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Defense & Foreign Policy Archive

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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.

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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.

Japan Taps Lobbyists to Bolster U.S. Ties

The government of Japan knows its way around K Street.

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A Cybersecurity Turf War at Home and Abroad

The House passed not one, but two, bills last week to provide immunity from consumer lawsuits to companies that share with each other, and with the government, information about cyber-threats and attacks on their networks.

Sharing Threat Intel Is Voluntary in New Bills

Neither cybersecurity bill passed by the House last week would require that companies share information about cyber-threats. It’s voluntary.

Congress Must Act to Protect Military Readiness | Commentary

Military readiness and federal regulation of the greater sage grouse — a bird — are not things the average American would consider connected but unless Congress acts, they may well be.

Appropriations Markup Puts GOP in Tough Position Of Balancing Defense, Veterans Spending

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill House appropriators planned to mark up Wednesday clearly illustrates the dilemma of Republican congressional leaders this year in trying to hold the line or reduce spending while not shortchanging their most sacrosanct areas of government — national defense and the care of veterans.

Congress' Surveillance Views Have Changed

When Congress last reauthorized the Patriot Act in 2011, it went fairly easily. A majority of House Democrats objected, but support was strong among House Republicans and in both parties in the Senate. But lawmakers began to have second thoughts last year.

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Conservatives Push for Patriot Act Limits as June 1 Expiration Date Nears

With key provisions of the Patriot Act set to expire on June 1, conservative advocacy groups are telling Republican lawmakers they should make significant changes to the government’s authority to collect data about Americans.

Iran Bill One Vote Away From Veto-Proof Majority

A key Iran bill moved this week to being just one vote away from having the necessary Senate support to overcome a promised presidential veto. However, the Thursday release of a framework for a political agreement with Tehran has added enough new variables to the congressional debate that it could enable the White House to peel away some Democratic supporters of the legislation.

New Top Dem on Foreign Relations Offers Cautious Support for Iran Bill

The new top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday offered guarded support for high-profile legislation on Iran that is scheduled to be voted on shortly after Congress returns from its recess.

Lobbyists-Turned-Staffers Disclose Salaries, Clients

Lobbyists who left K Street in recent months to take jobs on Capitol Hill left behind big salaries and numerous clients that have a stake in the debates their new bosses are engaged in.

Obama Policies Favor Illegal Immigrants Over American Citizens | Commentary

We have immigration laws in this country for two basic reasons: to preserve American jobs and to protect national security. President Barack Obama’s unlawful executive actions to grant amnesty to at least 5 million illegal immigrants violate both of those principles. Any objective review must find that the president’s policies have placed the concerns of those who have broken our laws ahead of the interests of citizens and legal residents of the United States.

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