Rep. Chu should not have waited until last minute on Iran

By Cynthia Cannady

September 3, 2015

Pasadena Star News

We expect our Congresspersons to stay informed on the issues and to represent constituent interests with their votes and positions. But our 27th District Congresswoman Judy Chu was among the fence sitters on the Iran Diplomatic Agreement up until Wednesday September 2, when she finally was persuaded to support her fellow Democrat President Obama, after she had “attended briefings, studied the classified documents in the Capitol basement, and read position papers….”

Although I applaud her diligence in studying documents, it seems likely that she changed her mind on Wednesday September 2 because that was the very day when the President secured the last Senate vote--from Barbara Mikulski (D. Md)—that he needed to support a veto of any Congressional block of the diplomatic accord. With the heat off, Chu could take a position under the radar.

Courageous groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and CodePink have supported the Iran agreement as the only peaceful course. Powerful interests, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), have lobbied hard against the agreement and Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul, promised contributions to elected officials who oppose the deal. There are different points of view surely, but having no position at all is not becoming to an elected official who has known about the issues for months. Spinning the decision as a last minute intellectual choice underestimates the intelligence of constituents.

Congresswoman Chu’s website contains an “Issues” menu. She has no “foreign policy”, “defense” or “peace” or “war” or “international” choices. This is surprising since more than 50% of the national discretionary budget is devoted to military expenditure, not including international affairs and intelligence.

War, nuclear power and diplomacy are fundamental to Congressional responsibility. On these life and death issues, constituents deserve candor and clarity from the politicians who represent us in Washington.

Cynthia Cannady

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