- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Lawmaker vows to kill ports deal
Question of the Day
The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee yesterday said he’ll push legislation that would not only kill a Dubai-owned company’s bid to operate in U.S. ports, but would kick out any foreign-owned company that owns U.S. terminals or other key infrastructure.
The move is in direct opposition to the position of President Bush, who has repeatedly vowed to veto any legislation that blocks DP World’s $6.8 billion bid to purchase terminal operations in six major U.S. ports from a British company.
“I think we should kill this deal,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, who plans to introduce a bill next week to do so. “Dubai cannot be trusted.”
His bill would require 100 percent inspection of all incoming cargo and would mandate that, over time, all ports and other critical U.S. infrastructure, such as power plants that are owned by foreign entities be sold back to Americans.
Many legislators have concerns with allowing a government in the United Arab Emirates, a country with ties to terror leader Osama bin Laden, to run terminals in U.S. ports. Mr. Hunter said those concerns are justified, noting that in 2003 — despite U.S. protests — United Arab Emirates customs officials allowed sixty-six American high-speed electrical switches, used for detonating nuclear weapons, to go to a Pakistani businessman with ties to the Pakistani military.
He also pointed to a report that 70 tons of heavy water, a component of nuclear reactors, were sent from China to India and Argentina via Dubai.
Initial approval of the ports deal two weeks ago by an interagency committee caught the Bush administration and legislators off guard, and it is now under a new 45-day review.
But Mr. Hunter said that once Mr. Bush and congressional leaders learn of the various security incidents, they’ll probably agree to block the deal.
Before Mr. Hunter’s panel yesterday, Edward H. Bilkey, chief executive officer of DP World, continued to stress that the United Arab Emirates has helped the U.S. fight the war on terror and said he was not aware of the security incidents cited by Mr. Hunter and others.
Company officials said the deal should be completed as soon as next Monday or Tuesday, after Britain’s High Court yesterday temporarily approved the takeover of a British shipping company by DP World, despite a last-minute objection by a U.S. company.
Meanwhile, lawmakers from both parties yesterday demanded changes to the interagency panel that approved the deal and others involving foreign companies — known as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
“The manner in which the Dubai transaction was handled only reinforces this committee’s earlier findings that the system is seriously flawed and that corrective measures — legislative measures — are required,” said Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Richard C. Shelby, Alabama Republican, during a hearing on the issue.
Senators on the committee complained that CFIUS — led by the Treasury Department — shies away from thoroughly investigating many of these cases, should focus more on national-security implications of such deals and does not adequately notify Congress.
“This system is broken, I think all of us agree,” said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat.
Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert M. Kimmitt stood by the approval of the deal, but admitted the process can be improved. He and other top administration officials didn’t know about the deal until after the fact, and he said that must change, along with better communication with Congress.
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Cutler wins endorsement from gun control group
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- HUSAIN: Fleeing Iraqi Christians find safe haven at the Shrine of Imam Ali
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq