Tom Coburn on Foreign Policy
Republican Jr Senator; previously Representative (OK-2)
Justices citing foreign law is bad behavior
SEN. COBURN: Many on the Supreme Court today will pick and choose the foreign law to help them make a decision to interpret our Constitution, where, in fact, the oath of office mentions no foreign law. As a matter of fact, the obligation is to use the
United States law, the Constitution and the treaties. And thatís exactly what Article III, Section 2, says. Thereís no reference at all to foreign law in terms of your obligations or your responsibility. And I personally believe that thatís an indication
of not good behavior by a justice, whether it be a justice at an appellate division or a magistrate or a Supreme Court justice.
ALITO: I donít think that we should look to foreign law to interpret our own Constitution. I donít think that itís
appropriate or useful to look to foreign law in interpreting the provisions of our Constitution. I think the framers would be stunned by the idea that the Bill of Rights is to be interpreted by taking a poll of the countries of the world.
Source: Sam Alito Senate Confirmation Hearings
, Jan 11, 2006
Voted YES on cooperating with India as a nuclear power.
Congressional Summary:US-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act:
- Approves the US-India Agreement for Cooperation on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
- Declares that it is US policy to prevent the transfer to India of nuclear equipment, materials, or technology from other participating governments in the Nuclear Suppliers Group or from any other source; and
- any nuclear power reactor fuel reserve provided to India for use in safeguarded civilian nuclear facilities should be commensurate with reasonable reactor operating requirements.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.
Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Reference: US-India Nuclear Agreement;
; vote number 2008-S211
on Oct 1, 2008
Voted NO on $156M to IMF for 3rd-world debt reduction.
Vote on an amendment that would transfer $156 million from foreign military financing to the Highly Indebted Poor Countries [HIPC] Trust Fund. The HIPC Trust fund is designed to help debtor countries pay off the money they owe to multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Waters, D-CA;
Bill HR 4811
; vote number 2000-397
on Jul 13, 2000
Voted NO on Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China.
Vote to give permanent Normal Trade Relations [NTR] status to China. Currently, NTR status for China is debated and voted on annually. The measure contains provisions designed to protect the United States from Chinese import surges and the administration would have to report annually on China's compliance with the trade agreement. The bill establishes a commission to monitor human rights, labor standards and religious freedom in China.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Archer, R-TX;
Bill HR 4444
; vote number 2000-228
on May 24, 2000
Voted NO on $15.2 billion for foreign operations.
Vote on a bill to provide $15.2 billion for foreign operations in FY 2000. Among other provisions, the bill would provide $1.82 billion over three years for implementation of the Wye River peace accord in the Middle East. In addition, the measure would provide $123 million in multilateral debt relief and would contribute $25 million to the United National Population Fund.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Callahan, R-AL;
Bill HR 3196
; vote number 1999-572
on Nov 5, 1999
Allow Americans to travel to Cuba.
Coburn co-sponsored allowing Americans to travel to Cuba
OnTheIssues.org explanation: The US government has forbidden US citizens from traveling to Cuba since the 1960s. Try booking a trip from Mexico City to Havana on travelocity.com (or any travel website) and it says, "Due to a U.S. government travel restriction we are unable to book this reservation." You can, however, purchase that same ticket while in Mexico City, or anywhere else in the world. Sanford's bill attempts to undo this long-standing situation.
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:
- Prohibits the President from regulating or prohibiting, directly or indirectly, travel to or from Cuba by US citizens, or any of specified transactions incident to such travel.
- Declares that this prohibition does not authorize the importation into the US of any goods for personal consumption acquired in Cuba; &
- The restrictions on the President's authority do not apply in a case in which the US is at war with Cuba.
EXCERPTS FROM BILL:
- FREEDOM OF TRAVEL FOR U.S. CITIZENS AND LEGAL RESIDENTS: The President shall not regulate or prohibit travel to or from Cuba by US citizens or legal residents.
- TRANSACTIONS INCIDENT TO TRAVEL: The President shall not regulate any transactions ordinarily incident to travel to or from Cuba, including the importation into Cuba or the US of accompanied baggage; the payment of living expenses; or facilitation of travel to, from, or within Cuba.
- EXCEPTION: The restrictions on authority contained in section 1 do not apply in a case in which the US is at war with Cuba, armed hostilities between the two countries are in progress, or there is imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of United States travelers.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME: Referred to the House Committee on the Western Hemisphere; never called for a House vote.
Source: Cuba travel bill (H.R.4471) 00-HR4471 on May 16, 2000
Rated -1 by AAI, indicating a mixed Arab/Palestine voting record.
Coburn scores -1 by AAI on Arab-Israeli issues
The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Though not comprehensive, we have attempted to provide a snapshot of legislation concerning many of the primary issues concerning Arab Americans. For the Senate, we have included 10 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, three on Palestine, one on Lebanon, one regarding civil liberties, and two for immigration reform.
Source: AAI website 12-AAI-S on May 2, 2012
- S. Res. 44: (+) calls on former President Hosni Mubarak to immediately begin a peaceful transition to a democratic political system
- S. Res. 109: (+) honoring and supporting women in North Africa and the Middle East
- S. Res. 138: (-) calling on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone report, formally known as the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which accused the Israeli government of targeting Palestinian civilians.
- S. Res. 185: (-) reaffirming the commitment of the US to a
negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calling for a US veto of any UN resolution on Palestinian statehood without a settlement.
- S. Con. Res. 23: (-) supporting Israel in maintaining defensible borders, and against Israel returning to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967
- S. 558: (+) the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, to limit the use of cluster munitions in areas normally inhabited by civilians.
- S. 1125: (+) greater judicial review of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and greater protections to individuals being monitored or gag-ordered by the FBI.
- S.1038, the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act, in opposition of PATRIOT Act extension.
- S. 723: (-) The Birthright Citizenship Act, limiting citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants born in the US.
- S. 952: (+) the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented minors to become US citizens, provided they meet certain conditions, including good moral character
Pressure friendly Arab states to end Israeli boycott.
Coburn signed Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members
Dear Secretary Rice,
Source: Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members 2010-LT-AR on Oct 2, 2007
In the past, the lack of sufficient support from [non-participating] Arab states have made it difficult to reach agreements [on the Arab-Israeli conflict]. You should press friendly Arab countries that have not yet done so, to:
- Participate in the upcoming international meeting and be a full partner of the US in advancing regional peace
- Take visible, meaningful steps in the financial, diplomatic and political arena to help Palestinian President Abbas govern effectively and meet obligations to fight terror
- Stop support for terrorist groups and cease all anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement
- Recognize Israel's right to exist and not use such recognition as a bargaining chip for future Israeli concessions
- End the Arab League economic boycott of Israel in all of its forms
- Pressure Hamas to recognize Israel, reject terror, and accept prior agreements, and isolate Hamas until it takes such steps.
Page last updated: Apr 23, 2013