Entries in Senate (4)


Senate Resolution Ups Pressure on Iran’s Nuclear Threat

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Responding to the renewed threat of a nuclear Iran, a bipartisan group of senators Thursday introduced a resolution that declares it “unacceptable” for Iran to obtain nuclear capability.

“This Congress needs to speak,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at a press conference Thursday. “This resolution, we hope, will get almost unanimous support from Republicans and Democrats.”

So far, 32 Senators have signed the resolution and the senators hope to add more support soon.

The resolution is not an authorization for the use of military force but emphasizes the need to keep all options on the table.

“It is a statement to Iran, the international community and President Obama that if Iran refuses to negotiate an end to their nuclear weapons program and President Obama, therefore, decides that a military strike against that program is necessary in the interest of our national security, then he can count on strong bipartisan support in Congress for that decision,” said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.

The resolution states that containment is not good enough and should not be a “fall back” position.

“If it takes military, that needs to be an option on the table and we are absolutely committed on a bipartisan basis for addressing this national security threat to our country and our allies,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.

The senators hope the resolution will add an extra sense of urgency to the administration’s handling of the issue.

“This moment is the equivalent in historic and strategic importance as the Cuban missile crisis,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “It is unfolding more slowly, perhaps in greater complexity. But the sense of urgency is absolutely there.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Will Currency Manipulation Bill Ignite Trade War with China?

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the Senate poised to pass legislation Tuesday to coerce China to reevaluate its currency, speculation abounds as to whether the bill is an effective way to deal with China’s currency manipulation.

The bill does not specifically mention China, but it makes it easier for the Treasury Department to label a country’s currency misaligned, allowing it to impose tariffs on Chinese imports to make up for the deflated price.

It has bipartisan support in the Senate, but members of both parties are skeptical of the legislation in the House of Representatives as well as in the White House.

“For the Congress of the United States to pass legislation to force the Chinese to do what is arguably very difficult to do I think is wrong, it’s dangerous,” House Speaker John Boehner said. “You could start a trade war.”

And while President Obama said China has been “gaming the trading system to its advantage,” he cautioned that the Senate bill may violate international trade laws.

“My main whatever tools we put in place, let’s make sure that these are tools that can actually work, that they’re consistent with our international treaties and obligations,” Obama said.  “I don’t want a situation where we’re just passing laws that are symbolic, knowing that they’re probably not going to be upheld by the World Trade Organization.”

Supporters of the legislation claim that it will pressure China into raising the value of its currency, making American products more competitively priced with Chinese goods, which would increase demand for American exports. This increase in exports would lead to more jobs, particularly manufacturing, which have been disproportionately affected by the recession.

“We can’t force China’s central bank to immediately raise the value of their currency, but we could make the costs of not doing that so high that China has no choice,” said Scott Paul, the executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

Paul said that in order for America to pull out of the recession, it was “essential” for the United States to pressure China into allowing its currency, known as the yuan, to appreciate.

But opponents of the bill point out that trying to force China to reevaluate its currency could anger the Asian nation and inspire China to retaliate by imposing duties on U.S. imports or slowing the appreciation of its currency.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


War Powers Resolution Debate over Libya Heads to Senate

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives Friday rejected President Obama's campaign in Libya but declined to cut off funding.  Now the Senate will begin to debate this week whether American involvement there is subject to the War Powers Resolution.

On Tuesday morning, Harold Koh, the State Department's legal adviser, will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Koh was one of the administration lawyers who argued that the "limited" U.S. engagement in Libya does not constitute hostilities as described under the War Powers Resolution and argues that, as such, no Congressional authorization is needed.

Koh will face off against Senate Republicans led by Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, who has been demanding Congressional approval for the campaign since the early days of American involvement.

The committee will also meet to discuss a resolution proposed by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would grant President Obama a one year time frame in which he can use American forces -- but no U.S. ground troops -- in a supporting role as part of NATO's efforts against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

A House measure based on language from Kerry and McCain was defeated on Friday.

Futhermore, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet on Capitol Hill with Senate Republicans Tuesday afternoon at their request to discuss the matter.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Russia Welcomes Senate's Ratification of Nuclear Treaty

Photo Courtesy - Sasha Mordovets/ Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russia has welcomed news of the U.S. Senate’s ratification of the START treaty.

On Thursday, Russian President Medvedev’s press secretary said he is “satisfied to learn that the U.S. Senate ratified the new START treaty and expressed the hope that the Duma and the Federation Council will be prepared to consider this issue and also ratify the document.”

The precise timing of ratification by Russia’s parliament isn’t clear but it will likely be in the coming days or weeks.  It will go through the Duma  -- the lower house -- before going up to the Federation Council, which is the upper house.

The speaker of the Duma said the treaty could be ratified as early as Friday if they approve of the wording in the Senate resolution which they have yet to see.  The head of the foreign affairs committee in the Federation Council said that they are ready to ratify as soon as the Duma passes it.

The Senate voted 71-26 Wednesday to ratify the U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons control treaty.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio