Senate Foreign Relations Committee

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Congress

Congress on U.S. Policy Toward Syria and Turkey: An Overview of Recent Hearings

It has been almost three weeks since the president ordered the precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from northeast Syria. The move allowed the Turkish military and its proxies to swiftly invade the area, setting off a cascade of events that has forced America’s Syrian-Kurdish partners to strike a deal with the Assad regime, exposed Kurdish soldiers and civilians to a barrage of attacks, enabled more than 100 ISIS fighters to escape Kurdish detention facilities, and facilitated the growth of Russian and Iranian influence in the region.

Foreign Policy Essay

Can the Senate Constrain the President on NATO and Russia?

Editors Note: Trump's destruction of U.S. alliances and coddling of Moscow is alarming enough, but even more distressing is the apparent complacency of many powerful Republicans. This may be changing. Molly McKew of the New Media Frontier assesses legislation in the works that would constrain the president on NATO and Russia. If passed, it would mark a major step toward Congress reasserting itself as a foreign policy player.

Daniel Byman

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Sanctions

The Deter Act: Congress’s Latest Effort to Discourage Election Interference

New movement may be afoot on a sanctions bill designed to deter Russian election interference. The bill, the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines Act of 2018 (Deter Act), was introduced earlier this year by Sens. Marco Rubio (R.-Fla.) and Chris Van Hollen (D.-Md.).

Executive Power

Video and Testimony: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Authority to Order the Use of Nuclear Weapons

The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held an open hearing on "Authority to Order the Use of Nuclear Weapons." The hearing took place after the committee's business meeting at 10 a.m. EST on Nov. 14. The following witnesses testified:

AUMF

Livestream: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF)

The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing on "The Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Administration Perspective" at 5 p.m. EDT, Monday, Oct. 30.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (read statement here) and Defense Secretary James Mattis testified.

Brief Reviews

Congressional Oversight of US Foreign Relations and National Security?

Executive power is on the rise, a familiar argument runs, and necessarily at the expense of Congressional authority. Linda L. Fowler, professor emerita in government at Dartmouth College, examines another direction of this claim with respect to US foreign policy and national security - what she describes as the decline of Congressional oversight over foreign relations. The tilt in the balance of power toward the president, that is, is not simply the executive's enlargement of its sphere, but Congress's affirmative withdrawal in key matters of foreign policy oversight.

Iran

Senators Draft Letter Requesting Obama Send Deal to Congress Before United Nations

Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), respectively the chair and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have sent a public letter to President Barack Obama urging him to "postpone the vote at the United Nations until after Congress considers this [Iran] agreement." In the view of the senators, proceeding to the United Nations before Congress can weigh in on the deal would be contrary to the president's own statement that "it's important for the American people and Congress to get a full opportunity to review this deal."

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