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The State of the Union – 23/02/2015

As always, The Hippo Collective is proud to publish its weekly news bulletin on important political developments in The United States.  We hope that you will find the Report informative and useful.  Enjoy!

 

Loretta Lynch to be next Attorney General:

Loretta Lynch ‘cleared a key vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee’ with the support of three Republican members on Thursday.  This is an important step in Lynch’s bid as her nomination process ‘has been pending for 110 days.’  Lynch now faces a showdown on the Senate floor although she is believed to possess enough Republican votes to succeed.  The New York prosecutor’s bid has been overshadowed by President Barack Obama’s unilateral action on immigration reform.  Lynch supported Obama’s executive orders, stating that they were legal and thus drew the ire of G.O.P. members.  Hopefully the Republican Party will not use political leverage to stop her nomination simply because ‘she agrees with Obama’s immigration policies.  Loretta Lynch would be the Nation’s first black female Attorney General.  (Information from Politico)

 

Department of Homeland Security:

Congress was able to narrowly avert the shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security on Friday night.  However, there is little reason to rejoice.  The agreement only funds the DHS, which oversees, amongst other issues, terrorist threats and attacks on the U.S., through next week.  Furthermore, the underlying problems which caused the showdown between Congress and the White House still remain.  Republicans refuse to support the DHS due to the fact that Obama is using the governmental organization to enforce unilateral action over immigration reforms.  They claim that ‘pressing the immigration fight is part of a non-negotiable duty for Congress to defend the Constitution.’  However, the White House justifies its actions by demonstrating that there are many similar historical precedents.  Regardless of the eventual resolution to the current immigration debate, members of Congress will be hard-pressed to regain their constituent’s trust and support given elections are looming.  (Information from Reuters)

 

Advances in US-Cuba Relations:

Diplomats have announced that ‘an accord may be reached by April’ between the United States and Cuba.  This comes as diplomats voiced optimistic views following the latest round of negotiations.  U.S. negotiator Roberta Jackson stated that ‘she was hopeful that an agreement in principle can be completed before the Summit of the Americas in Panama…’  Both President Obama and Cuban President Fidel Castro are meant to attend the meeting.

However, Josefina Vidal, head of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that Cuba’s categorization as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ by the U.S. State Department is a high priority issue and must be resolved.  As a ‘supposed’ sponsor of terrorism, Cuba is sanctioned from conducting business with U.S. banks as well as any major bank with offices or general operations in the U.S.  The State Department in its 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism, stated that for the third consecutive year, “there was no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.”  Therefore, Obama has required the State Department to review Cuba’s inclusion in that list.  Although the Cuban government has stated that its reclassification is not a ‘precondition’, one must wonder whether a viable solution which appeals to the Cuban people may ultimately be reached.  (Information from Bloomberg Politics)

 

House of Cards:

On a side note, everybody’s favorite U.S. politician has returned!  Netflix’s third series of House of Cards has been released online in its entirety for all to binge watch.  The show stars Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) as a high-stakes, Machiavellian couple intent on achieving U.S. political hegemony regardless of the means.  As an avid fan of the series I highly suggest the series and feel that readers of this column will definitely be captivated.  Happy viewing!

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