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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Anxious Democrats Criticize Obama Admin On Security & Terrorism Threat

Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec. 9, 2015:
At a ceremony in Emancipation Hall of the United States Capitol Visitor Center, President Obama and leaders of Congress commemorated the 150th anniversary of the 13th amendment to the Constitution ending Slavery in the United States. It reads: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

The House reconvened at 10 AM today. The House is expected to take up H.R. 2130 - "To provide legal certainty to property owners along the Red River in Texas, and for other purposes, and providing for consideration of motions to suspend the rules."

Yesterday the House passed (naming bills for Gov't facilities not identified):
H.R. 158 (407-19) — "To clarify the grounds for ineligibility for travel to the United States regarding terrorism risk, to expand the criteria by which a country may be removed from the Visa Waiver Program, to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a report on strengthening the Electronic System for Travel Authorization to better secure the international borders of the United States and prevent terrorists and instruments of terrorism from entering the United States, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3766 (voice Vote) — "To direct the President to establish guidelines for United States foreign development and economic assistance programs, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3842(420-2) — "To improve homeland security, including domestic preparedness and response to terrorism, by reforming Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers to provide training to first responders, and for other purposes."
S. 1461 (Without objection) — "To provide for the extension of the enforcement instruction on supervision requirements for outpatient therapeutic services in critical access and small rural hospitals through 2015."

The Senate reconvened at 10 AM today and resumed consideration of the conference report for S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act, the bill to replace the No Child Left Behind law. The Wall Street Journal called the legislation “the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century.”

At 10:45, the Senate voted 85-12 to pass the conference report for S. 1177. Twelve conservative Republican senators voted against the bill including Sen, Rand Paul and Mike Lee. Senators Cruz (R-TX), Rubio (R-FL) and Sanders (VT-I-D) did not vote.

The bill has been sent to the president for signature.

Criticize Obama Admin On Security & Terrorism Threat:
In a must-read column for National Journal this week, Josh Kraushaar writes, “The dis­con­nect between Pres­id­ent Obama and the Amer­ic­an pub­lic on the ur­gency of the IS­IS threat is a prob­lem . . . . Demo­crats are at risk of polit­ic­ally mar­gin­al­iz­ing them­selves on na­tion­al se­cur­ity . . . ca­ter­ing to a base that seems dis­con­nec­ted from the grow­ing anxi­ety that the pub­lic feels over the threat from Is­lam­ic ter­ror­ism. Dur­ing a month when a hor­rif­ic ter­ror­ist at­tack killed 130 in Par­is and a homegrown, IS­IS-in­spired at­tack killed 14 in San Bern­ardino, Cali­for­nia, the Demo­crat­ic Party’s ma­jor fo­cus has been on cli­mate change and gun con­trol.”

He continues, “The signs of a pres­id­ent in deni­al over the threat of ter­ror­ism keep pil­ing up. Obama be­latedly ad­dressed the pub­lic’s fears in his Oval Of­fice ad­dress on Sunday even­ing, but he offered no new policies to deal with crisis. That it took four days for the pres­id­ent to un­equi­voc­ally call the San Bern­ardino at­tacks ‘ter­ror­ism’ un­der­scored how his own in­stincts are at odds with the Amer­ic­an pub­lic’s. The de­cision to give a na­tion­ally tele­vised speech without out­lining a change of course sug­ges­ted that ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials were wor­ried about de­clin­ing poll num­bers and that he was try­ing to lim­it the polit­ic­al dam­age. And for an ad­min­is­tra­tion that likes to nar­rowly tail­or Obama’s mes­sage to his most en­thu­si­ast­ic sup­port­ers, schedul­ing a prime-time speech for many mil­lions to see (it was his first Oval Of­fice ad­dress since 2010) was a con­ces­sion that he’s not per­suad­ing the lar­ger pub­lic.”

Further, Kraushaar writes, “When the pres­id­ent’s as­sur­ances are be­ing con­tra­dicted by events around him, even his own party’s rank-and-file be­come rest­ive.”

Indeed, according to The New York Times today, “Many of President Obama’s Democratic allies in Congress say they do not believe he is being aggressive enough in confronting the terrorist threat of the Islamic State after last week’s attacks in California, undermining Americans’ sense of safety, especially among voters who will decide the party’s fate in elections next year.

“The concerns began to surface last month, when senior administration officials went to Capitol Hill to urge Democrats to reject a bill to curb a Syrian refugee program and were rebuffed. That hostility grew with their increasingly uncomfortable efforts to defend Mr. Obama’s strategies in the Middle East after the attacks in Paris and California.

“And Mr. Obama’s address to the nation Sunday — which several congressional Democrats said was an idea they pushed — left them wanting more. ‘When you interrupt the nation with an urgent and unscheduled statement from the Oval Office, or the White House, there’s I think an expectation that the address will contain a new approach or a new element,’ said Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee. . . .

“The mounting anxiety among Democrats about the president’s strategy to defeat the Islamic State became clear in the wake of the attacks in Paris, when a number of Democratic lawmakers joined Republicans in questioning allowing Syrian refugees into the United States. . . .

“[S]enior [Obama administration] aides met behind closed doors with congressional Democrats in an attempt to ease their concerns, which fell flat. ‘I talked to Denis McDonough and his staff and told them they need to be crisp and clear on the Syrian refugees and not come up here with mush-mouth stuff,’ said Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida.”

The Times notes that “Senate Democrats, who have long suffered the image of being weak on national security, are scrambling this week to push their own set of antiterrorism measures, including sanctions and ways to keep guns out of the hands of people on a terrorist watch list.”

But it’s not just elected Democrats who are losing confidence in the Obama administration’s security policies. Josh Kraushaar points out, “Demo­crat­ic voters, mostly sup­port­ive of the pres­id­ent, are ex­press­ing real con­cerns about the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s hand­ling of ter­ror­ism. A 43-per­cent plur­al­ity of Demo­crat­ic voters be­lieve the U.S. and its al­lies are ‘los­ing’ the war against IS­IS, ac­cord­ing to a Quin­nipi­ac poll con­duc­ted just be­fore the San Bern­ardino at­tack. A whop­ping 75 per­cent of Demo­crats said it’s likely there will be an­oth­er ma­jor ter­ror­ist at­tack on Amer­ic­an soil, and 23 per­cent dis­ap­prove of Pres­id­ent Obama’s hand­ling of terrorism.”

The concerns with this administration’s national security strategy go beyond its fumbling and ineffective attempts to combat the Islamic State, though The Hill reports, “Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) on Tuesday slammed the Obama administration and the international community, suggesting they hadn't taken a firm enough response to recent ballistic missile tests by Iran.

“‘What has happened as a result of Iran violating the U.N. Security Council resolutions as it relates to missile testing? Absolutely nothing,’ he said. ‘Something is wrong because the silence is so deafening.’

“The New Jersey senator's comments come after reports that Iran tested a ballistic missile last month. It would mark the second since diplomats reached a deal on the country's nuclear program.

“Menendez added that without concrete steps from the administration or the United Nations, ‘Iran can support terror, Iran can develop its nuclear program, Iran can foment secretariat conflict across the Middle East … and yet, it will be rewarded with a multibillion dollar sanctions relief this coming year.’”

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Following the attacks in Paris and California, and the downing of the Russian airliner, about 60 percent of the American people disapprove of the President’s handling of terrorism. Nearly two-thirds disapprove of his handling of ISIL. They understand intuitively that ISIL and the wider terrorist threat has not been ‘contained,’ but rather that it has evolved into something increasingly more serious and challenging.

“Americans also know that the operational concept ordered by the President is insufficient to defeat ISIL. It’s not just the American people saying this. It’s not just Republicans saying it either.

“President Obama’s last Defense Secretary recently criticized his approach. So have several other former Obama Administration officials. Here’s a sampling of what they’ve said over just the last week or two. One called on the Obama Administration to ‘‘wake up’ to the threat. Another said that the Obama Administration ‘seems to be really flailing and tone deaf to this latest challenge.’ A third called on the President to ‘change your strategy’ because ‘by any measure, our strategy in Iraq and Syria is not succeeding.’

“And then there’s President Obama’s former Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton, who put it plainly: ‘we’re not winning.’”

Tags: Senate, House, security, terrorism threat, Every Student Succeeds Act, 13th Amendment  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:12 PM - Post Link


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