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Posts tagged ‘Ed Royce’

Rep. Hastings Announces Retirement In Wake of Debt-Ceiling Vote.


Image: Rep. Hastings Announces Retirement In Wake of Debt-Ceiling Vote

 

By Todd Beamon

Rep. Doc Hastings on Thursday became the latest House Republican to announce his retirement — two days after he was part of a critical coalition of House leaders, made up of retiring GOP members and representatives primarily from Northeastern states, that backed a controversial bill to raise America’s debt ceiling without restrictions.

“Last Friday, I celebrated my 73rd birthday, and while I have the ability and seniority to continue serving central Washington, it is time for the voters to choose a new person with new energy to represent them in the people’s House,” Hastings said in a statement.

First elected in 1995, Hastings is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and recently called for overhauling the Endangered Species Act, charging that the 40-year-old law has been abused by environmental groups seeking to restrict development in the name of species protection.

The announcement came a day after GOP Rep. Gary Miller, 66, of California said that he was retiring after more than 15 years in the House because of family issues.

Hastings is now the 24th member of Congress to say that this year would be his last. He joins 13 Republicans and 11 Democrats to disclose their impending departures from Capitol Hill.

In the House, he is the 11th Republican and 18th member overall to announce his retirement.

But on Tuesday, Hastings and Miller joined with Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and 23 other House Republicans to support a one-year extension of the nation’s borrowing authority — agreeing to President Barack Obama’s demands for a debt-limit increase without any conditions.

Boehner backed the legislation, which won on a 221-201 vote. Two Democrats, John Barrow of Georgia and Jim Matheson of Utah, joined the GOP in rejecting it.

Besides splitting the House leadership — the No. 4 Republican, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the highest-ranking House GOP woman, was among the leaders to vote “no” — the vote rankled conservatives, tea party supporters and rank-and-file Republicans.

The Senate Conservatives Fund even charged that Boehner should be replaced as speaker.

These groups were further outraged the next day when the Senate voted — after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, and Minority Whip John Cornyn, of Texas, led an assault on a filibuster by Sen. Ted Cruz — to pass a similar debt bill on a straight 55-43 party-line vote.

In the House, the 28 Republicans voting for the measure included six who are retiring at the end of the year. Besides Hastings and Miller, they are Howard Coble, N.C.; Buck McKeon, Calif.; Jon Runyan, N.J.; and Frank Wolf, Va.

“You’ve got retirees, the leadership and Republicans in safe districts with a Northeastern bias,” political analyst and pollster Doug Schoen explained to Newsmax on Thursday.

“Basically, the votes they gave were enough to get it passed — and they didn’t want to put anyone at risk,” he added. “It was retirees, leadership, and Northeastern moderate Republicans who could take the vote without a problem.”

Others in the top House leadership who supported the debt ceiling bill included Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, Mich.; Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, Calif.; Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, Ky.; and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, Calif.

Those Northeastern Republicans on board included four from New York — Reps. Chris Collins, Michael Grimm, Richard Hanna, Peter King — as well as three each from neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Seven California House members backed the measure.

“Put it another way: For the Republican base, this is toxic — and the way the process was organized was to insulate the party and its grass-roots as much as possible to avoid any political problems,” Schoen told Newsmax.

The primary problem was avoiding another federal government shutdown, similar to the partial one that lasted 16 days in October and cost taxpayers $1.4 billion — especially when the GOP could possibly retake the Senate in this fall’s congressional elections.

“It goes back to their basis thesis: We get through this. We don’t fight on an issue we can’t win because, ultimately, this election is moving in our direction — and we don’t need to have a problem like the problem we had with the government shutdown.”

Political strategist Dick Morris described the House skirmishing on Thursday as “phony” and “fraudulent.”

“Boehner went to his caucus and said: ‘Hey guys, let’s approve the debt limit in return for pretty-good spending cuts or other restorations,'” Morris told John Bachman on “America’s Forum” on Newsmax TV. “The House Republicans said, or enough of them said: ‘We’re not going to vote for a debt-limit increase under any circumstance. You could balance the whole budget and we’re not going to go for it.’

“He didn’t have his 218 votes to pass it — and he couldn’t get any Democratic votes if there were cuts,” Morris said of Boehner.

The Ohio Republican then put together the GOP coalition to support the clean bill.

“All of these Republican congressmen can now go to their primary opponents from the tea party and say, ‘Hey, I voted against raising the debt limit’ — knowing darn well that they were willing to vote for it if they needed it,” Morris said.

Schoen saw it another way.

“The Republican Party did not want to vote to increase the debt ceiling,” he said. “Because they are in the majority, they had to provide some votes — in this case, 28 — to go along with near-unanimous Democratic support to get it done.

“The leadership understood that it was in their interest, long-term, to increase the debt ceiling without any riders or any possibility of paralyzing the government,” Schoen added. “The vast majority of Republicans, for a variety of reasons, disagree.

“For John Boehner, this became a practical step to avoid more political harakiri.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Cantor Pushes Bipartisan Bill on Iran Deal.


Image: Cantor Pushes Bipartisan Bill on Iran Deal

By Sandy Fitzgerald

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has told House Republicans he wants a bipartisan bill to define what would be an acceptable outcome in a final deal with Iran on its nuclear development program.

According to the National Journal, the Virginia Republican, told colleagues Tuesday he is “really upset” with the U.S.-negotiated agreement that lifts some economic sanctions while forcing Iran to freeze only portions of its nuclear program.

The deal sets a six-month deadline to reach a broader international agreement, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are questioning its initial terms.

Cantor, the Journal noted, is working with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce on possible legislation that would “speak volumes” about what Congress expects out of a final agreement.

One senior Republican aide told the Journal that Cantor wants a total prohibition on Iran’s nuclear program and is pushing for a bipartisan agreement on that point that can be written into legislation.

Cantor’s office declined to comment on the details of what a final bill might look like. But his spokesman, Rory Cooper, told the Journal, “The leader does not believe the interim agreement with Iran was in our nation’s best interests, and he will work with fellow members, Republican and Democrat, to determine that any final deal definitively addresses congressional concerns.”

The House has already passed its own measure to keep pressure on Iran through sanctions, but the Democratic controlled Senate is reportedly under White House pressure to back off a sanctions bill that could be pushed through before Christmas.

The Obama administration believes such a bill could hinder talks with Iran leading up to a permanent deal. But Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez says new sanctions will “strengthen the administration’s hand” by showing Iran what will happen if it fails to reach an acceptable agreement in six months.

Related stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Democratic Rep. Engle: Deal With Iran is ‘Squishy’.


Image: Democratic Rep. Engle: Deal With Iran is 'Squishy'

 

By Audrey Hudson

 

The Obama administration’s deal with Iran to roll back the rogue country’s nuclear program is not winning much support from key Democrats, including Rep. Eliot Engel of New York who expressed doubt on Sunday the plan will succeed without continued sanctions.

“I don’t think you make them bargain in good faith by going squishy,” Engel, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I think we could have played good cop, bad cop, and Congress really believes sanctions should happen,” Engle said. “That’s what brought Iran to the table in the first place.”
Another key Democrat, Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, said in a statement that he was disappointed in the interim deal reached in Geneva regarding Iran’s nuclear program, saying “it does not seem proportional” because “Iran simply freezes its nuclear capabilities while we reduce the sanctions.”

The Senate agreed unanimously to keep financial sanctions on Iran, and the House passed a similar measure this summer on a 400-20 vote.

Republican Rep. Ed Royce of California, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also appeared on CNN and said sanctions are the tools needed to keep up pressure on Iran to keep its word.

“Unless we understand that the people who run Iran, that send the protestors out to chant ‘death to America’ last month in the streets, unless we understand that they are capable of cheating and have in place the ability to really ratchet up, we’re going to find ourselves exactly where we found ourselves with North Korea, which will be that nuclear capability will be in the hands of the ayatollah,” Royce said.

“I think we need to be very careful with the Iranians, I don’t trust them,” Royce said. “I don’t think we should trust them, but I think we have to make [the agreement] work.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

House Passes Bill to Strengthen Security at U.S. Embassies.


The House passed a bill that would authorize additional Marines to protect American embassies, more expensive contracts for guarding overseas posts and funding for State Department operations in fiscal 2014.

The $15.6 billion bill would match the White House request for $2.65 billion in funds to improve embassy security.

“We need the Marines at the gate, we need to guard the gate, it needs to be reinforced,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, a California Republican.

The closure of several U.S. embassies and consulates in August “demonstrate the continued threat to our facilities and personnel overseas,” he said during floor debate before the House passed the measure 384-37.

The legislation builds on previous measures that provided for increased security in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, 2012, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The vote comes amid a budget impasse in Washington that could lead to a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

Funding for an additional 156 Marines to guard overseas posts would be authorized, as would construction of 26 access points at high-risk posts, according to a House Foreign Affairs Committee summary of the bill. There are currently about 1,200 Marines guarding embassies and consulates, with another 1,000 in the process of being moved into the Marine Security Guard program.

Risky Posts

The State Department would be required to compile a list of high-risk posts and ensure their security and funding needs are met. The department also would be required to collaborate with the Pentagon to draw up contingency plans for emergencies, including rapid deployment of military forces.

Changes to security contracts for high-threat outposts would be authorized, meaning the State Department would be allowed to solicit what are known as best-value contracts, which take into consideration a company’s past performance, expertise and other non-financial factors that can end up costing more. Current law says the State Department must accept the lowest-bid contract that meets all necessary criteria.

The best-value contracts probably would apply to five high- threat posts, according to a Sept. 24 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Existing contracts at those posts exceed $115 million, according to CBO, which estimates that new contracts would cost 40 percent more.

Many of the embassy-security provisions come from H.R. 2723, a bill sponsored by Representative Eliot Engel of New York, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Other provisions in the bill would authorize $1.9 billion for contributions to international peacekeeping activities, compared with $2 billion enacted in 2013 before implementation of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.

Another section would authorize $1.4 billion for contributions to international organizations of which the U.S. is a member. That compares with $1.55 billion in 2013 and the $1.57 billion requested by the White House.

 

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Menendez, Royce Say Snowden Should Return to US.


Both Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez and Republican Rep. Ed Royce on Sunday called for fugitive Edward Snowden to return to the United States to face trial.

“In my view, Edward Snowden is a fugitive who deserves to be in an American courtroom, not in asylum in Russia,” Menendez said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Snowden has been on the lam since May following his sensational revelations about intelligence tracking by the National Security Agency.

“When we have our sources and methods known by our enemies, we undermine the national security of the United States,” said Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The threat is real, and the terrorists have to only get lucky once. We have to do it right 100 percent of the time. That’s a tough standard.”

Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, agreed with Menendez.

“When you have someone who is giving out the means and methods in which we’re tracking al-Qaida, it is a problem for the United States,” he said.

Royce believes Snowden “could get a fair trial in the United States.”

“Going to China and going to Russia was not the solution to the problem,” he said. “It compounds our difficulties in the United States with respect to al-Qaida.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Amy Woods

Al-Qaida Threat Forces Prompts Travel Warning, Embassy Closures.


The threat of a terrorist attack led to the weekend closure of 21 U.S. embassies and consulates in the Muslim world and a global travel warning to Americans, the first such alert since an announcement before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 strikes.”There is a significant threat stream and we’re reacting to it,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told ABC News, according to interview excerpts released Friday. He said the threat was “more specific” than previous ones and the “intent is to attack Western, not just U.S. interests.”

The warning comes less than a year since last year’s deadly Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, and with the Obama administration and Congress determined to prevent any similar breach of an American embassy or consulate.

The State Department‘s warning urged U.S. travelers to take extra precautions overseas. It cited potential dangers involved with public transportation systems and other prime sites for tourists, and noted that previous attacks have centered on subway and rail networks as well as airplanes and boats.

Travelers were advised to sign up for State Department alerts and register with U.S. consulates in the countries they visit.

The statement said that al-Qaida or its allies might target either U.S. government or private American interests. The alert expires on Aug. 31.

The State Department said the potential for terrorism was particularly acute in the Middle East and North Africa, with a possible attack occurring on or coming from the Arabian Peninsula. The diplomatic facilities affected stretch from Mauritania in northwest Africa to Afghanistan.

U.S. officials pointed specifically to Yemen, the home of al-Qaida’s most dangerous affiliate and the network blamed for several notable plots against the United States, from the foiled Christmas Day 2009 effort to bomb an airliner over Detroit to the explosives-laden parcels intercepted the following year aboard cargo flights.

“Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August,” a department statement said.

Yemen’s president, Abdo Rabby Mansour Hadi, met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday, where both leaders cited strong counterterrorism cooperation. This past week, Yemen’s military reported a U.S. drone strike killed six alleged al-Qaida militants in the group’s southern strongholds.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, said the embassy threat was linked to al-Qaida and concerned the Middle East and Central Asia.

“In this instance, we can take a step to better protect our personnel and, out of an abundance of caution, we should,” Royce said. He declined to say if the National Security Agency’s much-debated surveillance program helped reveal the threat.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: NEWSmax.com

Disciplined State Dept. Employee to Testify on Benghazi Before Congress.


A State Department employee who says he was unfairly disciplined in the wake of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya will testify before Congress next week.

Raymond Maxwell, the former deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Maghreb Affairs, was placed on administrative leave in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 assault in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Maxwell was one of four State Department employees disciplined after an independent State Department investigation of the attack, but he insisted that he played no role in decisions that were made that denied the embassy’s requests for more security, The Hill reports.

“I had no involvement to any degree with decisions on security and the funding of security at our diplomatic mission in Benghazi,” Maxwell told the Daily Beast in May after he filed a grievance with the State Department’s Human Resources Bureau and the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA).

Maxwell is scheduled to appear before a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday, the Hill reports. An AFSA representative is also expected to testify, along with American Academy of Diplomacy President Ronald Neumann, who is a former ambassador to Algeria, Bahrain and Afghanistan.

The committee is led by Chairman GOP Rep. Ed Royce of California.

In addition, the House Oversight Committee — chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, also a California Republican — has deposed the co-authors of the State Department’s Accountability Review Board, which reportedly recommended that Maxwell be punished for failing to read his intelligence briefings, the Hill reports.

Democrats attending the depositions told the Hill that Maxwell’s treatment appeared to be of particular interest to Republicans on Issa’s committee, according to the Hill.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Todd Beamon

 
 

In Chavez’s death, Obama sees hope for ‘new chapter’.


 

Supporters of Venezuela‘s President Hugo Chavez react to the announcement of his death in Caracas, March 5, 2013. …

Updated from 7:49 p.m. March 5

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the show-stopping socialist who once dubbed then-President George W. Bushthe devil” and scorned President Barack Obama as a “clown,” probably won’t be missed much in official Washington. Obama led a chorus of politicians saying they hoped that Chavez’s death on Tuesday after a two-year battle with cancer would open a “new chapter” in relations between the United States and one of the world’s top 20 oil exporters.

“At this challenging time,” Obama said in a written statement hours after Chavez’s death was announced, “the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government.

“As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights,” Obama said.

Over the course of 14 years in power, Chavez won the adoration of Venezuela’s poor by channeling the country’s oil wealth into ambitious social spending. But he earned the loathing of the country’s middle and upper classes by nationalizing key industries and consolidating his power, critics charged, at the expense of democratic institutions. Chavez, sometimes dubbed the “Comandante, angered the United States by embracing countries like Iran and offering his full-throated support to the Castro government in Cuba. American officials often accused him of funneling money to leftist rebels in neighboring Colombia, a close U.S. ally.

And Chavez reciprocated that lack of affection.

In September 2006, the fiery orator addressed the U.N. General Assembly one day after Bush had done so. Chavez declared “the devil was in this very spot yesterday,” crossed himself and added “it smells of sulfur still today.”

And he wasn’t much kinder to Bush’s successor. In December 2011, Obama scolded Chavez for assaulting “democratic values” and rebuked him for seeking closer ties to Iran. Chavez’s response?He dubbed Obama a “clown” and an “embarrassment,” and declared: “Focus on governing your country, which you’ve turned into a disaster.”

But with Chavez now gone, American officials worried about the prospect of chaos in Venezuela and disruptions to oil markets, while openly hoping for better relations with Caracas.

[Slideshow: Venezuela mourns Chavez]

“Hugo Chavez was a destabilizing force in Latin America and an obstacle to progress in the region,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said in a statement. “I hope his death provides an opportunity for a new chapter in U.S.-Venezuelan relations.”

“I hope the transition is one that is smooth and we would develop a better relationship with Venezuela,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada told Yahoo News.

“I’ve been to Venezuela. I’ve been to Caracas. It’s a wonderful country, and I really hope that stable leadership follows and leadership that the United States can work with and be helpful to,” Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein of California told Yahoo News. “The polarization between our countries that was a product of Chavez was not helpful, and hopefully it can end.”

Among the questions being asked in Washington: What will Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who announced Chavez’s death to the world, do now? Will he pursue the style and substance of “Chavismo”? Will Venezuela still stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Castro-ruled Cuba? Can Madura fend off the considerable opposition to Chavez, especially given that the president’s death hardly came as a shock?

“It was no surprise. He was in grave medical shape, and I understand they have 30 days until they have another election so it could be a time of real change in that country,” said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate.

Other lawmakers were a bit more vocal in denouncing Chavez. Republican Ed Royce of California, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the deceased “a tyrant who forced the people of Venezuela to live in fear” and bluntly declared “good riddance.”

“Venezuela once had a strong democratic tradition and was close to the United States,” Royce said. “Chavez’s death sets the stage for fresh elections. While not guaranteed, closer U.S. relations with this key country in our hemisphere are now possible.”

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, considered a leading prospect for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2016, said Chavez’s death could let Venezuela “turn the page on one of the darkest periods in its history.”

[Slideshow: The women in Chavez’s life]

He added, “It is my sincere hope that Venezuela’s leaders will seek to rebuild our once-strong friendship based on shared democratic and free enterprise principles.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez said Chavez had ruled “with an iron hand” but now “left a political void.”

“With free and fair elections, Venezuela can begin to restore its once-robust democracy and ensure respect for the human, political and civil rights of its people,” Menendez said.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on Menendez’s committee, said, “It is my hope that all Venezuelans will have the opportunity to fully exercise their political rights, including freedom of expression and assembly, in fully free and fair constitutionally mandated elections and build a more prosperous future for their country.”

Chavez was not universally reviled in the United States, however.

Democratic Rep. José Serrano said on Twitter that Chavez “understood the needs of the poor” and praised him for “empowering the powerless.”

He added, “R.I.P Mr. President.”

Chavez was an active Twitter user himself. His final message was full of trademark defiance—though some might say delusion.

In a Feb. 18, 2013, tweet, Chavez declared, “I remain firm in Christ and trust in my doctors and nurses. Onwards to victory! We will live and we will triumph!”

While Washington liked to portray Chavez as an isolated rogue, the truth is that his brand of populism had broad appeal across the region. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called his death an “irreparable loss” and praised him as “a friend of the Brazilian people” and a “great Latin American.” President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, whose country for years had accused Chavez of backing leftist rebels on its territory, praised him for working to end that conflict.

I deeply lament the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez,” said Santos. “For Colombia, and for me in particular, the loss of President Chavez has special meaning.”

Chris Moody contributed to this report.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By  | The Ticket

Obama: ‘Ill-advised’ North Korea nuke test needs tough global response.


 

On a large television screen in Pyongyang, state television announces the news that North Korea conducted a nuclear …Bully pulpit, meet the nuclear pulpit. Hours before President Barack Obama planned to deliver his State of the Union, North Korea announced overnight Tuesday that it had tested a nuclear device in response to what it described as American hostility. The defiant move opened the president up to Republican criticism on foreign policy.

Obama promptly led a chorus of international condemnation, warning that the “ill-advised” and “highly provocative” test and a Dec. 12 ballistic missile launch “do not make North Korea more secure.”

“The danger posed by North Korea’s threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community,” the president said in a written statement released by the White House.

The timing was no accident. North Korea’s Stalinist state, technically still at war with South Korea, frequently tries to seize global attention with threats to turn that country’s capital, Seoul, into a “lake of fire.” North Korea also celebrated July 4, 2006, with a ballistic missile launch.

One week ago, it released a bizarre video showing a city resembling New York under missile attack—to the strains of “We Are the World” on the piano. (It could also be an early present for North Korea leader Kim Jong Un’s late father, Kim Jong Il, whose birthday officially falls on Feb. 16).

Administration officials worry that North Korea may be making progress towards constructing a nuclear bomb small enough to fit on a ballistic missile that might someday be able to reach the continental U.S. Obama, like Bush before him, has tightened economic sanctions on the regime in Pyongyang while working with China, Russia, Japan and South Korea in the so-called “Six-Party talks” to pressure the North. Of those countries, China is often described as holding the key: It is North Korea’s last patron in the international community. And it sharply condemned the test.

In Washington, Obama vowed that the U.S. will “continue to take steps necessary” to defend itself and its allies.

“We will strengthen close coordination with allies and partners and work with our Six-Party partners, the United Nations Security Council, and other U.N. member states to pursue firm action,” he declared.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s office confirmed that America’s spy agencies believe North Korea “probably conducted an underground nuclear explosion” with a yield of “approximately several kilotons.” (One kiloton = the approximate power of 1,000 tons of dynamite.)

In Congress, leading Republicans responded by criticizing North Korea—and Obama, who planned to promote nuclear arms reductions in his State of the Union speech.

“It is unfortunate that despite repeated overtures, the North Korean government has chosen to further isolate itself and increasingly destabilize the region,” said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif. “It is also unfortunate that on the same day the president of the United States plans to announce further reductions in U.S. nuclear weapons, we see another hostile regime unimpressed by his example.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said the test shows North Korea isn’t about to give up on its nuclear program and warned it “demands the Obama administration’s attention.”

Royce said Obama’s North Korea policy has “failed” and urged tougher sanctions aimed at “crippling” its military capabilities.

 Source: YAHOO NEWS.

Clinton to testify on Benghazi Jan. 23.


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton holds a briefing book as she sits in her office suite at the State Department …Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify Jan. 23 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the Sept. 11 attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya, the panel’s chairman said late Monday. The terrorist assault claimed the lives of the U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans.

“I appreciate Secretary Clinton’s desire and willingness to testify before the Committee as we continue to examine this deadly terrorist attack in an effort to ensure that nothing like it happens again,” Republican Rep. Ed Royce of California said in a statement.

“My intention is for this hearing to focus on why this attack was not better anticipated, what leadership failures at the State Department existed, and what management deficiencies need to be corrected in order to better secure our diplomatic facilities abroad and protect our diplomats serving in them,” Royce said. “It is important to learn all we can about what happened in Benghazi because at the end of the day, it could happen again. After all, al-Qaeda plans attacks over and over again.”

Clinton had been slated to testify in December, but she suffered a concussion after a fall linked to an illness and had to reschedule. She is due to step down as the top American diplomat, and President Barack Obama has nominated Democratic Sen. John Kerry to succeed her. He is expected to win easy confirmation by the Senate.

Republicans have criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the attack for months, notably in the aftermath of a report that showed the State Department set aside requests for greater security at the compound in Benghazi. Some have also accused the administration of deliberately misleading the American public by linking the assault to protests against an Internet video that mocks Islam; there was no such demonstration outside the facility before the attack.

The controversy led Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, to withdraw her name from consideration to succeed Clinton. And Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte have vowed to question Obama’s nominees for key national security posts about whether the administration could have prevented the tragedy in Benghazi.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.
By  | The Ticket

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