Tag Archives: Harry Reid

Republicans uneasy over Iran nuke ‘deal,’ lawmakers demand say on any final agreement

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The highly touted “framework” for an Iranian nuclear deal, announced Thursday following days of intense negotiations, is being met with mixed reviews on Capitol Hill — as Republicans voice skepticism and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle reprise demands that Congress have a say.

President Obama, who pitched the framework as “historic,” said he would speak with House and Senate leaders — he already has spoken briefly with Speaker John Boehner, Fox News has learned. Obama, in the Rose Garden, said the issue is “bigger than politics” and warned that if Congress killed a deal without a reasonable alternative, the United States would be blamed for the failure of diplomacy. He called it a “good deal.”

But Boehner, within hours of the announcement, warned that the “parameters” represented an “alarming departure” from initial U.S. goals.

In a statement, Boehner said his “immediate concern is the administration signaling it will provide near-term sanctions relief,” referring to a provision calling for U.S. and E.U. sanctions relief once inspectors verify Iran’s progress toward the nuclear-related steps of the deal.

“Congress must be allowed to fully review the details of any agreement before any sanctions are lifted,” Boehner said.

Obama’s warning to Congress and Republicans’ early reaction point to a tense few weeks ahead as Capitol Hill lawmakers weigh legislation — which has been on hold — demanding congressional review of a nuclear deal, and potentially another bill dealing with sanctions.

Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said it is important to see the specific details of Thursday’s announcement and said America should remain “clear-eyed” regarding Iran.

“If a final agreement is reached, the American people, through their elected representatives, must have the opportunity to weigh in to ensure the deal truly can eliminate the threat of Iran’s nuclear program and hold the regime accountable,” he said in a written statement.

Corker and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., sponsored the bill allowing congressional review. A 60-vote threshold would be required before lawmakers could take action. Corker said his committee would take up that legislation on April 14, and said he’s “confident of a strong vote.”

In a conference call, senior administration officials reiterated concerns about legislation that could derail an Iran agreement but said they are “open to discussions” with Congress on what oversight role they could play. One official said Congress would eventually get a vote, regardless, on whether to lift sanctions.

Menendez, a Democrat who has publicly criticized the Obama administration’s handling of Iran, suggested the White House take its time before agreeing to anything. With the preliminary agreement announced Thursday, negotiators will now try to hammer out a final, comprehensive deal by a June 30 deadline.

“If diplomats can negotiate for two-years on this issue, then certainly Congress is entitled to a review period of an agreement that will fundamentally alter our relationship with Iran and the sanctions imposed by Congress,” Menendez said in a written statement. “The best outcome remains a good deal that ends Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program. That requires a strong, united, and bipartisan approach from the administration and Congress.”

Earlier Thursday, Menendez pleaded not guilty to 14 federal charges of corruption and bribery that some have called political payback for going against the administration.

Obama’s biggest allies, meanwhile, seemed to be giving his diplomatic team some space in the wake of Thursday’s announcement. California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer seemed cautiously optimistic following the Iran announcement:

“We don’t yet know the details of a final deal, but initial reports are promising, and if the U.S. had prematurely ended talks on nuclear issues in the past, we would never have had historic and critical international agreements like the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the New START Treaty.”

Boxer went on to praise the president and his administration for working “tirelessly to reach this point” and vowed to work to “ensure that Congress has the patience to support this diplomatic effort because the risks of walking away from the table are simply too high.”

 

Operation American Spring : Militias promise to oust Obama, Boehner on Friday

A retired United States Army colonel expects as many as 30 million like-minded individuals will descend on Washington, DC this week and demand that President Barack Obama and other members of his administration be booted from office.

Those are just some of the demands that Col. Harry Riley, founder of “Operation American Spring,” said he’ll ask the Obama administration to adhere to when militia members and patriots of all sorts arrive in the nation’s capital on Friday and begin demonstrating against a government the group considers to be in violation of the principles established by the founders of the country.

“We are calling for the removal of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi and Eric Holder as a start toward constitutional restoration,” Riley told the Before Its News website during an interview earlier this year.

“They have all abandoned the US Constitution,” he said, and “are unworthy to be retained in a position that calls for servant status.”

Riley told Before Its News in January that he expects his Operation American Spring movement will provoke anywhere from 10 million to 30 million Americans to mobilize this week and arrive in DC, where they will participate in a “massive, gigantic effort as a last stand before America moves into a more devastating condition.”

“For more than five years, ‘we the people’ have been writing, calling, faxing Congress, the media, screaming in town halls, marching, rallying, demonstrating, petitioning, all to no avail,” he said. “Every branch of government looks at ‘we the people’ whom they have taken an oath to serve, as ‘pests,’ interfering with their political agenda, cramping their self-serving, greedy agendas. We have no faith in the ballot box any longer, as many believe this sacred secret box has been compromised.”

To bring about that change, Riley says he hopes his group succeeds at shutting down the federal government. Whether or not all 29,999,999 of his compatriots will follow through, however, remains yet to be seen — a similar protest against Pres. Obama’s administration arranged last year by a fleet of truck drivers fell well short of making the dent that that group hoped to make.

“Last October,‘10,000’ truckers were reportedly on their way to literally clog the Beltway and shut down traffic in protest of Washington politics,” Abby Ohlhiser wrote for The Wire on Thursday this week. “In reality, about 30 truckers showed up, and they caused no delays worth mentioning.”

Should Riley succeed in wrangling up 30 million Americans, Ohlhiser added, then he’ll have garnered the support of around one-tenth of the US population.

And though that goal — or the substantially smaller 10 million figure — is unlikely to be met, some individuals are already claiming on the official Operation American Spring forums to have arrived in the DC area ahead of Friday’s planned demonstration: on Thursday morning, one member of the message board wrote that his truck had already finished the 2,750 mile haul to the DC region in around 50.5 hours and had set up a base at a compound 27 miles outside of the city in rural Virginia.

“Camp is up and we have been meeting the other state camps. Good solid folks all the way around,” he wrote in another post.

According to other posts on the page, fellow Operation American Spring participants planned to meet at Arlington National Cemetery a stone’s throw from the District of Columbia on Friday morning, then march to the capital and stay there for days. Others on the forum have been attempting to arrange travel accommodations from as far away as Tucson, Arizona, Des Moines, Iowa and southeast Texas, and have been debating on the website where to camp in the DC area or whether or not to bring firearms along for the ride.

On a separate page linked from the forums, Col. Reid wrote that “One million or more of the assembled 10 million must be prepared to stay in DC as long as it takes to see Obama, Biden, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi and Attorney General Holder removed from office.”

“We must appeal to ten million and more American patriots to come and stay in Washington, DC to stop the White House and Congress from total destruction of the United States. It’s now or never. God help us,”
he wrote.

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Obama facing Hill rebellion on Iran sanctions

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Obama is facing a growing insurrection on Capitol Hill over Iran sanctions legislation, with one source telling Fox News the bill is attracting a “flood” of support and another lawmaker vowing to muscle through the legislation with a veto-proof majority if necessary.

The momentum comes a day after 26 senators, half of them Democrats, introduced Iran legislation in defiance of the administration — the bill threatens new sanctions if Tehran does not hold up its end of a newly struck nuclear deal.

The president criticized those lawmakers in a year-end press conference on Friday, claiming they were just trying to “look tough.”

But the legislation could pose a serious challenge to the administration, which warns that even the introduction of such a bill could imperil ongoing nuclear talks. Though the White House has threatened to veto, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News he’s looking to gather enough senators — 67 — to override.

“If the president wants to veto [the bill], we’ll override his veto,” he said. “He’s making a mistake for the ages, to not keep the pressure on the Iranians.”

One source told Fox News that, as of mid-day Friday, there were close to 50 senators signing up to co-sponsor. The Republican source said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has also taken a significant procedural step to fast-track the bill as early as next month.

A Senate Democratic source confirmed that Reid did take a procedural step allowing the Iran sanctions bill to skip the committee process so that it is available for floor action — but noted that the move doesn’t automatically send the measure to the floor.

The next several weeks will no doubt involve numerous conversations between White House advisers and leading senators. The White House argues that passing new legislation now, even if it doesn’t automatically trigger sanctions, could undermine the six-month nuclear deal as well as talks to reach a more comprehensive agreement.

Senators in support of the legislation argue that sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table, and that the formal threat of new sanctions will help seal a favorable final deal.

Obama stepped up the pressure on Congress to stand down on Friday.

“There is no need for more sanctions legislation. Not yet,” he said during his press conference.

He said that if sanctions become necessary, Congress could do it “in a day, on a dime.”

Obama said he’s “not surprised” by what’s happening on the Hill, but suggested little more than politics was at play.

“I think the politics of trying to look tough on Iran are often good when you’re running for office or if you’re in office,” he said. “But as president of the United States right now … what I’m saying to [Congress], what I’ve said to the international community, and what I’ve said to the American people is, let’s test it.”

Obama facing Hill rebellion on Iran sanctions | Fox News.