Unwise to ally with an untrustworthy Afghan President
They clashed over Obama's decision last year to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan--Specter said it is unwise to ally with an untrustworthy Afghan President
Hamid Karzai while Sestak said is important to put pressure on al-Qaida safe havens in neighboring Pakistan.
Source: Lehigh Valley Live coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate
May 1, 2010
Voted NO on redeploying non-essential US troops out of Iraq in 9 months.
Vote to transition the missions of US Forces in Iraq to a more limited set of missions as specified by the President on September 13, 2007: S.AMDT.3875 amends S.AMDT.3874 and underlying bill H.R.2764:
The President shall commence the safe, phased redeployment of members of the US Armed Forces from Iraq who are not essential to the [new limited mission].
Such redeployment shall begin not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
No funds under any provision of law may be expended to continue the deployment in Iraq of members of the US Armed Forces after 9 months.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. LEVIN: "The amendment requires redeployment be completed within 9 months. At that point, funding for the war would be ended, with four narrow exceptions:"
Security for US Government personnel and infrastructure
Training Iraqi security forces
Equipment to US service men and women to ensure their safety
Targeted operations against members of al-Qaida.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. McCAIN: "This year, after nearly 4 years of mismanaged war, our military has made significant gains under the so-called surge. Overall violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since . Improvised explosive device blasts now occur at a rate lower than at any point since September 2004.
"Al-Qaida's leadership knows which side is winning in Iraq. It may not be known in some parts of America and in this body, but al-Qaida knows. We are succeeding under the new strategy.
"Given these realities, some proponents of precipitous withdrawal from Iraq have shifted their focus. While conceding, finally, that there have been dramatic security gains, they have begun seizing on the lackluster performance of the Iraqi Government to insist that we should abandon the successful strategy and withdraw U.S. forces. This would be a terrible mistake."
Voted YES on designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards as terrorists.
Vote on a "Sense of the Senate" amendment, S.Amdt. 3017, to H.R. 1585 (National Defense Authorization Act), that finds:
that it is a vital US national interest to prevent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from turning Shi'a militia extremists in Iraq into a Hezbollah-like force;
that it should be US policy to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of Iran;
to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy;
that the US should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. LIEBERMAN: Some of our colleagues thought the Sense of the Senate may have opened the door to some kind of military action against Iran [so we removed some text].
That is not our intention. In fact, our intention is to increase the economic pressure on Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps so that we will never have to consider the use of the military to stop them from what they are doing to kill our soldiers.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. BIDEN. I will oppose the Kyl-Lieberman amendment for one simple reason: this administration cannot be trusted. I am very concerned about the evidence that suggests that Iran is engaged in destabilizing activities inside Iraq. Arguably, if we had a different President who abided by the meaning and intent of laws we pass, I might support this amendment. I fear, however, that this President might use the designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity as a pretext to use force against Iran as he sees fit. [The same was done with the Senate resolution on Iraq in 2002]. Given this President's actions and misuse of authority, I cannot support the amendment.
Voted NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008.
Begins the phased redeployment of US forces from Iraq within 120 days of enactment of this joint resolution with the goal of redeploying by March 31, 2008, all US combat forces from Iraq, except for a limited number essential for protecting US and coalition personnel and infrastructure, training and equipping Iraqi forces, and conducting targeted counter-terrorism operations. Such redeployment shall be implemented as part of a diplomatic, political, and economic strategy that includes sustained engagement with Iraq's neighbors and the international community in order to bring stability to Iraq.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
Our troops are caught in the midst of a civil war. The administration has begun to escalate this war with 21,000 more troops. This idea is not a new one. During this war, four previous surges have all failed. It is time for a different direction. It is time for a drawdown of our troops.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
This resolution calls for imposing an artificial timeline to withdraw our troops from Iraq, regardless of the conditions on the ground or the consequences of defeat; a defeat that will surely be added to what is unfortunately a growing list of American humiliations. This legislation would hobble American commanders in the field and substantially endanger America's strategic objective of a unified federal democratic Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself and be an ally in the war against Islamic fascism. The unintended consequence of this resolution is to bring to reality Osama bin Laden's vision for Iraq; that after 4 years of fighting in Iraq the US Congress loses its will to fight. If we leave Iraq before the job is done, as surely as night follows day, the terrorists will follow us home. Osama bin Laden has openly said: America does not have the stomach to stay in the fight. He is a fanatic. He is an Islamic fascist. He is determined to destroy us and our way of life.
Reference: US Policy in Iraq Resolution;
; vote number 2007-075
on Mar 15, 2007
Voted NO on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007.
Voting YEA on this amendment would establish a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Voting NAY would keep the current situation without a timetable. The amendment states:
The President shall redeploy, commencing in 2006, US forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007, leaving only the minimal number of forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces and conducting specialized counterterrorism operations.
The President should maintain an over-the-horizon troop presence to prosecute the war on terror and protect regional security interests.
Within 30 days, the administration shall submit to Congress a report that sets forth the strategy for the redeployment of US forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007.
Opponents of the Resolution say:
This amendment would withdraw American forces from Iraq without regard to the real conditions on the ground.
The consequences of an American retreat would be terrible for the security of the
American people at home.
Our commitment is not open-ended. It is conditional on the Iraqis moving toward self-government and self-defense.
Supporters of the Resolution say:
Congress talks almost incessantly about the situation in Iraq as if on 9/11 the situation involved Iraq. Of course, it didn't. We were attacked by al-Qaida operating out of Afghanistan on 9/11.
One of the theories we hear is that somehow staying in Iraq is necessary because all the terrorists will come into Iraq, and then they wouldn't be able to attack us anywhere else. Some call this the roach-motel theory. The fact is, al-Qaida is operating in 60 to 80 countries. Yet our resources are only heavily focused on this Iraq situation.
In terms of differences from other Iraq amendments: This is binding, not just a sense of the Senate.
Secondly, we have a date; other amendments are open-ended.
Thirdly, this has an over-the-horizon force specifically to protect our security interests.
Voted NO on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan.
To establish a special committee of the Senate to investigate the awarding and carrying out of contracts to conduct activities in Afghanistan and Iraq and to fight the war on terrorism. Voting YES would: create Senate special committee to investigate war contracts, taking into consideration: bidding, methods of contracting, subcontracting, oversight procedures, allegations of wasteful practices, accountability and lessons learned in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Voted YES on $86 billion for military operations in Iraq & Afghanistan.
Vote to pass a bill that would appropriate $86.5 billion in supplemental spending for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Fiscal 2004. The bill would provide $10.3 billion as a grant to rebuild Iraq. This includes:
$5.1 billion for security
$5.2 billion for reconstruction costs
$65.6 billion for military operations and maintenance
$1.3 billion for veterans medical care
$10 billion as a loan that would be converted to a grant if 90% of all bilateral debt incurred by the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, would have to be forgiven by other countries.
Reference: FY04 Emergency Supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan;
; vote number 2003-400
on Oct 17, 2003
Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq.
H.J.Res. 114; Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. The administration would be required to report to Congress that diplomatic options have been exhausted before, or within 48 hours after military action has started. Every 60 days the president would also be required to submit a progress report to Congress.
Voted YES on allowing all necessary force in Kosovo.
Majority Leader Trent Lott motioned to kill the resolution that would have authorized the president to "use all necessary forces and other means," in cooperation with U.S. allies to accomplish objectives in Yugoslavia.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)78; N)22
Ending the Bosnian arms embargo.
Status: Bill Passed Y)69; N)29; NV)2
Reference: Bosnia Herzegovina Self-Defense Act of '95;
Bill S. 21
; vote number 1995-331
on Jul 26, 1995
Condemns anti-Muslim bigotry in name of anti-terrorism.
Specter co-sponsored the Resolution on bigotry against Sikh Americans:
Title: Condemning bigotry and violence against Sikh Americans in the wake of terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.
Summary: Declares that, in the quest to identify, locate, and bring to justice the perpetrators and sponsors of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the civil rights and liberties of all Americans, including Sikh-Americans, should be protected.
Condemns bigotry and acts of violence or discrimination against any Americans, including Sikh-Americans.
Calls upon local and Federal law enforcement authorities to: (1) work to prevent hate crimes against all Americans; and (2) prosecute to the fullest extent of the law all those who commit hate crimes.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR255 on Oct 4, 2001
Supports $48 billion in new spending for anti-terrorism.
Specter adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership issue stance:
The Republican Main Street Partnership (RMSP), the largest group of moderate GOP elected officials in the nation, applauds President Bush's call for $48 Billion in new defense spending to win the war on terrorism, provide for homeland defense and modernize the U.S. military.
Main Street Moderates, also offer support for the President's "Homeland Defense" initiative that strengthens border security ($2.1 Billion Increase), bulks up INS and Customs inspectors and agents (focusing on the northern border), and proposes a 500% increase in "Bio-Terrorism" spending.
These were part of the RMSP Anti-Terrorism Policy proposed by key Main Street members Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) and others shortly after Sept. 11th. Sen. Snowe called "the President's proposals to boost funding for the Coast Guard, border security and customs right on target." "By focusing on these issues (Defense and Homeland Security), he's clearly in touch with what's most important to the American people," said fellow Main Street member Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY).
Source: Republican Main Street Partnership press release 01-RMSP5 on Jan 30, 2002
Deploy UN multinational peacekeeping force in Darfur.
Specter co-sponsored deploying UN multinational peacekeeping force in Darfur
Calling for the urgent deployment of a robust and effective multinational peacekeeping mission with sufficient size, resources, leadership, and mandate to protect civilians in Darfur.
Whereas hundreds of thousands of people have died and approximately 2,500,000 people have been displaced in Darfur, Sudan since 2003;
Whereas Congress declared on July 22, 2004 that the atrocities in Darfur were genocide;
Whereas the Sudanese President refused to allow the UN to deploy a peacekeeping force to Darfur;
Whereas deliberately targeting civilians and people providing humanitarian assistance during an armed conflict is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, and those who commit such violations must be held accountable;
Whereas on June 11, 2007, Sudanese President al-Bashir pledged to accept unconditionally the full United Nations-African Union hybrid deployment;
Whereas to establish conditions of peace and security, the peacekeeping mission
must be accompanied by a peace-building process among the parties to the conflict;
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate urges the President of the US to work with members of the UN Security Council and the African Union to ensure the expeditious deployment of the United Nations-African Union hybrid peacekeeping force with a mandate affirming that civilian protection is a primary mission objective;
Provide the UN-African Union hybrid force with sufficient logistical support and airlift capacity; and necessary vehicles, fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters for tactical reconnaissance and armed deterrence;
Be prepared to implement meaningful measures, including the imposition of multilateral sanctions, an arms embargo, and a no-fly zone for Sudanese military flights over Darfur, if the Government of Sudan obstructs deployment of the agreed upon peacekeeping mission.
Legislative Outcome: Agreed to by Senate by Unanimous Consent.
Source: Resolution on Darfur (S.RES 276) 07-SR276 on Jul 19, 2007
Move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
Specter co-sponsored the Jerusalem Embassy Act
Declares it to be U.S. policy that:
Jerusalem remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic religious group are protected;
Jerusalem be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel;
the U.S. Embassy in Israel be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.
Makes specified amounts of such funds available until expended in FY 1996 and 1997 only for construction and other costs associated with relocating the U.S. Embassy Jerusalem.
Corresponding House bill is H.R.1595. Became Public Law No: 104-45.
Source: Bill sponsored by 77 Senators and 78 Reps 95-S1322 on Oct 13, 1995