The Global Citizen: Capitol Hill
With the new year beginning, this is the time when Citizens for Global Solutions would normally prepare our Congressional Report Card to rate members of Congress on global issue. The CGS Report Card analyzes voting records on issues ranging from genocide prevention to nuclear nonproliferation to funding for the international affairs budget.
But this year, we’ve come to the sad conclusion that there isn’t going to be a Report Card. Why not? Because Congress didn’t do enough on record last year to warrant one.
The Need for Allies to Work Together to Address Global Issues
At an event on transatlantic relations sponsored by the Brookings Institution on Thursday, November 18th, policymakers from Europe and the United States expressed agreement on one key point: the need for nations to work together to solve global problems that no one nation can solve alone. If that idea sounds familiar, it’s because it’s one of the core beliefs of Citizens for Global Solutions.
After Election Day 2010, one frequently repeated analysis was that this election was not about foreign policy. Voters’ minds were focused mostly on domestic issues such as the economy and unemployment, and weren’t giving much thought to America’s relations with the world outside our borders. However, the dramatic shift in power in Washington, DC means that some new members coming to Congress, and some current members taking on new roles, may have a profound impact on the United States’ engagement with the United Nations, International Criminal Court (ICC), and other multilateral organizations which Citizens for Global Solutions strongly supports.
In a recent visit to India, President Obama announced U.S. support for India taking a seat on the United Nations Security Council. A second announcement centered on U.S. backing of India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group. While these developments indicate a stronger tie between the world’s two largest democracies, they open up questions about Obama’s other initiatives as well as what this will mean for next steps in ensuring reform.
After a photo-finish to the Washington State Senate race, CGS-endorsed Senator Patty Murray has been declared the winner of the contest today, defeating Republican opponent Dino Rossi.
CGS endorsed Senator Murray due to her strong support for international engagement. She is a proponent of increased foreign aid from the U.S. and supports cooperation with international institutions. We congratulate Senator Murray on her victory and look forward to continuing to work with her on global issues in the 112th Congress next year.
This is Jordan Bankhead, I’m the CGS chapter president in Oxford, Mississippi and served on the CGS PAC this year. I’m volunteering at headquarters in Washington, D.C. this week and thought an outsider’s view of the recent Congressional elections for Mississippi, and the United States would be interesting.
In my district, Democratic congressman Travis Childers lost to Republican Alan Nunnelee over mainly domestic issues. Mississippians are not likely to notice any difference on foreign policy as a result of the election though.
People in my district want job growth, increased economic opportunities, and secure futures for their children, like other Americans. These values make sound governance on foreign policy important for all Mississippians. To this end, support for international policies like free and fair trade, promoting international investment (Blue Springs, Mississippi was recently awarded a new Toyota plant), and sound security policy are widely held. This presents a challenge and an opportunity for the new Congress and the Obama administration that may result in more bipartisan progress than pundits predict. Here is why:
In a speech this morning, President Obama outlined his plans and goals for the next few weeks. He emphasizes the overarching need for non-partisan consensus in order to prevent legislative deadlock. Although the economy has obviously been a critical issue in Tuesday's past election, President Obama also spoke of the need to address foreign policy issues, specifically the Senate ratification of the New START treaty, during the upcoming lame-duck session. Please read the President's remarks below:
"THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. I just want to make a few quick remarks to expand on some things that I said yesterday. Obviously Tuesday was a big election. I congratulated the Republicans and consoled some of our Democratic friends about the results, and I think it's clear that the voters sent a message, which is they want us to focus on the economy and jobs and moving this country forward. They're concerned about making sure that taxpayer money is not wasted, and they want to change the tone here in Washington, where the two parties are coming together and focusing on the people's business as opposed to scoring political points.
Citizens for Global Solutions is deeply saddened by the defeat of Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. Senator Feingold, a longtime friend and ally of CGS, lost his bid for re-election to Republican challenger Ron Johnson.
Senator Feingold has been one of the staunchest champions of global issues on Capitol Hill throughout his time in office. He has always been a member of Congress that CGS could count on, whether to introduce legislation or to vote in support of our priorities in the Senate. This year, Senator Feingold took the lead in creating effective U.S. policy on genocide prevention by sponsoring new legislation. We appreciated the opportunity to work with him and his staff on this critically important issue.
Senator Feingold earned a strong "A" average during his Senate career in CGS's Congressional Report Card, with extra credit for introducing legislation on nuclear non-proliferation and international engagement. We will miss his leadership on these issues and many others.
Following his loss, Senator Feingold thanked his supporters and said, "No one has ever had such a strong foundation of support as I have. You gave me my backbone. In the words of Bob Dylan: 'But my heart is not weary. It's light and free. I've got nothing but affection for those who have sailed with me.'"
Following a very close race in Virginia's 11th district, CGS- endorsed Gerry Connolly has a lead of more than 900 votes over Republican challenger Keith Fimian. The vote will be officially certified on November 22; Fimian can request a recount if the vote margin remains less than half a percentage point, but it would not be automatic.
Rep. Connolly has developed a strong record on CGS issues including support for the United Nations during his time in office. He has been a strong champion of increased cooperation with international organizations, which earned him an A in CGS's 2010 Congressional Report Card. Read more about Rep. Connolly's voting record.
We look forward to the opportunity to continue working with Rep. Connolly on important foreign policy issues. Congratulations!
In Washington State, the senate race continues as we wait for full reporting of the votes. As of Wednesday afternoon, at 62 % reporting, Patty Murray (D-WA), the incumbent senator, leads her challenger Dino Rossi by 14,005 votes. Votes remain to be tallied, but it looks as if Murray will most likely keep her seat in the Senate.
We endorsed Senator Murray due to her support for international cooperation by the U.S. She is a proponent of increased foreign aid from the U.S. as well as supportive of cooperation with international institutions. We are happy to see the race leaning in her direction, and look forward to continuing our work with her if she indeed emerges as the successful candidate. We will continue to update you on the Washington Senate race as more news becomes available.
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