Time For The House To Step Up

(I will re-blog this post in January of 2019 as the new Congress gets sworn it…just a reminder)

Voting is done……the tally is the Dems have prevailed.

The House is now in the hands of the Dems…..and now is the time for the Dems to step up and take back the power to declare war…..they have allowed the president too much lee way in this field and because the president has had a free hand we are fighting someone in at least 100 locations….time for that to change!

The American political environment is as polarized as it has been in recent memory. But there is one major policy priority that should unite lawmakers on both sides: making the legislative branch relevant on matters of war and peace.

The assumption within the foreign policy establishment is that national security in general, and war-making in particular, are distinct responsibilities of the executive branch. The president is the commander in chief of the armed forces, after all, under Article 2 of the Constitution.

But the legislative branch is not meant to be a bystander. The authors of the Constitution understood that concentrating too much power in the executive branch would start the country down a dangerous road to perpetual war. “War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement,” James Madison observed astutely, and the temptation to make war “would be too great for any one man.”

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-depetris-congress-war-powers-20181008-story.html

An excellent point and a point that I and others have been saying since 2003…..time for the Congress to start doing their job and let the president play to the cameras.

One little-noted consequence of the Democrats’ victory in the House of Representatives on Tuesday is that, for the first time in several years, there will be serious oversight of the Defense Department and possibly some cuts in high-profile weapons systems and secret commando operations.

At the Defense News Conference in September, Rep. Adam Smith, the Washington Democrat who has been the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee and is likely to become its chairman in January, listed his top priorities if his party took control of the House. They include:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/democrats-house-pentagon-oversight.html

Is it possible that a new House could change the ddirection of US foreign policy?

The blue wave that crested over the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday was just large enough to usher in a Democratic majority for the first time in eight years. Because the president retains extraordinary powers to manage international affairs, foreign policy and national security may seem like the least likely areas to look for change in the new era. But Democrats may well force a shift in Washington’s approach to the world.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/11/how-house-democrats-will-shift-us-foreign-policy/575215/

And from the Middle East…….

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/en/originals/2018/11/midterms-revamp-mideast-policy-congress.html

So much rides on the new House…..but will anything change?

Democrats will use their new majority in the US House of Representatives to reverse what they see as a hands-off approach by Republicans toward President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, and push for stricter dealings with Russia, Saudi Arabia and North Korea, Reuters reports.

Representative Eliot Engel, the Democrat in line to head the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said they might also seek congressional authorisation for the use of military force in places like Iraq and Syria. But on some hot-button areas, like China and Iran, he acknowledged there was little they could do to change the status quo.

As the majority party, Democrats will decide what legislation is considered in the House and have a more prominent role in setting spending policy and writing legislation.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20181108-how-a-democratic-us-house-could-alter-foreign-policy/

But there is a dark side….recently the US Congress, a few members, have called for a ceasefire in the Yemen-Saudi mash-up….I agree but the problem is that the statement is little more than a PR stunt to look like the Congress is doing something…..

In an October 30 press release issued by the State Department, the Trump administration called “on all parties to support UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis—both of whom have long defended the Yemen war—are now calling for a ceasefire within 30 days.

Yet these exhortations are meaningless without real pressure on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which are poised to launch yet another offensive on the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/a-yemen-ceasefire-believe-it-when-you-see-it/

Like I have said….ALL BARK NO BITE!

Dems!  Time to step up!

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