Blunts Talks of Syria but Not Obamacare in KC
September 7, 2013

KC Star Buzz:

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., promised a chat about the Affordable Care Act before an appearance Friday at the Kansas City, Mo. Chamber of Commerce.

Blunt talked about energy — he thinks improving energy independence will provide a dramatic boost to the American economy — but Obamacare, funded or unfunded, didn’t come up.

He never talked about it, and no one asked him about it.

Kerry Sweeps Sunday Talker with for Syria Strike
September 1, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress to approve military action in response to the growing Syrian crisis amid new evidence that he said shows the Assad regime used sarin gas, though lawmakers were unsure whether the president had the votes to authorize the use of force.
Kerry, in a whirlwind tour of all five Sunday shows, pressed the administration’s case for military involvement in Syria. In what he called a “very important recent development,” the U.S. government has found that hair samples and blood samples from first responders in East Damascus have tested positive for sarin. The government said the Aug. 21 attack killed 1,429 Syrians, including 426 children.

“This case is building and this case will build,” Kerry said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Over on CNN, Kerry said the case against Syrian President Bashar Assad was “overwhelming.”

When asked on NBC how President Barack Obama would respond if Congress did not authorize military action, Kerry responded: “I do not believe the Congress of the United States will turn its back on this moment.”

“I said that the president has the authority to act,” Kerry said on “Meet the Press.” “But the Congress is going to do what’s right here.”

The Obama administration has dispatched Kerry as its chief spokesman and prosecutor in its case for military involvement in Syria, relying on the former senator to make the argument – whether privately to former colleagues in Congress or publicly, in a 20-minute speech at the State Department two days ago.

On Sunday, Kerry disputed charges that the administration’s delay in military action amounted to a win for the Assad regime, saying on Fox that now, “that is in the hands of the Congress of the United States.”

The secretary of state, a former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he spoke Saturday with Ahmed Assi al-Jarba, the president of the Syrian opposition.

“I believe he understands that America intends to act, that we are going to continue to support the opposition,” Kerry said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We may even, as a result of this, be able to provide greater support to the opposition and do a better job of helping the opposition to be able to continue to fight against the Assad regime.

And Kerry repeatedly argued in his TV interviews Sunday that Obama believes he “has the power” to act unilaterally without the OK from Congress, but that the U.S. government’s hand would be strengthened with support from Capitol Hill.

“The president has the right, and he has asserted that right, that he could do what’s necessary to protect the national security of the United States at any point in time,” Kerry said on CNN. “The president believes that we are stronger as a nation when we act together.”

In a surprise announcement Saturday, President Barack Obama said he would seek congressional authorization for any use of military force in Syria while arguing that he didn’t need sign-off from Capitol Hill to do so.

The decision to seek approval from Congress was greeted warmly by most lawmakers, but it is far from clear whether an authorization vote would pass both chambers. And several lawmakers said Sunday that chances are slim that the White House has the votes in Congress to approve military action.

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday” that he didn’t believe Congress would authorize use of force. And Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) agreed, saying that Congress would “probably” reject authorization if the vote were held today.

King, who has been critical of Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval, said he would vote in favor of use of force, but added that it would be a “difficult” lift to get that vote through Capitol Hill.

“We have an increasing isolationist wing in our party, which I think is damaging to our party and to our nation,” King said on Fox.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Obama and his administration will have to work “diligently” to sway lawmakers and their constituents that involvement in Syria is in the United States’ interest.

“I think that case can be made and should be made,” Reed said on “Fox News Sunday.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Congress will “rise to the occasion” and back use of force in Syria, particularly after getting more information about the sarin gas attack. But it’s going to take a healthy debate to get there,” he added.

“This is really about the credibility of the United States of America standing up for an anti-proliferation and use of chemical and biological weapons,” Rogers said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It’s that serious.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are firmly behind Obama. But because of the sensitivity of the issue, it’s unlikely that Speaker John Boehner’s leadership team will weigh in, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was noncommittal about whether he would support military action in a statement Saturday.

Congress appears unlikely to resume earlier than scheduled to vote on authorizing use of force in Syria. House Republican leaders announced a vote the week of Sept. 9, when Congress is slated to return. And Reid said key committee leaders will hold briefings and hearings starting next week, and a vote would come “no later” than the week of Sept. 9.

Brunner Cites Steelman Foreign Policy Errors, Calls Her “An Unserious Candidate”
April 12, 2012

Missouri Republican Senate candidates John Brunner and Sarah Steelman are clashing over Steelman’s knowledge of foreign affairs.
The John Brunner Senate campaign is calling rival Sarah Steelman “an unserious candidiate”, after a Steelman interview this week.
Brunner spokesman Todd Abrajano says Steelman “lacks clairity” on US foreign policy. He referring to two points in a Tuesday interview. In that session Steelman called for US sanctions against both North Korea and Syria. Both those nations are under US sanctions and have been for a while.
710 KCMO radio host Greg Snapp asked Steelman if the US should try to shoot down the rocket North Korea is preparing to launch.
“No… I don’t think we need to engage in war with them yet… but I do think we need to pursue all the non-military means of achieving our goal, and that includes sanctions and covert actions in the country itself and I am not sure we have done that yet.”
When asked about the potential involvement of the US in the crisis in Syria, Steelman also spoke of non military actions and sanctions. Syria is already facing US sanctions.
Steelman also said Syria may be taking it’s orders from Iran.
“Now I look at Syria just as a tentacle of Iran.”
Syria and Iran have an alliance of more than 30 years in the Middle East. It is an alliance formed in part to opposition to US policy in the region. Syria has a pan-Arab foreign policy, which is very different that the Islamist theocracy advance in Iran.
“It’s alarming that as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Sarah Steelman is unaware that the United States has current sanctions in effect against North Korea,” said Abrajano,