I did not come up with the title of this blog; I got it from my Congresswoman's email with the name in the subject line:
Iran is on quite a roll. By now you've seen the news that the Obama Administration has lifted sanctions on Iran, releasing $100 billion in assets to them. Then, the Administration engaged in a "prisoner" swap with Iran, releasing seven Iranians who were accused or convicted of serious crimes in the United States in exchange for Americans held hostage by Iran for doing nothing wrong.
Of course, this is in the wake of Iran detaining 10 U.S. Navy Sailors after their boats mistakenly veered into Iranian waters, brazenly firing rockets within a few miles of an American aircraft carrier, and aggressively ramping up its ballistic missile program.
First of all, we are all thankful that the Americans held hostage by Iran are now free. So many have hoped and prayed for these souls, and we all rejoice in their coming home.
However, the details of the deal should concern all Americans. The seven Iranians the president just released were accused or convicted of serious crimes. The Americans Iran finally freed- a pastor, a teacher, and a reporter among them - had done nothing wrong. The moral equivalence assigned to them by this “prisoner” swap is galling, to say nothing of the money that will now apparently flow to the Iranians.
We are also thankful that the sailors were released unharmed and our boats were returned. But, on the front pages of most every major newspaper and on the nightly news, Americans saw the images of our sailors kneeling, hands behind their head being detained by Iranian authorities. People around the world saw those images too, and Iran didn’t miss a golden opportunity to use this incident for propaganda purposes on their state-run television. It was disturbing, and not something we should simply ignore or dismiss, especially given Iran’s past actions.
That’s why I’m bewildered at President Obama’s attempt to sidestep Congress and pursue sanctions relief for Iran. He and Secretary of State John Kerry continue to ignore and make excuses for Iran’s actions to protect their legacy nuclear deal.
Granting Iran sanctions relief is a bad idea, and I'm working to build support for legislation that would walk back these actions by President Obama and Secretary Kerry. We could vote on the bill before the end of January, and I hope that Congress can send a strong, bi-partisan message that it's time to hold Iran accountable for its actions.
Ending Common Core and Federal Coercion in Education:
Recently, Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act to empower states and local governments in education decisions, effectively pushing back on federal government overreach. Hopefully by now you have seen this news and read about the important provisions in this bill. But I wanted take a moment to share with you this good article about ESSA and more specifically my language included in the bill to "take away the Department of Education's ability to attach curriculum and assessment policy strings to special grants and waivers."
Some have misrepresented this bill and its impact, which is a shame. I worked hard to include strong “state authority” language in this bill, and I was proud to join Senator Jeff Sessions and other members of the Alabama delegation to support its final passage.
We finally replaced "No Child Left Behind" with policies that return decision-making back to the states and local communities, as it should be.
Around the District:
I am always grateful for "District Work" periods that allow me the opportunity to get around AL-02 and meet with folks from a variety of backgrounds. This week I'm traveling the district, meeting with students, civic clubs, business leaders and others, giving them an update on legislative action and hearing from them.
I'll be around the district, from Prattville to Troy to Evergreen and many other stops in between. I look forward to meeting with and hearing from many of you. Be sure to check my Facebook and Twitter feed for updates from the road!
Stay In Touch:
You can keep up with the latest news by finding me on Facebook and Twitter where I post updates daily. Please let me know if there’s anything my office can assist you with. My staff and I work for you.