It is an election year and politicians of every stripe are posturing and preening and pounding their chests.
Now House Republicans are doing their best to stab Bush and Dubai in the back. WaPo has an article concerning the effort on the part of House Republicans to kill the deal before the 45 day review is done.
Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) will attach legislation to block the deal today to a must-pass emergency spending bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A House vote on the measure next week will set up a direct confrontation with President Bush, who sternly vowed to veto any bill delaying or stopping Dubai Ports World's purchase of London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steamship Co.
"Listen, this is a very big political problem," said House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), explaining that he had to give his rank-and-file members a chance to vote. "There are two things that go on in this town. We do public policy, and we do politics. And you know, most bills at the end of the day, the politics and the policy kind of come together, but not always. And we are into one of these situations where this has become a very hot political potato."
Ron Bonjean, spokesman for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), said GOP leadership is "endorsing the viewpoint of our members and Chairman Lewis that we do not believe the U.S. should allow a government-owned company to operate American ports."
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said last night that the administration is "committed to keeping open and sincere lines of communication with Congress." She added, though, that "the president's position is unchanged."
Since the Dubai port issue exploded last month, the Bush administration, GOP leaders and DP World officials have tried to defuse the situation and to buy time to let the issue fade.
In a deal brokered by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), DP World resubmitted its acquisition this week to the administration for a 45-day national security investigation. Frist has said he will hold off any legislation in the Senate until that inquiry is completed, a vow meant to give the administration and the company a chance to present their case.
That agreement appears to have quieted calls in the Senate for immediate action against the deal. Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), an early critic of the deal, said briefings by port security experts and company officials have eased his concerns. But House Republican aides and Senate Democrats said the Senate will almost certainly have to follow once the House acts.
"This issue is going to go away like the sun's not going to come up in the morning," said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).
"There's a lot of politics going on around here," Martinez said.
The House is still boiling. Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), with bipartisan support, introduced legislation yesterday that would scuttle the deal; mandate that the owners of "critical infrastructure" in the United States, including ports, highways and power plants, be American; and demand that cargo entering U.S. ports be screened within six months of passage.
We have planes piloted by Arab pilots flying commercial jets into this country every day. The Saudi Arabians have a shipping company that does business in 9 American ports. The Chinese do business here as well. And then of course there are the Danes, who are major investors in shipping here. Do will tell them they are not to be trusted? The horse, as they say, is out of barn. Too late to shut the door now, and once this begins, where does it end?
And Duncan Hunter, sounding more like Chucky Schumer every day, says that UAE is unreliable and we can not have foreigners involved in our infrastructure. Where exactly does the Congressman expect to find all these American shipping companies? Is he going to wave his magic xenophobic wand and valoi there will appear true blue real live Americans lined up ready and waiting to get the job done and make the investment? Second runner up in this deal was a state owned company from Singapore.
Over the years the US has sold a God awful amount of military hardware to the UAE. It seems Duncan Hunter and his buddies were not all that concerned about the UAE's reliability when the UAE were forking over hundreds of millions of dollars for equipment that kills people. The House was not bothered by ties to terrorism when the US and UAE took part in joint military exercises. We have airfields there. We have a huge Naval base there, and now all of a sudden...seen one Arab, seen em all, they can not be trusted.
If we have to fight Iran we would be up s*** creek without a paddle without the UAE and if these nimrods keep shooting their mouths off we just might find ourselves losing an ally. And for what?
UPDATE: House Approbriations just voted to block the Dubai deal 62-2. Remember that the next time someone asks why it is we don't see more moderate Muslims.
UPDATE:"Because of the strong relationship between the United Arab Emirates and the United States and to preserve that relationship ... DP World will transfer fully the U.S. operations of P&O Operations North America to a United States entity," Edward H. Bilkey, DP World's chief operating officer, said in a statement.
The announcement did not specify which American company would be involved.
The UAE firm's purchase of P&O, the British company that manages cargo and passenger terminals at ports on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, has stirred up bipartisan opposition. CNN
Personally I think it would serve them right if Halliburton took over the contract. Is this a good compromise? I don't know, but I am getting tired of the issue myself.
Tuesday morning links
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