Articles & Op-Eds

US Personnel Will Staff Liberian Ebola Hospital

October 16, 2014

The commander in charge of the U.S. response to Ebola in Africa said Thursday that 65 U.S. uniformed personnel would soon staff a 25-bed hospital in Monrovia that will directly treat Liberian healthcare workers if they are infected. "They will actually be involved in the care and feeding of health care workers who have been infected with the Ebola virus," said Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams, commander of Operation United Assistance Joint Force, at a Pentagon briefing Thursday. Although the te… Continue Reading

Pelosi Demands Hearing on Ebola Funding

October 16, 2014

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is calling for appropriators to “return to Washington immediately” to approve additional funding for the Ebola response. Pelosi said the House Appropriations Committee must quickly “convene hearings to discuss and debate the issue of funding levels” for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) in a statement Thursday. “While it is important that the House Homeland Security and Energy & Com… Continue Reading

House Dems: Lack of Ebola Funding Hearing 'Unacceptable'

October 15, 2014

House Democrats who oversee the funding of agencies involved in the Ebola response said Wednesday it’s “unacceptable” their panel’s top Republican won’t call a hearing to evaluate resources on the ground. "As we mourn the death of Thomas Eric Duncan and pray for the two health care workers infected in Dallas, we reiterate our call for Chairman [Jack] Kingston to convene our subcommittee immediately," Democrats on the House Appropriations Health subcommittee said in a joint statement. Dunca… Continue Reading

House Dems Call for US Troops in Africa to Give Direct Ebola Care

October 15, 2014

A trio of House Democrats is calling on President Obama to allow U.S. troops in West Africa to provide direct care to Ebola patients. The Obama administration has already committed around 4,000 U.S. troops to help fight Ebola in the affected West African countries, but they are performing tasks such as building treatment centers and training local providers, not directly providing care. Reps. Keith Ellison (Minn.), Karen Bass (Calif.), and Barbara Lee (Calif.) want to change that. "We… Continue Reading

Steny Hoyer, Barbara Lee visit East Bay’s ‘GATE’

October 09, 2014

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer joined Rep. Barbara Lee on Thursday for a tour of San Leandro’s “The GATE,” an 18-acre building serving as a hub for manufacturers, techies and artists. Hoyer, D-Md., and Lee, D-Oakland, were there to highlight Democrats’ “Make it in America” initiative, aimed at nurturing U.S. manufacturers to succeed, grow and create jobs. At the GATE, they toured Type A Machines, which makes 3D printers; Phase Space, which deals in motion-tracking technology; and the Hive … Continue Reading

US helicopters join air war in Iraq against IS group

October 06, 2014

Washington (AFP) - The US military has started flying attack helicopters against Islamic State militants in Iraq for the first time, officials said Monday, marking an escalation in the air war that puts American troops at higher risk. US Central Command, which is overseeing the air campaign in Iraq and Syria, said helicopters took part in strikes on Sunday and Monday in Iraq, at a time when Iraqi government forces are struggling against IS fighters in the country's west. "It has a capabili… Continue Reading

Op-Ed: The Pentagon's No Limit Credit Card

October 04, 2014

Washington - The Pentagon has issued warnings that with recent cuts it is facing a money crunch made much worse by the new missions in Iraq and Syria. As a way of saving money the Pentagon does not suggest scaling back on overseas intervention. Instead the military has suggested that military wages should be limited to raises of one per cent and health care coverage should be overhauled. The cost of living adjustments for military retirees will be cut below the level of inflation. The Cent… Continue Reading

Feds to Help Fight Crime in Oakland, Richmond

September 30, 2014

Ongoing efforts to reduce high crime rates in Oakland and Richmond will be helped by a new federal initiative that was announced Monday by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said. Speaking at a news conference outside the federal building in Oakland, Lee said the "Violence Reduction Network" will enhance existing partnerships by federal and local officials to fight crime. Lee said the area that encompasses Oakland and Richmond is only one of five in the country… Continue Reading

Talk About HIV Today, End It Tomorrow

September 27, 2014

Read the original at Today, we commemorate National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day — a day to highlight the epidemic’s impact on gay men and to illuminate the work being done to end this epidemic in this community. I am proud that the Global Forum on MSM and HIV calls Oakland and my district home. This organization continues to do amazing work to address this epidemic among men who have sex with men. The first step in awareness is to understand today’s HIV epidemic. As a … Continue Reading

Syria Vote Isn't Last Word From Congress On War

September 22, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's Mideast war strategy isn't in the clear yet in Congress. The president got what he wanted this past week when the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved arming and training moderate Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State militants. But the go-ahead is good for less than three months. And many lawmakers want a say over the rest of a plan featuring some 1,600 U.S. military advisers in Iraq and airstrikes expanding into Syria. Congressional authoriza… Continue Reading

Obama’s Backtrack Record Raises Questions on Iraq Policy

September 19, 2014

The Obama walkback has become a familiar dance step in Washington these last six years. First, President Barack Obama makes a promise or a threat. Close Guantanamo Bay in a year, retaliate against Syrian chemical attacks on civilians, take executive action to legalize millions of undocumented workers by the end of this month. Then, when criticism and reality set in, he changes course. That emboldens political adversaries, infuriates allies and leads both to question whether his latest p… Continue Reading

For Many in Congress, a First Test on Issues of War

September 19, 2014

Lawmakers' votes this week on whether or not to train and equip Syrian opposition forces in the fight against Islamic State were arguably the most consequential after nearly two years in which Congress is likely to set a new low for productivity. But more than that, the initial decision Congress faced on President Obama's new mission to take out the militant threat represented the first significant opportunity for a big majority of both houses to decide an issue of war, a factor that was evid… Continue Reading

Bay Area Dems Dissent from House Vote to Aid Syrian Rebels

September 18, 2014

Washington -- Almost 12 years after approving the invasion of Iraq, the House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to grant President Obama authority to combat the latest offshoot of that war, the militant group known as the Islamic State. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco led Democrats in supporting the request, overcoming minority opposition from both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans who questioned the strategy of arming Syrian groups of dubious loyalties to fight … Continue Reading

U.S. House Speaker Boehner Bemoans Notion 'I Don't Have to Work'

September 18, 2014

(Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Thursday expressed his dissatisfaction with a chronically high jobless rate and complained of a "very sick idea" that the unemployed would "rather just sit around." The top House Republican said there were a "record number of Americans stuck" and that government had an "obligation to help provide tools for them to use to bring them into the mainstream of American society." The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in August… Continue Reading

House Votes to Authorize Aid to Syrian Rebels in ISIS Fight

September 17, 2014

WASHINGTON — An unusual but overwhelming coalition in the House voted Wednesday to authorize the training and arming of Syrian rebels to confront the militant Islamic State, backing President Obama after he personally pleaded for support. The 273-to-156 vote was over a narrow military measure with no money attached, but it took on outsize importance and was infused with drama, reflecting the tension and ambiguity of members wary of the ultimate path to which any war vote could lead. There … Continue Reading

House Approves Obama Plan to Arm Syrian Rebels Against ISIS

September 17, 2014

Despite warnings from war-weary opponents on both sides of the aisle, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House voted Wednesday to give President Barack Obama authorization to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels to combat ISIS militants. The vote was 273 in favor of the measure, 156 against. Seventy-one Republicans and 85 Democrats voted no. Both House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi backed the move, which Obama and his top advisers lobbied for with personal calls… Continue Reading

Barbara Lee's Lonely Vote After 9/11: A Look Back

September 15, 2014

When Congress passed an Authorization for Use of Military Force after the 9/11 attacks, virtually every legislator in Washington voted for it—even Ron Paul, though he expressed some misgivings. The only "no" vote came from the California Democrat Barbara Lee, whose district includes such radical strongholds as Berkeley and Oakland. Thirteen years later, The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf has looked back at Lee's arguments and the reactions they received. And by "reactions they received," I mean m… Continue Reading

She Stood Against the War on Terror

September 14, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif.—The people here were out of step with America. In the hours after the attacks of September 11, 2oo1, they were angry at the terrorists who flew planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center. They wanted the attackers brought to justice. They mourned the victims, cheered the firefighters, felt united in sorrow with their countrymen, and dreaded more attacks. But in Berkeley, Oakland, and Alameda, the ultra-liberal, historically anti-war East Bay communities, a significant blo… Continue Reading

House Dem Calls for ISIS Vote After Speech

September 10, 2014

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) called for Congress to vote to authorize President Obama's plan against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria after he announced his strategy on Wednesday evening. "As the President said 'we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together,' that is why I believe the President’s plan requires a thoughtful debate and vote by Congress," she said in a statement. Dozens of lawmakers had called for a vote to authorize the president's plan against I… Continue Reading

Obama Tells Nation Islamist Threat Could Reach U.S. Shores

September 10, 2014

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Let's work through the ways President Obama says he plans to expand the U.S. fight against the so-called Islamic State. The president told the nation last night he aims for the destruction of the group that controls parts of Iraq and Syria and that strategy includes expanding airstrikes in Iraq. The U.S. will also increase its involvement in the civil war in Syria and airstrikes are possible on that side of the bor… Continue Reading

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