Top GOP senator blocking Trump's pick for Turkey ambassador

Top GOP senator blocking Trump's pick for Turkey ambassador
© Greg Nash
Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Grassley signs USMCA, sending it to Trump's desk | Union membership falls to record low | Manufacturers want Trump tax provision made permanent | Warren presses banks on climate plans PhRMA spent record-high million on lobbying in 2019 Grassley signs USMCA, sending it to Trump's desk MORE (R-Iowa) is blocking quick action on President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE's pick to be U.S. ambassador to Turkey over a fight with the State Department on a law intended to help victims of terrorist attacks sue in U.S. courts.
 
In statements included in the Congressional Record, Grassley placed a hold on David Satterfield's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Turkey, citing his role in trying to negotiate changes to the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act, a bill sponsored by the Iowa Republican.
 
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Grassley said the State Department did not raise concerns about the legislation before it passed. He added that Satterfield, in leading the department's negotiations, won't support changes that include language to "tangibly benefit victims."
 
"Rather, my bill seemed an annoyance to State's priorities and Ambassador Satterfield on several occasions vocalized his concern about the law's impact on the Palestinian Authority, who have been found liable in U.S. courts for supporting terrorist attacks against Americans," Grassley said.
 
He went on to say that he was "tired of our State Department putting the interests of alleged sponsors of terrorism over those of our own citizens. The State Department should work in good faith with Congress and victims by unambiguously demonstrating its support for restoring jurisdiction over sponsors of terrorism."

Grassley's bill, which was signed into law late last year, allows groups, namely the Palestinian Authority, to be sued in federal court if they accept U.S. foreign aid. Palestinian officials said in response to the legislation that they would stop accepting U.S. aid, including $60 million in security assistance.
 
The Washington Post reported in January, shortly before the law went into effect, that the State Department and Trump administration officials were trying to negotiate changes to the law that "maintain security cooperation on one hand and also justice to the families of the victims of terror.”
 
An official told the Post that they continued "to work through the potential impact of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act."
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum No. 2 GOP leader eyes Wednesday of next week for possible votes on witnesses MORE (R-Ky.) could break Grassley's hold by filing cloture on Satterfield, whose nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month.
 
This isn't the first time Grassley has placed a hold on a nominee in an effort to force an administration to the table.
 
Grassley has had a hold for nearly a year on William Evanina, Trump’s pick to be the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center because the intelligence community has not responded to congressional inquiries in a timely matter.

At one point, in 2015, he had a hold on almost two dozen State Department nominations, citing a slow response to his inquiries on former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCollins walks impeachment tightrope Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders for 'inability to actually fight with bad actors' in party Hill.TV's Krystal Ball knocks Clinton's 'mean girl' comments against Sanders MORE's emails and a former top aide.