10 Republicans Who Are About To Be Congress' Key Foreign Policy Players

There’s an interesting piece at ForeignPolicy.com listing 10 Republicans who can be expected to play a major role in helping or frustrating President Obama’s foreign policy and security goals over the next two years. It’s based on the assumption that the Republicans will take over the House of Representatives and their members will take over committee chairmanships. Assuming Republicans don’t take the Senate, they will still be in a much stronger position to influence outcomes and frustrate administration policies they don’t like.

Of the 10, three are deeply committed to Israel and would become major allies to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his efforts to ward off White House pressure for compromise: Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, who would become House majority leader and get to decide what bills do and don’t come to the floor for a vote; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, who would chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, “the GOP’s de facto leader on a host of foreign-policy issues” and a longtime ally of Zionist Organization of America president Mort Klein.

Two others on the Foreign Policy list are expected to be pivotal Capitol Hill allies for Obama: Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who is likely to replace retiring Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri as lead Republican on Select Committee on Intelligence (Orrin Hatch, who is line for the job, is expected to turn it down because of other responsibilities).

The others on the list:

Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, listed not because of any official title but because he’s the patron and a lead funder of incoming Tea Partiers, most of whom don’t pay much attention to international affairs and “could be inclined to follow suit with his unilateralist, militaristic worldview, which many see as based on his neoconservative ideology rather than a realistic pursuit of U.S. interests in multipolar world order.”

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, opposes ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, closing Guantanamo, cutting U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and will “resist using the defense bill for non-defense-related objectives, such as passing immigration reforms, as the Democratic leadership currently envisions.”

Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, a budget cutter and strong supporter of the Balanced Budget Amendment who is likely to take over from New York Democrat Nita Lowey as chair of House Appropriations subcommittee on State Department and Foreign Operations, which is in charge of foreign aid. Budget cutting and foreign aid: Do the math.

Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, will play a key role in choosing the five Republicans on the foreign ops subcommittee; all five current GOP members are retiring.

Rep. Ed Royce of California, who is in line to chair the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on terrorism, non-proliferation and trade, where he would be in a position to hold hearings on the Middle East, Afghanistan, the conduct of the war on terror and a host of other critical issues.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

10 Republicans Who Are About To Be Congress' Key Foreign Policy Players


J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg is editor emeritus of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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