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J. ROSS MACBETH ATTORNEY AT LAW LAKEVIEW PROFESSIONAL Bldg. 2543 U.S. Highway 27 South . Sebring, Florida 33870-2125 Bus: (863) 385-7600 . Fax: (863) 385-7911 ross@macbethlaw.com

Update from Thursday’s Highlands Republican meeting – Monthly meeting change to second Thursday

March 1st, 2015

Many thanks to Sherry McCorkle, Field Director for Congressman Tom Rooney, for her presentation on the services and assistance that can be provided by the Congressman’s office and for answers to multiple questions.  She also provided an informative update on his position on pending issues and encouraged all to go to his website 008

http://rooney.house.gov/ for additional information and to sign up for his newsletters and surveys.   Her Sebring Office phone number is (863) 402-9082 and her e-mail is sherry.mccorkle@mail.house.gov.  The Sebring office is located at 4507 George Blvd, Sebring, FL 33875.

Two important items of new business were addressed:

Consider change of monthly meeting date: last Thurs to second Thurs of month.   This was voted on and approved.  Our next meeting and all subsequent meetings will now be the second Thursday in the month instead of the last Thursday.   The March meeting will therefore be on Thursday March 12th.  Save the date!

Budget Committee Presentation – Kathy Rapp presented the work of the budget committee and the proposed 2015 budget and this also was voted on and approved.

Under old business, LDD Committee Chair Rob Horne gave a report on the excellent work to date by the LDD Committee.  The 2015 Lincoln Day Dinner has been scheduled for May 16th at the Chateau Elan at the Sebring Airport.  The committee is meeting every Monday evening at 6:30 PM at Republican Headquarters.  Additional volunteers are needed to assist with a number of key tasks including telephone and e-mail contacts, tickets, advertising, brochures, decorations, gift baskets, etc. Send an e-mail to Chairman Rob Horne gtomato@hotmail.com or to the committee at LDD@republicanpartyofhighlandscounty.com to volunteer.

Additionally, a nice gift of appreciation was presented by Chairman Kathy Rapp to our former treasurer, Gil Santavenere, for his dedicated service to the organization.  Many thanks to Gil!  All members and guests also enjoyed a birthday cake in honor of our State Committeewoman, Joan Hartt’s birthday.   Happy Birthday to Joanie!

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Congress OKs stopgap DHS funding bill, lawmakers remain at impasse in immigration fight

February 27th, 2015

From Fox News

After a dramatic and chaotic day of votes, Congress late Friday approved a stopgap bill to keep money flowing to the Homeland Security Department past a midnight deadline and avert a partial agency shutdown — though Congress is no closer to a long-term deal.

The House voted 357-60 for a mere one-week spending bill. With the Senate already having approved the measure, it heads next to President Obama’s desk.

But that legislation was passed only after efforts to pass a slightly more substantial stopgap – a three-week funding bill – melted down on the House floor Friday afternoon. Though it had been expected to pass, 52 Republicans defected and joined Democrats in opposing the leadership-backed legislation.

This led to bad blood late Friday between House Republicans who joined Speaker John Boehner in supporting the bill, and those who peeled off. One senior House GOP source told Fox News that the nearly 200 Republicans who backed that bill were “super mad” at those who left them hanging.

In the end, Boehner was able to pass the one-week measure with the support of some Republicans, as well as Democrats – after Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told her caucus they could reverse course and back the last-ditch measure.

While DHS is funded for now, however, Congress’ punt only underscored the deep divisions over the way forward in a debate that centers not on DHS funding but the president’s controversial immigration executive actions.

Conservative Republicans want to reverse those actions as a condition for funding DHS. Democrats want to pass a stand-alone, full-year funding bill with no immigration provisions attached. But while some corners of the Republican caucus have backed down – namely in the Senate — rank-and-file Republicans in the House have not.

“I am not going to vote under any circumstances to fund illegal conduct,” Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said earlier. “If it’s illegal, it’s illegal.”

Their insistence on using the DHS funding as leverage to reverse or undermine the president’s immigration agenda leaves Boehner in a tough spot.

At some point, he could potentially resolve the stand-off by steam-rolling his rank-and-file to work with Democrats and pass the kind of long-term “clean” funding bill they want. There was speculation in the run-up to the late-Friday vote that he and Pelosi had struck a deal to do exactly that next week. (A spokesman for Boehner denies this.)

But on the Senate side, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has already met Democrats’ demands to deal with the two issues separately. With his blessing, the Senate on Friday approved a longer-term, stand-alone DHS funding bill. However, House Republicans stalled that bill, voting instead for a so-called conference committee — a way for lawmakers to hammer out a compromise measure.

But Senate Democrats have called this a “non-starter,” and are trying to block it, teeing up another set of votes on that next week – unless the House takes a different tack. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats on Friday also blocked a separate bill undoing Obama’s immigration actions.

The complicated debate leaves unclear how lawmakers can resolve the impasse, with Democrats not budging and Republicans divided over how far to take their fight against Obama’s immigration plan, which gives millions of illegal immigrants work permits and a deportation reprieve.

Some argue that with a federal judge, for now, blocking the plan from going forward, there’s less urgency to use legislation to achieve the same goal. Other conservative Republicans say the legislation is necessary.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

For the rest of this news story and others, see: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/02/27/dhs-funding-vote/

Two candidates file for Highlands County sheriff

February 26th, 2015

From Highlands Today

—The 2016 election season has started early. Two candidates are already running for sheriff.

After Sheriff Susan Benton announced last week she would not seek a fourth term, Paul Blackman and bail bondsman Jimmy Sottile wasted little time jumping into the race.

Blackman is currently one of two captains in charge of Highlands County Jail. In the past, he was in charge of road patrols and was a detective.

Sottile, a former Highlands County deputy, currently owns Sottile Bail Bonds Inc. at 366 N Fernleaf Ave. in Sebring.

Jimmy Sottile

His brother, the late Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Nick Sottile, was shot and killed in 2007.

Blackman filed last week while Sottile filed Tuesday. They both live in Sebring and both filed as Republicans.

For the rest of the article and others, see: http://highlandstoday.com/hi/local-news/two-candidates-file-for-highlands-county-sheriff-20150225/?page=1

Reminder – February Highlands County Republican Meeting Thursday evening

February 25th, 2015

The February Highlands County Republican Meeting will be Thursday February 26th at the Elk’s Lodge #1529 in Sebring (located across from the Kenilworth Lodge at 2618 Kenilworth Blvd.)  Our guest speaker will be Sherry McCorkle, Field Director for Congressman Tom Rooney.

Meeting Starts at 6:30 PM come at 5:00 PM and order food or a beverage.  Please plan to attend and bring a friend or a neighbor to join us.

AGENDA

Highlands County Republican Executive Committee

February 26, 2015

Sebring Elks Lodge, Sebring, FL

5:00-6:30 P.M. (Registration and optional Dinner)                 Members and Guests

6:30 P.M. Call to Order                                                             Kathy Rapp, Chairman

Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance

Guest Speaker: Sherry McCorkle, Field Director for Congressman Tom Rooney, U.S. Congressional District 17 (Member, House Appropriations Committee, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence)

ROLL CALL and Approval of Absences                                        Ida Jackson, Secretary

Approval Excused Absences; Minutes of Jan 29, 2015 meeting

 

REPORTS:

Treasurer’s Report                                                                            Penny Kocarek

Vice Chairman’s (including Report on 2015 County Fair)       Virgil Beato

Chairman’s Report                                                                            Kathy Rapp

State Committeewoman                                                                   Joan Hartt

State Committeeman                                                                         Earl Claire

Highlands Republican Woman’s Network                                    HRWN

Old Business:

Lincoln Day Dinner (May 16, 2015 – Rep. Eric Eisnaugle)         Rob Horne

 

New Business:

Consider change of monthly meeting date: last Thurs to second Thurs of month.

Budget Committee Presentation

Precinct Vacancies, if any.  New members oath to fill vacancies if any.

Closing Remarks, Announcements & Non Agenda items             Chairman Rapp

Next Meeting (March ___, 2015)                                                      Chairman Rapp

Anecdotes in New Reagan Book Showcase His Unique Character

February 22nd, 2015

From The Daily Signal

Ronald Reagan (Photo: mcpix/Getty Images)

As someone who has studied and written about Ronald Reagan for more than four decades, I thought I knew the 40th president pretty well.

But a new book, “Reagan Remembered”, edited by former Amb. Gilbert A. Robinson, offers the personal and in many cases never before revealed recollections of 80 individuals, high and low, who worked in the Reagan administration.

Starting with Edwin A. Meese III, counselor to the president in the first term and U.S. attorney general in the second. These alumni confirm what a remarkable leader Reagan was—always focused on the big picture.

Meese reminds us of Reagan’s primary achievements: revitalizing the economy, rebuilding the nation’s defenses so that the Free World could win the Cold War, and reviving the spirit of the American people.

He recalls that a jar of jelly beans always sat in the middle of the Cabinet table. Whenever the discussions over a controversial issue became too intense, the president would reach over, select a jelly bean, and pass the jar around the table. This invariably cooled tempers and restored “calmer reflection.”

Often described as the most powerful man in the world, Reagan was amazingly modest. Vice President George H. W. Bush remembers his visit to the Washington hospital after the 1981 attempted assassination of the president.

Ushered into his room, Bush saw that Reagan wasn’t in his bed and looked around. A familiar voice said “Hello, George” and the vice president turned to find Reagan on his hands and knees in the bathroom. “Are you all right, Mr. President?” Bush asked. A smiling Reagan explained that he had spilled some water on the floor and was wiping it up. “I don’t want the nurses to have to mop it up,” he said. “I’m enough of a nuisance to them as it is. Be with you in a second.” Bush writes, “That’s the sort of man Ronald Reagan was.”

Reagan being a man of his word was established again when he agreed to meet with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl at the cemetery in Bitburg. It was then discovered that members of the Nazi SS were buried at Bitburg, causing Nobel Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, among others, to demand a change in venue.

Secretary of State George Shultz tried to shift the meeting, but Kohl insisted on Bitburg. Having made a commitment, Reagan went to Bitburg, despite withering criticism by the media and the political opposition. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher subsequently told Shultz that “no other leader in the free world would have taken such a political beating at home in order to keep his word.”

For Reagan, politics was a means, not an end. In 1976 when he was locked in a tight battle with President Gerald Ford for the Republican presidential nomination, his Texas campaign manager arranged for Reagan to speak in the largest church in Houston. To his great surprise, Reagan turned down the opportunity.

The Texan argued that “thousands of conservative voters will see you and millions more will read about it. The venue couldn’t be more prestigious.” Reagan quietly replied, “I’m a very religious person, but I don’t wear it on my sleeve. And I never want to use religion for political purposes.” The event never took place.

Since his film acting days, when he helped stop the attempted communist takeover of the Hollywood trade unions, Reagan was an implacable anti-communist. In November 1978, he visited Berlin for the first time and stood before the infamous Berlin Wall.

His national security adviser Richard Allen recalls that suddenly Reagan’s hands clenched and his jaw set and he said in a low almost growling tone, “We’ve got to find a way to knock this thing down!” Less than a decade later, he again stood before the Berlin Wall and declared, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Two years later, the Wall came tumbling down and communism collapsed in Eastern and Central Europe.

He believed in doing the right thing and not caring who knew that he did it. Campaigning in North Carolina in 1976, he agreed to meet with a small group of blind children but without any reporters or cameras present. He talked with the children for a moment and then asked if they would like “to touch my face to get an idea of what I look like?”

Campaign aide and future presidential speechwriter Dana Rohrabacher remembers “these eight kids putting their fingers on his face. When they were finished they all had big hugs—and then we were off to the next stop.” Rohrabacher says, “Any candidate running for president I’ve ever met would give a million dollars to have a picture like that.” Not Ronald Reagan.

He was as quick-witted as anyone who ever occupied the White House. In 1983, in the course of a deep White House discussion about proposals to “freeze” the building of nuclear weapons, someone brought up the suggestion made by several U.S. senators—a “build-down” rather than a freeze.

“How would that work?” the president asked. For every new modernized nuclear weapon the U.S. built, it was explained, we would retire two so that in time we would have many fewer weapons. “Well,” said the president without hesitation, “I have a proposal. For every senator they elect, let’s retire two.”

Secure in his own skin, he delighted in making fun of those who criticized him. His gubernatorial secretary Helene von Damm, who would later serve as U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, remembers that during the Vietnam protests, a bunch of hippies camped outside the state capitol in Sacramento. They carried a sign that said, “Make love, not war.” Gov. Reagan smiled and said, “I got a look at them and I am not sure they are capable of either.”

President Reagan knew his Constitution. Once, recalls special adviser Edward Rowny, when cabinet members were complaining that the president was spending too much on defense, he responded firmly: “As president of the United States my most important duty is to defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. If we lose our freedom, all is lost. Through a policy of peace through strength, everything is possible.”

Summing up the essential qualities of Reagan, Meese quotes British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery: “Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.” The recollections of the 80 men and women in “Reagan Remembered” attest that Reagan was such a leader and possessed that kind of character.

For the rest of the article and others, see: http://dailysignal.com/2015/02/21/anecdotes-new-reagan-book-showcase-unique-character/

Florida Cracker Trail Association riders make Sebring school stop

February 19th, 2015

From The Highlands Today

RYAN PELHAM/STAFF
Jared Harrison, 9, of Myakka City, cracks his whip during the Cracker Trail Ride’s stop to visit students at Cracker Trail Elementary on Wednesday.

By PAUL CATALA
Highlands Today

The “snap, crackle, pop” sounds that made their way down the road, into the parking lot and caused a few students to jump didn’t come from firecrackers or guns.

They came in on horses.

For at least 20 years, “cow hunters” have ridden down a school-access road and into the parking lot of Cracker Trail Elementary School to give the student body a real-life look at what was once a common sighting in the rural Florida of yesteryear.

Cracker Trail elementary was named for the The Florida Cracker Trail that runs from just east of Bradenton and ends in Fort Pierce, a distance of about 120 miles.

In years past, the route was used for cattle and horses and today includes parts of State Road 66, State Road 64, and U.S. 98.

Over the past two decades, members of the Florida Cracker Trail Association have made Cracker Trail Elementary a regular stop for their horses, their riders and their whips as part of their “Annual Cross State Ride.”

Wednesday was no exception, when about 60 of 160 registered riders — including 24 first-time trail riders — joined the equine train onto school grounds.

In front of most of the school’s 649 pupils from kindergarten to fifth grade, Cracker Trail riders, many from Englewood, showed off skills of yore.

They referred to themselves as “cow hunters” rather than “cowboys” because of Florida’s forested and swampy areas where cow-herding “day workers” made a living.

Sitting atop her horse, Suzanne Park, one of the Cracker Trail ride organizers who was traveling with her husband and four children, said each year, the ride “brings to life” the background about Florida’s cattle industry.

As of 2014, Florida is tied with Pennsylvania at 19th in the United States with about 1,620,000 cows and calves statewide, according to USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service Data.

“I want them (pupils) to understand why their school is named ‘Cracker Trail.’ We love sharing the heritage and history of our proud state of Florida,” she said from the sidewalk as children petted her horse’s neck.

The stop at Cracker Trail was the fourth on the 2015 Trail Ride and followed a stay Tuesday at Kahn Ranch in east Hardee County and preceded a Thursday stop to Bass Ranch in west Okeechobee County.

It was a way for children to learn to appreciate an industry that is hundreds of years old in Florida and is significant even today.

“The school is located on the historic Cracker Trail. Through this, we can go back into the class and remind the students of why the school is named ‘Cracker Trail’ and the history behind the term ‘cracker’,” said third-grade teacher Kelly Skalski. “It’s a way to let Florida history come alive.”

The annual cross-state ride is a re-enactment of the return trip from Bradenton on Florida’s west coast back to Fort Pierce on the east coast when cattle herds were on their ways to Havana, Cuba, before the U.S. severed diplomatic tires with the island nation in 1961.

The ride is open to advanced riders and trained horses who camp along the way. Wednesday, the riders’ trek was 24 miles in from Hardee County.

The effort by the school and the Cross-State Ride participants made an impression on some pupils.

Fourth-grader Marshall O’Hern, 10, stood with his classmates from teacher Kim Lethbridge’s class. He said what impressed him most was the horses’ abilities to communicate.

“I learned they do it with their ears. When they move their ears, you can tell what they’re trying to say, like if something is bothering them or not,” he said.

Another fourth-grade pupil, Victoria Grace Wilkins, 10, said she has five calves and 20 cows at her Sebring home. She said the visit by the Cracker Trail riders gave her a better idea of how cowboys and “cow hunters” worked in the days before GPS and cell phones.

“The crack of the whips was important. I didn’t know you could sit on the ground and crack a whip. I’ve tried; it’s pretty hard,” she said. “It’s neat to have this because a lot of the cracker riders started in this area.”

The Florida Cracker Trail Association is a non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to “keeping history alive” by educating through demonstrations, the old Florida Cracker “pioneer ways of agriculture, animal husbandry, and respect for the land as well as the hardships and joys of life on the original frontier,” according to its website.

For the rest of the article and others, see: http://highlandstoday.com/hi/local-news/crack-that-whip-20150219/?page=1

Update on the Highlands County Fair

February 10th, 2015

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Update on the Highlands County Fair – We have had the most interest at our Fair Booth in years!  You can really tell how fed up people are with the current administration!  We now have over 50 who have signed up to be added to our local mailing list for meetings and events and volunteer opportunities and we have distributed information to many more.  We also have three new requests for possible membership on the HCREC.  And this is only Tuesday noon with four more fun-filled days to go.  The Fair ends Saturday evening February 14th. Many thanks to all who have volunteered to date!

We still have openings for additional volunteers.  We had times Sunday when all three volunteers were engaged with different visitors at the same time. So come join us and let’s work together to make 2016 “a very sweet 16″. Our booth is very easy to find.  We are across from the big blue swimming pool!

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Contact Virgil (vbeato77@gmail.com) or Earl (webmaster@republicanpartyofhighlandscounty.com) to volunteer.  Won’t you plan to get involved this week!

More photos from the fair:

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Very nice job of setting up and decorating our Republican Party of Highlands County booth by Virgil Beato and Kathy Rapp including a great poster on Sebring High Grad Representative Eric Eisnaugle who has agreed to be our 2015 Lincoln Day Dinner speaker on May 16th at the Chateau Elan in Sebring. Please save the date and plan to attend!

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Breaking news – Marvin Kahn invited by Congressman Rooney to attend Joint Session of Congress!

January 28th, 2015

HCREC Meeting 12-18-14 006

Marvin Kahn has been invited by Congressman Tom Rooney (R) to be his Congressional District 17 guest and to sit in the Gallery for the upcoming address to a Joint Session of Congress by the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu   This is quite an honor as each Congressman can invite only one guest for the Gallery for a Joint Session of Congress.  The address is now scheduled for March 3rd at 11 AM.  Speaker John Boehner extended the invitation to the Prime Minister of Israel back on January 21st.

Marvin is a lifetime resident of Highlands County and a long-time member and former Vice Chairman of the Highlands County Republican Executive Committee, and is also CEO of Kahn Citrus Management, LLC in Sebring.

Congressman Tom Rooney (R)

Washington (CNN)Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back his meeting with Congress to March, House Speaker John Boehner announced Thursday on his verified Twitter account.

Boehner’s tweet stated that the scheduling change was meant to accommodate Netanyahu’s request to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, D.C. The new date — March 3 — is also two weeks before the Israeli election. The meeting with Congress was originally scheduled for Feb. 11.

 

 

Boehner invites Israeli PM Netanyahu to address Congress

January 21st, 2015

From The Washington Times

FILE - In this May 24, 2011 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walks with House Speaker  John Boehner of Ohio to make a statement on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boehner has invited Netanyahu to address Congress about Iran. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE – In this May 24, 2011 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walks with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio to make a statement on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boehner has invited Netanyahu to address Congress about Iran. … more >
   – The Washington Times – 

Democrats and Republicans alike brushed off President Obama’s threat to veto stiffer Iran sanctions, insisting Wednesday that the White House is being bamboozled by the ayatollahs, and it’s up to Congress to stiffen the administration’s spine as it negotiates over Tehran’s nuclear program.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said he’s invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — a firm critic of the administration’s negotiations with Iran — to speak to a joint session of Congress next month to lay out the dangers an assertive Iran and the growing militant Islamic threat pose to stability in the region.

Senators, meanwhile, said they’re pushing ahead with legislation despite Mr. Obama’s veto threat, and warned that if the administration doesn’t cooperate, the president could find himself facing the first veto override of his tenure.

“I want you to ask me for permission, and I want you to present the agreement to us, and I want you to present an agreement we all like,” said Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican. “You’re not going to get everybody, but I think the vast majority will vote for a reasonable thing.”

Mr. Obama’s negotiators are part of an effort, along with Russia, China and European allies, to try to get Iran to halt and roll back its nuclear program, which Iranian leaders say is peaceful but which international arms control experts say appears aimed at producing nuclear weapons. The negotiators have set a March deadline for producing the outlines of an agreement and a June deadline for a final compromise.

The president has asked for flexibility in the negotiations, saying that while previous sanctions imposed by Congress have helped bring Iran to the table, any further moves could spook Iranian leaders or upset the other partners who are part of the negotiations.

His pleas have not swayed lawmakers on Capitol Hill, where Democrats and Republicans say he’s hurt his own case by cutting secret deals with other world leaders in the past and seems to be too weak in dealing with Tehran.

Sen. Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, told top State Department officials Wednesday that the administration’s defense sounded like Iranian talking points, and said it appeared the U.S. was doing all of the giving in the negotiations.

The U.S. went into negotiations with the goal of shutting down the nuclear program, but it now appears the best the Obama team can win is a permanent freeze, where it would take Iran about a year to rekindle its full weapons program and build a nuclear bomb.

Senators said that was unacceptable and would destabilize the region.

Israel in particular could feel pressure to act, and Mr. Boehner said hearing Mr. Netanyahu’s thoughts on Iran is one reason he asked the prime minister to speak to Congress.

The White House called the invitation a breach of protocol, saying it is usually told ahead of time when a world leader will be coming to Washington. But spokesman Josh Earnest said Mr. Obama wasn’t annoyed by the breach, and Mr. Boehner said he didn’t “believe I’m poking anyone in the eye” with the invitation.

“There is a serious threat that exists in the world. The president last night kind of papered over it,” Mr. Boehner said. “There needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is from radical Islamic jihadists and the threat posed by Iran.”

The House in the last Congress passed stiffer sanctions, and both Mr. Boehner and House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Edward R. Royce, California Republican, said they’re already working on a new bill.

Senators, meanwhile, are pondering a number of options. One of those is to impose stiffer sanctions but to attach a trigger so that they only go into effect should the sides in the nuclear negotiations not be able to agree on a deal by June.

Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican, meanwhile, has floated the idea of forcing Mr. Obama to come back to Congress for approval if the president decided he wants to suspend the current sanctions that are already biting.

Mr. Paul and Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, are working on a separate proposal that wouldn’t impose any new sanctions now but would set rules for Congress to move quickly should the negotiations eventually falter. That bill would not give the U.S. a stiffer negotiating position right now, but it would quell the fears of some that getting new sanctions in place could take months — time that Iran could use to finish its nuclear program and therefore be tougher to negotiate with.

Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate that current sanctions are already working, and if Congress moves ahead with new penalties it will fracture the international coalition and could give Iran an excuse to withdraw from talks and rekindle its full nuclear program.

Iran is well aware that a sword of Damocles hangs over its head,” Mr. Blinken said. “New sanctions at this point are not necessary, but we also believe their passage now would put at risk getting to a final deal over the next several months.”

He said input from Capitol Hill is welcome, but said Mr. Obama must retain final say, and even allowing Congress to vote on suspending the earlier sanctions it imposed could upset the international coalition.

Senators disputed that, saying they’d talked with key foreign leaders and didn’t get any pushback. Mr. Menendez said it was striking that Iran’s negotiators have said they’ll have to run the final deal by their parliament but Mr. Obama was refusing to do the same with Congress.

“Why is it possible that Tehran will treat its parliament better than the administration in the greatest democracy is willing to treat its Congress? It just boggles my imagination,” the New Jersey Democrat said.

The administration is suffering for past botches as well.

Members on both sides of the aisle said Mr. Blinken last year promised to consult with them before the administration struck any deals with Cuba. But just weeks later, the president announced a sweeping diplomatic deal without checking in with key lawmakers.

“I regret that I did not live up to the standard I set,” a chastened Mr. Blinken said.

Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who grilled Mr. Blinken over his conduct, said it mattered because Mr. Blinken was once again promising to keep senators in the loop over negotiations with Iran.

“We’re being asked to trust that we’re going to be fully consulted while the use of the word consultation, as it’s been defined by the administration … is problematic,” Mr. Rubio said.

For the rest of this article and other great articles, see: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/21/boehner-invites-netanyahu-address-congress/?page=all#pagebreak

New RPOF Officers elected today

January 17th, 2015

Breaking news today from the 2015 RPOF Annual Meeting in Orlando from HCREC Chairman Kathy Rapp.

Blaise Ingoglia elected Chairman (see photo)

(For additional info on Blaise, see: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4603)

Joe Gruters elected Vice Chairman

(For additional info on Joe, see: http://www.bizpacreview.com/2010/12/01/sarasotas-joe-gruters-bids-for-rpof-chair-49661)

Kristy Banks elected Secretary

Jeff Howell re-elected as Treasurer

 

 

 

Officers

Chairman
    Kathy Rapp
Vice Chairman
    Virgil Beato
Secretary
    Ida Jackson
Treasurer
    Penny Kocarek

State Committeeman
    Earl Claire

State Committeewoman
    Joan Hartt