By Sarah Mamula
Talk Radio News Service
Though U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in Prague this past April, Congress has to yet to ratify.
Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton defended START, saying it will limit strategic offensive arms in both the U.S. and Russia in order to ensure stability and predictability between the two nations that together, possess 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons.
Despite bipartisan enthusiasm for ratification, Ranking Member John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he has concerns over the potential constraints in missile defense due to the inclusion of Article 5, as well as a unilateral statement made by Russia at the time of the signing that stated Russia would only validate START if the U.S. halted its defense missile build-up.
“That is a strong statement at the time of the signing,” said McCain.
Clinton, however, downplayed its significance, telling the committee, “We are not bound by it. In fact, we’ve issued our own statement making clear that the United States intends to continue improving and deploying effective missile defense systems.”
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who also testified, agreed with Clinton’s view that neither Article 5 nor Russia’s statement would affect U.S. missile defense capabilities.
According to Gates, the new START retains U.S. power to maintain, modernize and deploy “the most effective missile defenses possible.”
When questioned about a recent press report claiming that secret negotiations regarding restrictions on defense missiles were occurring, Clinton defended the transparency of the U.S.-Russia negotiations on the treaty.
“There is no secret deal,” she stressed. “There is no plan to limit U.S. missile defenses in this treaty.”
By Sarah Mamula
In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) discusses an amendment he is sponsoring along with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) to a financial reform bill currently in conference. The Merkley-Levin amendment would prohibit major banks from participating in proprietary trading with taxpayer-backed money. (:39)
In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) discusses an amendment he is sponsoring along with Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) to a financial reform bill currently in conference. The Merkley-Levin amendment would prohibit major banks from participating in proprietary trading with taxpayer-backed money. (:16)
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the ranking Republican member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, now says he is sorry for apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward during an intensely-watched hearing this morning.
Before Hayward began his prepared remarks to the committee, Barton told him “I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday,” referring to an agreement reached between BP and the White House to establish a $20 billion independently-managed escrow account to handle the claims filed against the company. He added, “I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that…amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.”
Democrats pounced on Barton as soon as the news of his comments broke. “House Republicans continue to side with Big Oil over the needs of the American people,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Vice President Joe Biden told White House reporters he found Barton’s remarks “incredibly insensitive, incredibly out of touch.” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs later said the President had been made aware of the comments, and replied that he could not “understand why anyone would say that.”
In all likelihood, it was such blow-back that prompted Barton to issue the following statement:
“I apologize for using the term ‘shakedown’ with regard to yesterday’s actions at the White House in my opening statement this morning, and I retract my apology to BP. As I told my colleagues yesterday and said again this morning, BP should bear the full financial responsibility for the accident on their lease in the Gulf of Mexico. BP should fully compensate those families and businesses that have been hurt by this accident. BP and the federal government need to stop the leak, clean up the damage, and take whatever steps necessary to prevent a similar accident in the future. “I regret the impact that my statement this morning implied that BP should not pay for the consequences of their decisions and actions in this incident.”
During his weekly press conference with reporters on Thursday, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) responds to President Obama’s Oval Office address Wednesday night by attacking his proposed energy plan. Boehner criticizes the President’s plan, saying, “there’s nothing responsible about a national energy tax that will raise prices in America and ships millions of American jobs overseas.” (0:22)
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) criticizes the Obama administration and congressional Democratics on Thursday for over-spending, calling them “spend-aholics.” “Democrats have lost every shred of credibility when it comes to managing taxpayer dollars,” he says. (0:53)
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) tells reporters Thursday that there is no reason the US should have rejected the help of foreign skimmers, and should have acted on local officials’ requests more efficiently. Although BP is responsible, says Boehner, the “federal government failed the American people here as well.” (0:37)
During his weekly briefing with reporters on Thursday, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) accuses the Obama administration of using scare tactics to enact partisan legislation, referring to health care, economic stimulus spending, and energy reform. (0:32)
During a hearing on Thursday, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a co-architect of an energy bill passed by the House last year, defends the 20 billion dollar escrow fund set up by BP to help award claims made by those affected by the continuing Gulf oil spill. BP CEO Tony Hayward was the hearing’s main witness. (0:44)
By Miles Wolf Tamboli
Talk Radio News
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) today blasted President Barack Obama’s address to the nation Tuesday night and his administration’s handling of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now,” said the President during his prime-time address from the Oval Office.
Boehner harshly criticized the President’s motives; “I don’t think President Obama should exploit this crisis by imposing a national energy tax.”
“Using this tragedy in the Gulf Coast as an excuse to have a national energy tax…is not the right thing for the country and we should put a stop to it,” he added.
The top House Republican continued, showing his strong opposition to the administration’s recent health care reform and economic stimulus legislation.
“Under the President’s watch, Democrats have become ‘spend-aholics’ who can’t restrain themselves…Democrats have lost every shred of credibility when it comes to managing taxpayer dollars.”
According to Boehner, the President has “so far overreached, and so fast, that he’s lost the confidence of the American people.”