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Obama Tries to Hang on to Dems to Avoid Tougher Iran Sanctions

Members of the caucus are poised to fall away from the president over nuclear negotiations even more than they broke over the Obamacare rollout.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

November 18, 2013 - 5:47 pm
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WASHINGTON — If there’s any indication of how a sizable portion of the Democratic caucus feels about U.S. posture in the Muslim world heading into the next round of nuclear negotiations with Iran this week, it was summed up last week at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing by Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade ranking member Brad Sherman (D-Calif.).

“Our entire national security establishment has picked up a new phrase: ‘pivot toward Asia.’ Which sounds like it’s going to mean more trade delegations to Tokyo and more Chinese language courses in our universities. But what I fear it really means is deciding that the fight with Islamic extremists in Africa and the Middle East is either over or is inconvenient,” Sherman said. “And redirecting all of our national security efforts toward confronting China in the South China Sea. Already the Pentagon is shifting its research proposals, they’re only interested in research that will help them shoot down Chinese planes or sink Chinese aircraft carriers.”

“Islamic extremism and the problems in North Africa and West Asia and all of Africa and the Middle East cannot be ignored just because there’s a dispute over some islands off the coast of China,” he continued. “And pivoting toward Asia sounds to me like trying to find a higher technology, more conventional foe for a national security establishment that is frustrated by the difficulties of dealing with opponents that do not wear uniforms.”

“It’s time for us to pivot toward Africa, the Middle East and West and South Asia where Islamic extremism still poses a threat to the United States notwithstanding the death of bin Laden.”

The Democratic caucus is still a group where many more of its members attend and speak at AIPAC each year than head to the “pro-peace, pro-Palestinian” version, J Street, where the administration sent Vice President Joe Biden this year.

And few measures before the House and Senate have been as consistently bipartisan as those demanding that the administration keep up pressure on Iran, on top of the bipartisan letters sent directly to President Obama over the past few years warning the commander in chief about getting the wool pulled over his eyes by the Islamic Republic.

Last week, Sherman and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas), Chief Deputy GOP Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), and Foreign Affairs member Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) led 59 other members of the House in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) asking that the Senate “swiftly” take up a bill passed in July that tightens sanctions against Iran’s energy and financial sectors.

That legislation passed a whopping 400-20.

“We believe that as the United States negotiates with the P5+1 group and Tehran, it is critical to maximize U.S. leverage against the Iranian regime. The possibility of tighter sanctions will enhance our leverage in the nuclear standoff between the Iran’s Supreme Leader and the international community. Despite Hassan Rouhani’s attempt to portray Iran’s government in a new light, the objective of the Iranian regime remains the same: the pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability,” the lawmakers wrote.

“While recent assessments of the progress of Iran’s nuclear program vary—with some estimating that Iran is only weeks away from producing weapons-grade uranium—what is clear is that time is running short. Protracted negotiations may give Iran more time to spin its centrifuges, while the threat of enhanced sanctions holds the promise of compelling Iran to give up its ambitions.”

The House members asked that the Senate take up the bill, which has the support to pass, without the “fear of short-circuiting diplomacy.”

They echoed the concerns heard across Congress for the past 100 days, even as President Obama was making his historic phone call to new President Rouhani: Why should we trust that things will be any different?

Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) noted at a hearing last week examining Rouhani’s short tenure thus far that despite the Iranian leader’s “charm offensive and gentle smile… it’s clear that Iran still poses a significant threat to the United States and our allies.”

The “intense pressure” of the slate of sanctions passed by Congress, Engel argued, “brought Iran back to the negotiating table, and it must be maintained – and strengthened if necessary — until Iran has taken verifiable steps to freeze and even dismantle its nuclear weapons program.”

The Democrat said he was “deeply troubled” by reports out of the initial P5+1 talks that the proposed agreement did not include a requirement to halt all uranium enrichment.

“I know the secretary of State has a profound interest in the legislation Congress is considering on Iran,” he added. “I hope the administration understands that we cannot take their concerns fully into account, nor truly understand events at the negotiation table, or grasp the impact our legislation may have on their efforts, if they do not do a better job of keeping Congress informed.”

“…There is still time to test Iran’s intentions, but that time is growing short.”

Yet as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman heads to Geneva on Tuesday for another week of talks, the White House is mounting a campaign on the Hill to try to woo members over to their side.

Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry led the charge in the upper chamber last week, meeting with Senate Democratic leaders and members of the Senate Banking Committee in an effort to prevent the upper chamber from passing any additional sanctions against Iran — and putting President Obama in a harsh spotlight when such a bill lands on his desk.

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Top Rated Comments   
It is curious that Obama is so dead set on lifting sanctions just as they are beginning to bring the mullahs to the table.

Or maybe it isn't so curious.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the dems defy Dear Leader and impose harsher sanctions, it will be a clear signal that they have lost whatever confidence they may have had in the American Ayatollah's foreign policy/negotiating prowess. How pathetic and weak must we look on the world stage....a pitifully weak man-child president being advised by a nincumpoop and boob like Lurch. When the phoukking French are telling US to 'man up'.....how humiliating. Hopefully, the rumored alliance of Israel-France-Saudi Arabia will act to stop the Mad Persian Mullahs from igniting WWIII while we have such a flaccid, impotent Moooslim in Chief and his advisory group of queers, lesbians, and worthless, suck-up Generals/Admirals calling the shots.....all the good senior commanders have been purged and morale is the lowest in our military's glorious history. I retired in 2008 and cannot even recognize today's military........it just breaks my heart. You fine young people who have volunteered to wear our nation's uniform deserve so much better than what we have given you.


Remember BENGHAZI!
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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my co-worker's mom makes $77 hourly on the laptop. She has been fired from work for 7 months but last month her pay check was $15344 just working on the laptop for a few hours. his explanation>>>>>>>>>>> www.jobs35.com
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
It’s interesting that the struggle over Iranian nuclear-ization tosses out the usual alliances and ideas of who is wearing the “white hats”. In the US Senate one of the strongest proponents of stepped up sanctions in Robert Menendez, a man w/social and economic polices quite close to BHO and Biden. On the other hand, Tea Party heroes Cruz, Paul and Lee are mostly AWOL.

Abroad, we rely on an alliance of France and KSA with Israel to save the world from BHO’s, and to a smaller extent W’s, folly.

This will not be a popular opinion at PJM, but this is not an issue of the West vs. Islam, but of how to cripple the hegemonic ambitions of the Khomeini-ist Iranian state and its evolving Axis in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is curious that Obama is so dead set on lifting sanctions just as they are beginning to bring the mullahs to the table.

Or maybe it isn't so curious.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Face it, if you had a wife like his wouldn't you be interested in all those virgin's in paradise once you help Iran take out Israel?

His one point of unswerving consistency is his goal of alienating America's historic allies while strengthening islam.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great point. It should be clear by now that this guy can't be trusted. Period.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
They are all so polite in public. In private Obama and Kerry know that they are throwing Israel under the bus. Lets hope someone can stop them. Little Satan, Big Satan - who knows when its your turn to be nuked.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
TRUST ME
"Trust me' is Obama's tactic to implement 'Hope & Change'. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the dems defy Dear Leader and impose harsher sanctions, it will be a clear signal that they have lost whatever confidence they may have had in the American Ayatollah's foreign policy/negotiating prowess. How pathetic and weak must we look on the world stage....a pitifully weak man-child president being advised by a nincumpoop and boob like Lurch. When the phoukking French are telling US to 'man up'.....how humiliating. Hopefully, the rumored alliance of Israel-France-Saudi Arabia will act to stop the Mad Persian Mullahs from igniting WWIII while we have such a flaccid, impotent Moooslim in Chief and his advisory group of queers, lesbians, and worthless, suck-up Generals/Admirals calling the shots.....all the good senior commanders have been purged and morale is the lowest in our military's glorious history. I retired in 2008 and cannot even recognize today's military........it just breaks my heart. You fine young people who have volunteered to wear our nation's uniform deserve so much better than what we have given you.


Remember BENGHAZI!
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, Obama has his beliefs and actions and it is a perfectly definite set, there is no vagueness about it. He commands that the Jew bow to the Muslim at every turn they do him hurt or threaten him and his children with death. Word it as softly as you please, the spirit of Obama is the spirit of the evil shadowed specter of the Beast of Austria insidiously billowing in and building and building to ever more horrific heights. The moment there is a question about a boundary line or a building or some Muslim somewhere complaining about any matter, see Obama rise, and see him spit at the Jew from the corner of his twisted mouth. The spirit of Obama being in its nature narcissistic and selfish -- it is in the man's line, it comes natural to him -- he can fully live up to all of the teachings of Jeremiah Wright and even of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; for the spirit of Judaism is entirely impossible to him.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
“The reason that the resident will be having this meeting...

Resident? Nah, it's too much to hope Carney said that.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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