Foreign Policy in the 112th Congress: Opportunities and Challenges
By Matt Southworth on 01/06/2011 @ 10:30 AM
The new Congress will present opportunities and challenges not seen in the 111th Congress. FCNL is compiling a list of Senators and Representative who are likely to be very influential in either supporting or opposing FCNL’s foreign policy initiatives in the 112th Congress. Here are some of our front runners:
Senator Charles Schumer, New York:
Senator Schumer was one of eighteen Senators–along with fellow New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand–to vote in favor of an exit strategy Amendment offered by Senator Russ Feingold in July 2010. He is the third ranking Democrat in the Senate. The Senator could be a strong voice in support of FCNL’s foreign policy work in the Senate.
Senator Rand Paul, Kentucky:
Senator Paul has expressed interest in critically examining the war in Afghanistan. There may be an opportunity to work with Senator Paul on bipartisan legislation to decrease US military presence in Afghanistan. FCNL will reach out to him in the new Congress to find common ground on Afghanistan.
Senator John McCain, Arizona:
Senator McCain is the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Since November, Senator McCain has expressed an interest in staying in Afghanistan indefinitely and granting every request the Pentagon makes. Senator McCain has stated he’s “very happy” about extending the war to December 2014 as well.
Representative Frank Wolf, Virginia:
Representative Wolf, an important member of the House Appropriations Committee, has led the effort to rethink US engagement in Afghanistan through an Afghanistan-Pakistan Study Group, based on the Iraq Study Group, to provide alternatives to the current untenable strategy. Representative Wolf first wrote President Obama in August requesting the President convene such a group. FCNL will continue to work with Congressman Wolf in this effort.
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida:
Representative Ros-Lehtinen will now chair the very powerful House Committee on Foreign Affairs, which is responsible for foreign assistance, war powers, peace keeping and national security oversight. The Representative’s position on Iran, Israel-Palestine, and Afghanistan will pose challenges to FCNL’s work.
Representative Nita Lowey, New York:
Representative Lowey is a high-ranking member on House Appropriations Committee and has recently served on its Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. She has taken a very active role in Afghanistan, particularly in the case of Afghan women and Afghan corruption. Rep. Lowey will be a very important voice on Afghanistan in the 112th Congress. FCNL’s working with her office to hold US contractors accountable for their work in Afghanistan.
Representative Norm Dicks, Washington:
Representative Dicks will be ranking member of the Appropriations Committee and ranking member of its influential Defense subcommittee. He supported a cut in the FY11 Administration’s military budget and has a good working relationship with Rep. Lowey. His recent moves on the Israel-Palestine issue leave us hopeful.
Representative Adam Smith, Washington:
Representative Adam Smith, the new ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, has been issuing critical remarks about the Afghanistan war recently. He’ll have influence as ranking member, which may offer FCNL some opportunities. Fort Lewis is in the middle of his district. He may therefore find it difficult to reduce general military spending, but may be open to work with FCNL specifically on the ineffective strategy and huge costs of the Afghanistan war.
Representative Howard Berman, California:
Representative Berman, formerly Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will now serve as its ranking minority member. He will continue to be very influential. Representative Berman’s hard-line views on Iran – supporting harsh sanctions and possible use of military force, as well as his approach to Israeli-Palestinian peace – heavily-weighted in favor of Israel, are expected to continue to pose challenges for FCNL’s positions.
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