White House ‘Not at all Concerned’ New Congress Will Hurt Its International Agenda, Says National Security Council Spokesman

November 5, 2010 - 5:00 AM


President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(CNSNews.com) - National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said he does not see “any reason to be concerned” about President Barack Obama’s ability to “push forward with a very robust international agenda” during his next two years as president with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives. 

At a news conference on Thursday for foreign reporters at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, Hammer was asked if he thought it was “accurate” to say that it will be “much more difficult” for the president to carry out his foreign policy agenda, given the results of the midterm elections.

“I’ve had the great privilege to serve in the last three administrations at the White House and have seen that there is a very strong tradition in the United States of bipartisanship,” said Hammer. “National Security interests are such that both Republicans and Democrats see very much in the same way, and that is, that we want to ensure the safety and protection of the American people; we want to create economic opportunity and certainly a better future for America.

“And so I don’t see that there’s any reason to be concerned as far as the president’s ability to continue to push forward with a very robust international agenda that advances the interests of the United States,” Hammer said.

“The president was very clear yesterday in his press conference relating to domestic issues in that he wants to work with the new Congress and will do so,” said Hammer.  “But particularly on the issues of foreign policy, you may see disagreements occasionally about the type of approach that may be undertaken, but it’s quite heartening as an American to see that both parties truly want to, and see the interests very much in similar ways, and should be able to continue to work together.”

Republicans picked up (as this story went to press) 61 seats, giving them a 54-seat majority over the Democrats in the House of Representatives (Republicans, 240; Democrats, 186; 9 seats still uncertain). The Senate still will be controlled Democrats, who have 52 seats to the Republicans' 46.  

President Obama has made peace in the Middle East a key part of his foreign policy agenda. He has also increased the troop levels in Afghanistan by over 47,000 to fight Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists. In addition, Obama set a July 2011 drawdown date for American forces in Afghanistan.

“So, we’re not at all concerned about that [new Congress],” said Hammer.  “In fact, what you saw in our election is a moment of celebration of American democracy, that the American people are the ones that really have the power and, through that power, the president and the rest of his team try to every day work hard to try to advance their interests.”