Congressional Relations

  • Hearing to Review US Assistance for Central America

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  • 2017 Global Commerce Forum – Mexico’s Role in the World: North America and Beyond

    Ahead of NAFTA renegotiations and amid a changing geopolitical environment, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center and Baker McKenzie hosted the 2017 Global Commerce Forum - Mexico’s Role in the World: North America and Beyondon Wednesday, May 24, 2017, in Mexico City. The second iteration of the global commerce forum, this year’s event focused on the opportunities and implications of a potential restructuring of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

    The half-day event brought together senior-level representatives from international businesses, governments, and the media, along with thought leaders on global policy and international affairs. Experts and leaders in key sectors discussed the state of play with respect to NAFTA, recent developments in other existing and prospective free trade agreements, and the state of Mexico's economy and role in global commerce.

    Following introductory remarks by Reynaldo Vizcarra, managing partner at Baker McKenzie, Senator Gabriela Cuevas Barrón, senator in the National Action Party and chairwoman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, provided keynote remarks on Mexico’s positioning in the hemisphere and the future of US-Mexico relations. Remarks were followed by an armchair conversation with Peter Schechter, Senior Vice President and Director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center of the Atlantic Council.

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  • Colombia Peace and Prosperity Report Launch: A Dinner with President Juan Manuel Santos

    After almost twelve months of consultations and deliberations, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center launched on May 17 the Colombia Peace and Prosperity Task Force report: A Roadmap for US Engagement with Colombia. It was the culmination of the work of a notable group co-chaired by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ben Cardin(D-MD), who strived to provide a roadmap for US engagement with Colombia going forward. The goal was to keep the focus on the US-Colombia partnership as the country implements peace and agenda items compete for priority in the new US administration.

    With Plan Colombia, a bipartisan strategic framework sustained over almost two decades, Colombia and the United States consolidated a mutually beneficial relationship. Today, the United States is presented with the opportunity to maintain a major stake in the next phase of Colombia’s transformation. Solidifying a strategic bipartisan partnership with Colombia offers the United States enviable opportunities to reap the national security benefits of its $10 billion Plan Colombia investment.

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  • Trump’s First 100 Days: What Next?

    No one can say President Donald Trump’s first 100 days were uneventful. First met with unprecedented opposition, the administration proceeded to swiftly implement the vision Trump laid out on the campaign trail. However, he has had both high-profile setbacks, like not being able to get an Obamacare reform bill to the floor, and positive developments, like the widely praised Syria strikes. Meanwhile, Trump seems to already be changing his mind on many of his most remarkable foreign policy stances on the campaign, for example, that NATO is now no longer “obsolete” and that he will not label China a currency manipulator.

    The question at and past the 100 days mark is: what next? What else is there to expect from the Trump administration both at home and abroad beyond the first 100 days? Are the latest personnel issues and policy stances a sign of things to come? Or are these just the natural growing pains of a new presidency? To answer these questions, the Atlantic Council hosted a high-profile panel of experts and leaders on Monday, May 1, 2017. Atlantic Council Millennium Leadership Fellow Manuel Muniz joined Ambassador John Negroponte and Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher to discuss what is next for the Trump administration
    and US foreign policy. John Hudson of BuzzFeed News moderated the event.

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  • Putin is Not Russia

    US senators, Russian opposition activist call for calibrated pressure on Vladimir Putin

    Two US senators—one a Republican and the other a Democrat—and a Russian opposition activist who has survived two apparent attempts on his life made a call for greater international pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to respect human rights. Speaking at the Atlantic Council on March 30, all three stated quite clearly that even as this pressure is applied, care must be taken not to hurt the Russian people in the process.

    Vladimir Kara-Murza, an ardent critic of Putin who has twice slipped into a coma after mysteriously falling ill—once in 2015 and more recently in February—said it was important to turn up the heat on Putin and his cronies, but noted that it is equally important not to equate Putin’s regime with the Russian people.

    “We’re against sanctions on Russia. We’re against sanctions on the Russian people,” said Kara-Murza, vice chairman of Open Russia. “It is essential that the US is not seen as seeking to punish the Russian people for the actions of a regime that they can neither unseat in a free election—because we don’t have any—and cannot hold to account through independent media or a legitimate parliament—because we don’t have any either,” he added.

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  • Reforming the H1B Visa System: A Conversation with Congressman Darrell Issa

    The Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center hosted a discussion at the Capitol Hill with Congressman Darell Issa. Moderated by Dr. Bharath Gopalaswamy, director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, the conversation focused on Congressman Issa's proposed legislation to review the H-1B program and ways to strengthen it.   

    Critics contend that systemic weaknesses in the H-1B program allow companies to import cheap foreign labor at the expense of US workers. As the primary recipients of H-1B visas, skilled Indian workers would be most significantly impacted by changes to the program. Congressman Issa expressed his views on the reform with the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center. 

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  • Congressman Adam Kinzinger on the US Role in the Middle East and the World

    On March 17, 2017, the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center hosted a discussion with Congressman Adam Kinzinger to discuss America’s role in the Middle East and the world. Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, director of the Hariri Center, moderated the event.

    Kinzinger began by emphasizing that self-governance should be one of America’s mission statements for the world. He said that the Soviet Union’s dissolution was mainly due to the change in ideas among its citizens: the Soviet people saw Western life as a model and started to demand their freedom from the Soviet government. Kinzinger noted, however, that unlike during the Cold War era, there are now multiple “iron curtains” such as ISIS, authoritarian regimes, and discrimination. He explained that another mission statement of America should be to recognize those curtains and pull them down, and underscored that America’s most important goal in the Middle East should be to bring freedom.

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  • America's Role in the World: Congress and US Foreign Policy

    As the Trump administration continues to form its foreign policy and national security strategy, Congress has a distinct role of its own to play in shaping how the United States addresses emerging global threats and approaches its leadership role on the international stage.  

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  • Trump’s Immigration Ban Will Have ‘Catastrophic Implications’

    Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) sees order as a ‘gift’ to hardliners in Iran

    US President Donald Trump’s executive order that curtails immigration and the rights of refugees is illegal, has “catastrophic implications” for the United States, and is a “gift” to hardliners in Iran as it paints all Iranians as a security threat to the United States, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on January 30.

    “This ban on immigration from Iran to the United States is a gift to the hardliners at a moment in which we should not be giving them gifts,” said Murphy, noting that it comes at a particularly delicate time for the moderates in Iran soon after the death of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on January 8. “This is a movement that does not need another body blow, and yet they got it,” said Murphy.

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  • US Intelligence Officials Testify on Foreign Cyber Threats

    In light of reports of Russian interference in the US elections, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called for a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to address the cyber threats facing the United States. The hearing, which took place on January 5, included testimony from Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel J. Lettre II, and Commander of the United States Cyber Command Admiral Michael S. Rogers, who also currently serves as a Director of National Security Agency and a Chief of Central Security Services.

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