or to the many more Palestinians living in the isolated enclaves that Israel will opt not to annex, paving the path toward an apartheid system. Already existing Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, amount to a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Legislative outcome: Never reached a vote.
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Senate races 2021-22:
AK: Incumbent Lisa Murkowski(R)
vs.Challenger Kelly Tshibaka(R)
vs.2020 candidate Al Gross(D)
AL: Incumbent Richard Shelby(R) vs.U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks(R) vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R) vs.Katie Britt(R) vs.Judge Jessica Taylor(R) vs.Brandaun Dean(D) vs.
AR: Incumbent John Boozman(R)
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AZ: Incumbent Mark Kelly(D) vs.CEO Jim Lamon(R) vs.Blake Masters(R) vs.A.G. Mark Brnovich(R) vs.Mick McGuire(R)
CA: Incumbent Alex Padilla(D)
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CO: Incumbent Michael Bennet(D)
CT: Incumbent Richard Blumenthal(D)
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vs.2018 & 2020 House candidate John Flynn(R)
FL: Incumbent Marco Rubio(R)
vs.U.S.Rep. Val Demings(D)
vs.U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson(D)
GA: Incumbent Raphael Warnock(D)
vs.Navy vet Latham Saddler(R)
HI: Incumbent Brian Schatz(D)
vs.Former State Rep. Cam Cavasso(R ?)
IA: Incumbent Chuck Grassley(R)
vs.State Sen. Jim Carlin(R)
vs.Former U.S. Rep IA-1 Abby Finkenauer(D)
ID: Incumbent Mike Crapo(R)
(no prospective opponents yet)
IL: Incumbent Tammy Duckworth(D)
vs.U.S.Rep. Adam Kinzinger(? R)
IN: Incumbent Todd Young(R)
vs.Challenger Haneefah Abdul-Khaaliq(D)
vs.Psychologist Valerie McCray(D)
KS: Incumbent Jerry Moran(R)
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Erica Smith(D) vs.Mark Walker(R) vs.Ted Budd(R) vs.Pat McCrory(R) vs.Cheri Beasley(D) vs.Rett Newton(D) vs.Jeff Jackson(D) vs.Marjorie K. Eastman(R)
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SC: Incumbent Tim Scott(R)
vs.State Rep. Krystle Matthews(D)
SD: Incumbent John Thune(R)
vs.State Rep. Billie Sutton(? D)
UT: Incumbent Mike Lee(R) vs.Allen Glines(D) vs.Austin Searle(D) vs.Evan McMullin(I)
VT: Incumbent Patrick Leahy(D)
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Senate Votes (analysis)