Turner questions Obama’s missile defense plan
Rep. Mike Turner has serious reservations about the Obama administration’s missile defense strategy.
Turner, chairman of a key House Armed Services Committee subcommittee, last week criticized Obama’s decision to add 14 land based missile interceptors in response to threats from North Korea, while shifting away from efforts to develop enhanced missile defense in eastern Europe.
Turner — who has called for the United States ramping up missile defense on the United States’ West Coast for four years — applauds the decision to ramp up defense against potential attacks from North Korea. But he said he doesn’t want the United States to weaken its defense against Iran — and he believes the decision to pull away from missile defense in eastern Europe was done to appease Russia.
In an interview, Turner, R-Dayton, said by cancelling the program in Europe “the administration has left a hole” in the “intended missile defense umbrella to protect the United States.”
Turner also has speculated that the decision to cancel the missile defense system in Europe is signs of a deal with the Russians. According to Foreign Policy magazine, he cited a “hot mic” exchange between Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last March where Obama told Medvedev he would have “more flexibility” after his re-election. Medvedev replied that he would forward Obama’s comments to now Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“You’d have to conclude there was a deal,” he told Foreign Policy.
He said he’ll pursue a different strategy when the House works on its Defense Authorization bill later this year.
Portman and Ryan extend March Madness beer wager
Even budget hawks bet over beer.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and House Budget Chair (and former GOP vice-presidential contender) Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, apparently made a bet over last Sunday’s OSU-Wisconsin game. The bet: If Ryan won, he’d get a six pack of Great Lakes beer from Ohio’s junior senator. If Portman won, he’d get a six-pack of Miller High Life, known colloquially as the champagne of beers.
Ohio State, of course, won the game. So Portman was seen toting a six-pack of Miller High Life around Capitol Hill last week.
Now that both Big 10 schools are in the same bracket, it appears they’ve upped the ante: Portman apparently told Ryan he would go double or nothing with him in the tournament if the Badgers play the Buckeyes.
Portman forum part of RNC outreach strategy
One day after Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus released an RNC plan that sought, in part, to reach out to minorities in order to attract new voters to the Republican party, Portman hosted an event aimed at doing just that.
The event, a public policy forum on federal support for post-prison re-entry programs, drew about 50 people to a Capitol Hill hearing room, where Portman described his 2008 bill — up for reauthorization — that helps meet the needs of prisoners re-entering into society. Portman authored the bill in 2004, but it didn’t pass until after he had left Congress to take on positions in the George W. Bush administration.
“I think it makes all the sense in the world,” he said, citing examples of programs in Ohio that have reduced prison recidivism.
Portman described the bill as making good economic sense, citing the high costs of incarceration. He is co-sponsoring the bill’s reauthorization with Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
But his appearance kicked off a set of policy panels for Insight, an organization that aims to draw more conservative minority staffers to Capitol Hill and keep them in the party’s fold. The group is chaired by former Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla.
Priebus, unveiling the GOP’s “autopsy” Monday, said the party plans to spend $10 million to reach out to minorities.
Boehner likes his current job
In case you were wondering: No, House Speaker John Boehner does not want to president.
Boehner, R-West Chester, was asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper last week about his desire for the job when Tapper pointed out that for a few hours earlier this week, both President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden were flying to Israel and from Rome, respectively.
Tapper pointed out that Boehner was the highest-ranking American official on U.S.soil.
“You were essentially the president,” he said.
“No, I wasn’t,” Boehner replied. “I was Speaker of the House.”
“I don’t want to be president,” he said. “It’s just not anything I’ve ever thought about.”