A U.S. Senate panel this week delayed voting to confirm a key State Department arms-control nominee challenged by GOP lawmakers over U.S. nuclear policy.
At the request of Republican Senators Marco Rubio (Fla.) and James Risch (Idaho), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee postponed a vote to approve Rose Gottemoeller’s appointment as undersecretary of State for arms control and international security, panel Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said on Wednesday.
The GOP lawmakers also held up a vote to confirm Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Space and Defense Policy Frank Rose to fill Gottemoeller’s vacated role in overseeing treaty verification and compliance at the department.
Menendez pledged to put their names forward again after the Senate returns from recess later this month.
The panel endorsed both appointments last October, but they require re-approval because Senate Democrats have altered the chamber’s confirmation rules since that time through the so-called “nuclear option.”
One issue expert linked Rubio’s request for the delays in part to Gottemoeller’s refusal “to be pinned down” during her confirmation hearing on the Obama administration’s stance on potential new nuclear-arms reductions.
“What Rubio is doing on these nominations and what other Republicans are doing on other nominations is slow-walking them,” John Isaacs, executive director of the Council for a Livable World, told Global Security Newswire on Friday.
“We need to get these people to be moved,” Menendez, speaking at his committee’s Wednesday business meeting, said regarding his support for advancing the pending nominations. “We cannot … move forward on some of these critical [areas] of arms control and international security and verification and compliance without having people in those positions.”
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."