Iraq Crisis Unites President, Congressional Republicans

The terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacks on Christians and Yazidis have outraged people across the world and prompted President Barack Obama to authorize limited airstrikes last week. In a rare show of unity, President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans have been united in condemning the atrocities. On Friday, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said, “The United State is right [to] intervene in Iraq to provide humanitarian assistant to persecuted religious minorities”. Representative Michael McCaul of Texas issues a statement saying, “I support targeted airstrikes, which will assist Iraq’s Christian and Yazidi minorities currently being terrorized by ISIS”. Representative Ed Royce of California, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said, “Putting U.S. troops back on the ground in Iraq is not an option, but there is a clear humanitarian crisis”, although he did fault the President for not acting sooner.

National Journal: How the Massacre of Religious Minorities Is Driving U.S. Action in Iraq

House Committee on Foreign Affairs: Chairman Royce Statement on the Situation in Iraq

Committee on Homeland Security: McCaul Statement on President’s Authorization of Airstrikes in Iraq

Forecasting the U.S. Senate Races

The midterm elections are just under three months away and the biggest question will be whether the Republicans will take control of the U.S. Senate. They need a net-gain of six seats to win control, and last week they received a boost when Democratic Senator John Walsh of Montana dropped out of his race following a plagiarism scandal. In addition to that seat, Republicans have a good chance of taking those from West Virginia and South Dakota where Democratic incumbents are retiring, writes Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza. Furthermore, Republicans are favored in another six races. Cillizza writes that the Democrats do have a shot at picking up current Republican seats in Georgia and Kentucky, but that is not likely.

In the quest for the Senate, the race for North Carolina’s seat is one of the most competitive. It features Democratic incumbent Senator Kay Hagan facing off against Republican state house Speaker Thom Tillis. Senator Hagan defeated Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2008, but is now facing a tough reelection. Her approval ratings are at 40 percent and the state voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. On the other hand, Speaker Tillis is hampered by his association with the state legislature, which has a 19 percent approval rating, according to a Democratic pollster. “It’s a straight-up showdown between a generic Republican and a generic Democrat in a particularly critical swing state…If the GOP can win here, it can win the Senate”, writes Byron York, for The Washington Examiner.

Washington Post: Republican Takeover of Senate Appears More and More Assured

Washington Examiner: North Carolina’s Nondescript, Virtually Unnoticed, Hugely Important Senate Race

And for our latest post: Supreme Court on Recess Appointments: The President Loses, Congress Partially Wins