July 31, 2015 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Defense & Foreign Policy Archive

Spike in West Africa Ebola Cases Shows Need to Address Underlying Health Care Needs | Commentary

On May 20, the World Health Organization reported a substantial increase in the weekly total of new Ebola cases in both Guinea and Sierra Leone and responded by deploying a response team. This comes in the shadow of the success in Liberia that was proclaimed to be Ebola-free in May, the result of a comprehensive response by President Barack Obama and his administration to invest in Liberia’s health care infrastructure. Although a lot of the attention to the U.S. response focused on the role of the American military, our response was actually much more thorough. The United States provided personal protective equipment, funded and trained medical workers, deployed laboratories, supported disease tracing and started a large-scale social messaging campaign to inform Liberians about practices to protect themselves from infection.

America Needs to Strengthen Biodefense Now | Commentary

The United Nations Security Council recently heard firsthand testimony from the victims of a chemical-weapons attack in Syria. A Syrian doctor spoke of his frantic efforts to treat more than 100 people who were hit by chlorine-filled bombs in the town of Sarmeen. Many were vomiting and suffering respiratory distress.

Clinton Email Scandal Affects State Department Funding

Democrats are expected to put up a fight in the coming days and weeks over a Republican plan to withhold a substantial amount of the State Department’s operating budget as punishment for the amount of time it is taking the agency to produce the emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

NSA Track Record Prompts Senate Skepticism

Senators brushed off Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s concerns about the viability of requiring the National Security Agency to go to the phone companies to get records in terrorism investigations and easily passed the USA Freedom Act last week.

NSA Law Now Faces Test: Will It Really Work?

A crucial moment in the debate this past month over the National Security Agency’s access to Americans’ phone records in terrorism investigations came on May 20, two days before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to squelch House legislation that would restrict that access.

Congress Added $10 Billion Plus Since 9/11 for Secretive National Guard Fund

The equipment for America’s National Guard and Reserve is increasingly funded through an account that contains money not requested by the president, not capped by the budget law and not subject to much open oversight, according to assessments by CQ and the government spending monitors at Taxpayers for Common Sense.

McConnell Defeated With Passage of the USA Freedom Act

Handing Mitch McConnell his biggest legislative defeat since he became majority leader this year, senators voted down all of the Kentuckian’s amendments to Patriot Act reauthorization legislation.

Don't Reward Human Traffickers

The horrors along the Thai-Malaysian border revealed in the past week have shocked our consciences, and put the scourge of human trafficking at the front of international news. In this most recent revelation, 139 graves were discovered at the site of what was virtually a prison camp run by human traffickers. The scene described in news reports included cages for the human victims, and in one painfully poignant image, a single tiny orange slipper — evidence that children had been among them.

Senators Nix $250K in National Guard Paintings

Lawmakers have nixed a series of historical paintings to be commissioned by the National Guard, totaling a quarter million dollars, as part of annual authorizing legislation and amid the Pentagon's argument that the president's proposed defense budget represents the bare minimum that can be spent on national defense in the coming year.

Lawmakers Poised for Fight Over Nuclear Missile Subs

Congress is girding for a showdown over how to pay a looming bill of at least $139 billion for acquiring new nuclear-missile submarines.

Getting the CIA — and Secrecy — Out of the Drone Program | Commentary

President Barack Obama’s disclosure last month of the death of two hostages in a January drone strike offered the public a brief glimpse of the tragic consequences of the government’s clandestine drone killing program. We cannot know how commonplace these kinds of civilian casualties are because of the government’s selective secrecy on the program. But now, Congress has an opportunity to weigh in.

Sunni Sheikh Comes to Washington Seeking Arms, Aid

Amid the chaos of his home city Ramadi’s fall Sunday to Islamic State fighters, a senior Sunni tribal leader arrived in Washington, D.C., to warn lawmakers and senior administration officials this week of Iran’s growing influence in the war-torn region.

The Senate Must Pass the USA Freedom Act | Commentary

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, in an extraordinarily well-reasoned decision, ruled that the National Security Agency’s program of systematically collecting the telephone records of Americans is not authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act and is, therefore, illegal.

Setting the Record Straight on the Guantanamo Detainee Transfer to Uruguay | Commentary

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, recently made public a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry expressing security concerns around the December 2014 transfer of six Guantánamo detainees to Uruguay. I have followed this transfer closely, as Uruguay is only the second Latin American country to resettle Guantánamo detainees. Like Royce’s staff, I too traveled to Uruguay and interviewed U.S. and Uruguayan government officials and those helping to resettle the former detainees. But while Royce’s staff saw a potential security threat, I saw a human tragedy.

story blurb thumbnail

Republican Lawmakers Urge Court to Block Immigration Expansion

More than 100 Republican members of Congress urged a federal appeals court Monday to block the Obama administration’s sweeping new immigration policies such as deferred deportations.

Appeals Court Strikes Down NSA Bulk Phone Data Collection

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the National Security Agency’s bulk telephone data collection program exceeds what Congress authorized in Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

Clinton Foundation's Missteps Point to Broader Problem

On the surface, the uproar over foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Rodham Clinton was secretary of State looks like another example of the Clintons behaving badly. But the problem goes beyond the Clintons and could tar Republicans as well.

Will Congress Give Up Its War Powers? | Commentary

President Barack Obama’s track record of swerving into Congress’ constitutional lane has been consistent and more than troublesome; yet in February of this year, he surprised me. As required by law, the president sent Congress a request seeking an Authorization for Use of Military Force against the group that calls itself the Islamic State, or ISIS. Regrettably, his request has been met with near silence on Capitol Hill. Obama has done his part. It is now up to Congress to debate his request on the House and Senate floors and have an up-or-down vote in each chamber.

Who Made Who: BRAC Came From Congress

Closing big military bases has always been politically difficult, given the economic benefits of their payrolls and purchases to surrounding areas. Congress made it even more difficult in 1977 with a law restricting the military’s ability to shed excess infrastructure.

Back in BRAC: Advocates Say It's Been Too Long

Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, was trying again this week to persuade his colleagues that they should allow a round of military base closings and realignments in the interest of saving money.

SIGN IN




OR

SUBSCRIBE

Want Roll Call on your doorstep?