Pass bill to streamline export of military weapons, supplies

It’s all too rare to see cooperation across party lines these days, but a great recent example comes from Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Don Manzullo (R-Ill.). The two have taken a bipartisan lead on fixing our defense export control system.

The two introduced the Defense Trade Controls Performance Act, H.R. 4246, in November. While the details are still being hammered out, it aims to make the export control system more efficient and responsive.

The bill is part of a string of promising developments when it comes to export control modernization. One was the signing of defense cooperation treaties with the United Kingdom and Australia, two of our closest and most battle-tested allies. The treaties, which are awaiting consideration by the Senate, will be excellent steps toward streamlining defense trade with these important partners. We are encouraged by this recognition that new caseload management models can — and should — replace the transaction-by-transaction basis of traditional licenses.

Another stride was the announcement by the White House that officials are implementing a slate of changes on how export control rules are administered by the State and Commerce departments.

Reps. Sherman and Manzullo have also directly tackled one of the biggest challenges regarding export controls: the lack of sufficient staff and resources at the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.

Why is all this so important? The aerospace industry is at the forefront of our national defense, producing the aircraft, helicopters, missiles, ships and other vital items that keep our fighting men and women the best equipped in the world. Our outdated export control system has hampered our efforts to cooperate with allies, as well as our ability to provide high-paying jobs and other economic benefits.

The bipartisan approach of Reps. Sherman and Manzullo toward export control modernization is worthy of broad support from other lawmakers. Together we can make great strides on the battlefield and in increasing our nation’s economic bottom line.

Washington



No ‘country club’ GOPer

From Nancy Parker

(Regarding Dick Morris’s column, “McCain begins to get it right,” April 15.) I am one of those Republicans who is not on the far right. So many of my Republican friends also are more middle-of-the-road. Dick Morris is so right that McCain can win if he does not identify himself with the “country club” Republicans, and I hope he will continue to point this out. Only a few narrow-minded bigots comprise that set and they no longer need to be pandered to.

I am 65 years old and pro-choice, pro-English as the official language, and pro-stem cell research. I am also an anti-theist. But I do believe in fiscal responsibility and less government.

By the way, I have money, will inherit more money, and could join the country club Republicans if I wished. We have Daughters of the American Revolution relatives …

I do admit to wanting my kids to be able to inherit my money. Why the heck else did we manage our money well?

Spokane, Wash.



Jump in lifeboats

From Denny Freidenrich, First Strategies consulting

Time to jump in the lifeboats, Democrats. The results from Tuesday’s primary in Pennsylvania have left the political waters as muddy as ever.

Conventional wisdom suggests that it is going to take a united front to defeat GOP Sen. John McCain in November. If true, then let me go on record as saying, “Democratic Party unity is a matter of national security.”

How else can you explain it when the presumptive Republican nominee says the United States may need to remain in Iraq for 100 years, or that his solution to the nation’s economic meltdown is to take a wait-and-see approach? In my opinion, these positions promote national insecurity.

Open your eyes, Democrats. By moving quickly to bring the fighting between Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) to an end, Democrats will be less likely to squander their opportunity.

If they delay, and let the campaign hostilities continue, then I am afraid my party has little chance of  winning back the White House this fall.

Laguna Beach, Calif.