DeMint’s trip to Honduras is on; UPDATE: photo from the visit
… at least for now: Update: A source at the US Senate has confirmed to me that the trip is on. See also update below.
used his leadership position to authorize DeMint’s trip through the Department of Defense, and not the State Department, which is customary for Senate overseas travel.
The Washington Post also confirms that
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) denounced Kerry’s move on the Senate floor and sought the intervention of the minority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The Republican leader appealed to the Defense Department to provide an aircraft for DeMint’s trip and the Pentagon agreed to do so, according to the South Carolina senator’s office.
You would think that, having read the Law Library of Congress’ report on Honduras: Constitutional Law Issues, John Kerry and the Democrat senators would at least have an inkling as to why a member of the Senate may want to go on a fact-finding trip to the country.
But then, that’s because you’d think they might have bothered to read the report in the first place.
(Thanks to commenter Pete for the link)
Senators put holds on nominees and bills all the time. It’s not an attractive aspect of the Senate that an individual senator can block action by using such holds, but it’s what they do up there in the Senate. In fact, Senator Kerry wasn’t above using a hold or a threat of a hold when he didn’t like something that the Bush administration was doing as he did back in 2006. When he was senator, Obama did it too. What is different is trying to use his position as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee to exact revenge on a senator who is putting a hold that the chairman doesn’t like.
Fortunately, Kerry’s power play didn’t work. DeMint is getting his trip to Honduras because Mitch McConnell stepped in. John Kerry would benefit himself from some on-the-ground research on what has been going on in Honduras. But he’d rather stake out a position without researching for himself what happened with the ouster of Zelaya. Do other senators really agree that a chairman can try to block other senators’ overseas trips if they’re angry about that senator using one of their prized senatorial privileges? The Democrats should remember that what goes around comes around. One day they will be in the minority. Do they want to endorse John Kerry’s precedent of how to use his power as chairman?
In other Honduras news
Brazil named a new ambassador to Honduras (h/t Dick), since the prior ambassador was on vacation since before Zelaya was ousted. It’ll be interesting to see how the embassy acommodates his arrival while Zelaya’s there, exhorting his supporters to revolt on his behalf.
In Honduras, pres. Micheletti appeared at the Supreme Court to explain why he suspended civil liberties. His decision is being debated by the Concil of Ministers today.
La Gringa reported yesterday that Honduran Bishop Juan Jose Pineda is proposing the creation of a Tegucigalpa accord, instead of the foreign-led San Jose Accord,
Bishop Pineda has acted as the mediator between President Roberto Micheletti and ex-president Manuel Zelaya this past week, so he is in the best position to know whether it will be accepted by both. He was confidant that Hondurans are able to sit around the negotiating table and come to a Honduran solution themselves. OAS Special Adviser John Biehl also has said that he found a strong willingness for dialogue.
The plan is that President Micheletti and ex-president Zelaya will each select 2-3 honorable and responsible representatives. The Unión Civicá Democrática (the association of civic groups) and the “Resistencia” will each also select 2-3 representatives. An international mediator will be selected.
I’ll be talking about these stories in this morning’s podcast at 11AM Eastern.
Two IL Congressmen leave for Honduras fact-finding trip (h/t Dick)
Despite attempts by Senator John Kerry to shut down DeMint’s fact-finding trip, IL Congressmen Peter Roskam and Aaron Schock are headed to Central America today to gather info for Congress about Honduras upcoming election preparations. From Roskam’s office:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, announced that he will lead a delegation of U.S. Congressmen to Honduras today. The group will include U.S. Representatives Peter Roskam (R-Illinois), Aaron Schock (R-Illinois), and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado). They plan to meet with Honduran President Roberto Micheletti, members of the Honduran Supreme Court, election officials, and Honduran business and civic leaders.
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Noticias 24 has photo: