Political briefs – July 14

Staff report


Staff report


BROWN STATEMENT ON NUCLEAR AGREEMENT WITH IRAN – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – released the following statement today on the comprehensive agreement reached between the United States, five other world powers, and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program:

“Americans prefer a diplomatic solution that ensures Iran cannot develop or obtain a nuclear weapon,” Brown said. “If early reports are correct, it appears the agreement the U.S. and other U.N. Security Council nations have finally reached with Iran is the kind of durable and verifiable agreement that is far preferable to further escalation and possible military action.”

“I have not seen the details, and look forward to being briefed on its terms. Congress must now review the agreement to ensure that it will cut off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, and that the sharp limits it imposes on Iran’s nuclear program can be verified by international inspectors. This is one of the most significant national security issues Congress will face in a generation; it should not be subject to the kinds of partisan attacks and political ad wars we have seen in recent months. Congress should give this agreement the careful consideration and serious debate it deserves.”

PORTMAN STATEMENT ON NUCLEAR AGREEMENT WITH IRAN – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) released the following statement regarding the announcement of a nuclear agreement with Iran:

“I look forward to reviewing details of the nuclear agreement reached earlier today in Vienna. As I have said since the start of this process, I will weigh this agreement on the merits. I will be reviewing whether it is enforceable—both through effective international monitoring and the ability to re-impose sanctions if violations occur while assuring that sanctions relief is not given unless and until Iran meets its commitments—and whether the agreement prevents Iran from developing a nuclear weapon capability. This is of the utmost importance for our own national security, as well as for our close allies in the region such as Israel. Congress has a responsibility to carefully review the agreement to ensure it is in the best interests of our national security.”

SENATE PASSES CAREER READINESS AMENDMENT – The Senate unanimously passed an amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 introduced by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Tim Kaine (D- Va.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) to help ensure students are ready for postsecondary education and the workforce.

The amendment encourages states to create work-based learning opportunities through partnerships with businesses that allow students to earn industry-recognized credentials and credit for postsecondary education. By incorporating career readiness indicators into their state accountability systems, states will have the opportunity to recognize schools that are successfully preparing students for postsecondary education and the workforce through tools like technical skills training and college credits. The amendment strengthens theCareer Ready Act, which was incorporated into the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 after being introduced by Portman, Kaine, and Baldwin earlier this year.

“We can better prepare our students for the jobs of the 21st century by improving the way we track career readiness during high school years,” said Portman. “While much focus is given to traditional college preparation, career readiness programs are also critical to help students obtain a job in a high-demand career field – and we must do better at encouraging states to highlight these opportunities.”

PORTMAN DEMANDS ANSWERS ON FAILURE OF SAFEGUARDS AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) and Co-Chair of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking, demanded answers from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about the adequacy of safeguards in the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s (ORR) placement of unaccompanied minors with qualified sponsors.

As recently reported by the Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland.com, and the Marion Star, a federal grand jury indicted four defendants for allegedly trafficking Guatemalan nationals and placing them in forced labor near Marion, Ohio. It was revealed in that indictment that ORR released several of these minor victims into the hands of their traffickers, based on the defendants’ false promises to care for the children’s well-being, send them to school, and protect them from abuse.

In a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Portman writes that, “on five occasions, the traffickers’ minor victims were detained and transferred to the custody of the ORR. ORR is responsible for ensuring that unaccompanied minors who are not legally in the United States, like the victims in this case, are released to the custody of a qualified adult sponsor capable of ‘provid[ing] for the physical and mental well-being of children.’ On each occasion, one of the defendants’ co-conspirators submitted a falsified Family Reunification Application to ORR, claiming that he was either a relative or family friend of the victim and that the victim would be able to attend school and would be protected from abuse in his custody.”

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