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Columbia County Observer

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US Senator Bill NelsonU.S. Senator Bill Nelson - Update
July 5, 2011

Senate Passes Streamlining Bill

The Senate passed S. 679, the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011.

This bipartisan legislation aims to make the presidential appointments process more efficient. To accomplish that goal, the bill eliminates the requirement for advice and consent of the Senate in the President's appointments for approximately 203 positions and establishes a working group to make recommendations to speed up the vetting of nominees.

This bill will decrease the months-long delay for staffing critical positions at agencies when a President comes into office and it will permit the Senate to focus more attention on issues of national importance.

The Senate also passed a companion resolution, S.Res. 116, which provides expedited consideration of various part-time positions including chairmanships and memberships such as positions on the National Council on the Arts and Advisory Board for Cuba Broadcasting.

Support for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations 

For more information
Lynn Bannister: Director of Outreach
111 North Adams St
Tallahassee, FL  32301
850-942-8415 / 850-942-8450 (fax)

The Senate passed S.Res. 185, a measure Senator Nelson cosponsored, by unanimous consent.

The resolution reaffirms the commitment of the United States to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations; opposes the inclusion of Hamas in a unity government unless it is willing to accept peace with Israel and renounce violence; and declares that Palestinian efforts to gain recognition of a state outside direct negotiations demonstrates absence of a good faith commitment to peace negotiations and will have implications for continued United States aid.

Senator Nelson cosponsored S.Res. 185 along with 89 other Senators.

Few in Florida Get Hardest Hit Funds

Senator Nelson wrote to the Executive Director of Florida Housing Finance Corporation in response to a recent article in the Orlando Sentinel that highlighted how few Floridians have received assistance through the Hardest Hit Fund.

In multiple rounds of funding, Florida was awarded a total of more than $1 billion from the U.S. Treasury to implement a program that would assist homeowners in foreclosure prevention efforts. Florida received such a large amount because of the excessive housing market depreciation and high unemployment rate.

Senator Nelson’s letter inquired as to why only 2,700 of the more than 10,000 completed applications have been processed.

Limiting Use of Military Force in Libya

Senator Nelson cosponsored S.J.Res. 20, a bipartisan resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on United States military operations in Libya.

S.J.Res. 20 expresses support for the limited use of military force by the United States in Libya as part of the NATO mission to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973. The resolution calls for Qaddafi’s departure from power and for a peaceful transition to a government that ensures freedom, opportunity, and justice for the people of Libya.

 It also calls on the President to submit to Congress a description of U.S. policy objectives in Libya and consult regularly with Congress regarding U.S. efforts in Libya.

S.J.Res. 20 was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is pending before the full Senate.

Strengthening Iran Sanctions

Senator Nelson cosponsored bipartisan legislation intended to strengthen U.S. sanctions on Iran.

S. 1048, the “Iran, North Korea, and Syria Sanctions Consolidation Act of 2011” (INKSCA) toughens existing sanctions to prevent the Iranian regime from developing nuclear weapons capability.

The bill also enhances sanctions on North Korea and Syria. The legislation would impose tough new sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is a major instrument of regime repression, and also controls much of Iran’s nuclear program and economy. The bill would also escalate the level of sanctions against the regime’s human rights violators.

Camp Lejeune Water

Senator Nelson joined Senators Burr and Hagan in a meeting with Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and the Commandant of the Marine Corps to discuss the Camp Lejeune water contamination issue.

The senators urged the Navy and Marine Corps to correct misleading information about the contamination on their website and in their informational booklets.

The Navy and Marine corps agreed to issue a revised letter to Camp Lejeune water contamination registrants, finalize a communications agreement between the Department of the Navy and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and retract and revise the 2010 USMC booklet on the topic.

DoD Secretary Confirmed

The Senate voted to confirm current CIA Director Leon Panetta to be the next Secretary of Defense.

Petraeus Confirmed for CIA

The Senate voted 94-0 to confirm General David Petraeus to be the next Director of the CIA.

Celebrating Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Senator Nelson is a cosponsor of a Senate Resolution congratulating Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. on 100 years of service. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. has over 150,000 members with 700 undergraduate and alumni chapters in every state. Notable Floridians who are members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity include: U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings, Florida State Representative Alan Williams, and Mayor Alvin Brown.

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