Steve's Blog

Back to Iraq

As I begin writing this week’s blog, I just got off an Army Blackhawk helicopter in Baghdad, Iraq, and I’m now on a State Department plane over Iraq heading from Baghdad to Kirkuk in Northern Iraq.  Unfortunately, yesterday in a series of coordinated car bombings, 29 people were killed and 90 wounded in Kirkuk. 

In my capacity as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee on the Middle East and South Asia, I’m leading a six person CODEL (Congressional Delegation) which consists of three members of Congress, Congresswoman Karen Bass (Dem.

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An Exercise in Raw Political Power

You probably haven’t heard much about it – the mainstream press has all but ignored it.  But something is taking place in Washington which is dangerous, virtually unprecedented, and should scare the heck out of anyone who cares about good government (if there still is such a thing.)

President Obama has just announced that he intends to sign an Executive Order requiring that any company that wishes to bid on a contract with the federal government, will have to list all political contributions by that company or any its officers.  Since Obama controls the entire Executive Branch of the government, and therefore controls all federal contracts which will be given, it gives the Administration the ability to reward people who give to Obama and Democrats, and punish those who are so naive as to give to Republicans. 

Now one could argue that this could benefit Republicans and harm Democrats down the road, when the Administration switches at some point, as it inevitably will.  And that’s true.  But Obama doesn’t care about “down the road”; he cares about this upcoming Presidential election, the only one he’ll be eligible to run for again.  This is the same Administration that’s set the unprecedented goal of raising $1 billion to run the next campaign. 

Perhaps the greatest outrage of the proposed Executive Order is that historically the federal government has always had the goal of keeping politics out of the federal government bidding process, to reduce potential corruption, and to make sure through competition that the government, and therefore the taxpayer, get the best possible price.  The new Obama policy will inject an unprecedented level of politics and potential corruption in a previously open and transparent bidding process. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calls the Obama proposal “the crassest political move I’ve ever seen.  This is almost gangster politics, to shut down people who oppose them.” 

And even Senator Susan Collins of Maine, a moderate who is known for her bipartisan, middle-of-the-road demeanor and positions, called the new Obama policy “Orwellian” pointing out that “it has taken decades to create the federal contracting system based on best prices, best value, best quality,” and that “the effect of the Obama order is to again have politics play a role in determining who gets a contract.  Companies may choose not to bid, which will reduce competition and raise government costs.” 

The Obama Administration should reconsider this ill-advised new policy immediately. 

Check out my questioning of an Obama Administration official at a Congressional hearing last week.

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Obama First Criticized, Then Followed Bush’s Anti-Terror Policies

2008 Candidate Barack Obama wasn’t a big fan of the war against terror.  He excoriated President Bush’s policies at every opportunity, and made a whole series of promises to the anti-war Left.  Let’s see how he’s done. 

First, and probably most emphatically, he promised to pull U.S.

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Back from the Middle East, and the Death of Osama bin Laden

In my capacity as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, I returned two days ago from the Middle East, specifically visiting Israel, Egypt, and Jordan.  Accompanying me were two of my top Foreign Affairs Committee staffers. 

There has obviously been a tremendous amount of change going on in the Middle East in recent months.  The uprisings began in Tunisia, spreading to Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Syria, and Yemen (and we’d like to see regime change in Iran).  Also, independent of my trip, a courageous group of Navy Seals killed the person responsible for the worst attack on U.S.

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