President Obama signed a bill into law Friday, authored by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, to essentially bar Iran’s proposed United Nations ambassador from entering the United States.
The measure, which easily passed the Senate and House by voice vote last week, denies admission to U.N. ambassadors who the president deems have been engaged in terrorist activity against the U.S. or its allies.
Last week, the U.S. decided not to issue a visa to Iran’s ambassador pick, Hamid Aboutalebi, who was part of the group involved in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. But White House press secretary Jay Carney had previously stopped short of saying the president would sign the bill into law, as it was being reviewed for its constitutionality.
But even as Obama signed the bill Friday, he made it clear that he would continue to treat the underlying Foreign Relations Authorization Act section the Cruz bill amends as “advisory” in cases that it would undermine his constitutional authority to receive U.N. ambassadors, as George H.W. Bush pointed out when he first signed the act into law.
“Acts of espionage and terrorism against the United States and our allies are unquestionably problems of the utmost gravity, and I share the Congress’s concern that individuals who have engaged in such activity may use the cover of diplomacy to gain access to our Nation,” Obama said in the statement. “Nevertheless, as President Bush also observed, ‘curtailing by statute my constitutional discretion to receive or reject ambassadors is neither a permissible nor a practical solution.’ “
The Cruz measure closely mirrors a House bill that Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., introduced in early April.
Aboutalebi has downplayed his role in the hostage crisis, saying he was primarily a translator and negotiator. He previously served as a European Union ambassador.
What We're Following See More »
Nikki Haley. Jeb Bush. Scott Walker. Lindsey Graham. John Kasich. The list is growing ever longer of Republicans who say they wouldn't even consider becoming Donald Trump's running mate. "The recoiling amounts to a rare rebuke for a front-runner: Politicians usually signal that they are not interested politely through back channels, or submit to the selection process, if only to burnish their national profiles."
"Donald Trump holds a 15-point lead over Ted Cruz in the potentially decisive May 3 presidential primary race in Indiana, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. Trump gets support from 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters — followed by Cruz at 34 percent and John Kasich at 13 percent. If that margin in Indiana holds on Tuesday, Trump would be on a glide path towards obtaining the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination on a first ballot at the GOP convention in July."
In a statement released on Sunday, President and Mrs. Obama revealed that their oldest daughter, Malia, will attend Harvard University in the fall of 2017 as a member of the Class of 2021. She will take a year off before beginning school.
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.”