Tensions rising between United States and Iran

Published 8:01 pm Monday, May 1, 2006

By Staff
Each day, tensions between the United States and Iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, are increasing.
Iranian officials have threatened to cut oil production, export nuclear technology, block international nuclear monitors, and withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In response, the House of Representatives last week passed the Iran Freedom Support Act (H.R. 282) that tightens sanctions on companies that invest in Iran in order to eliminate funds that Iran would use to acquire or develop nuclear weapons.
Just a few days ago, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, announced, &#8220If the U.S. ventured into any aggression on Iran, Iran will retaliate by damaging U.S. interests worldwide twice as much as the U.S. may inflict on Iran.”
Increasingly violent rhetoric, such as this, is also reason for heightened concern.
By passing the Iran Freedom Support Act, my colleagues and I also called on the Iranian government to end its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The Iran Freedom Support Act, which was passed in the House by a vote of 397-21, sends a clear signal that we fully understand the threat a nuclear Iran poses. We cannot continue to be complacent about the threat posed by Iran.
Lumber Dispute with Canada Settled
Late last week, the United States and Canada reached a tentative agreement over a softwood lumber dispute.
For three decades, the United States and Canada have sparred over softwood lumber trade. The Canadian government subsidizes its timber industry, which allows for cheaper imports into the U.S. market.
Softwood lumber has been continually dumped in the United States, has cost thousands of U.S. jobs, and has hurt timber markets for American family forest landowners, especially those in the southeast.
I am pleased both with this tentative agreement and knowing that North American lumber prices will now be determined by a fair market.
Deadline for Medicare Prescription Drug Program Nears
The deadline for senior Americans to sign up for the permanent Medicare prescription drug benefit is May 15.
Seniors who do not sign up by May 15, will have to wait until Nov. 15, to join and may pay a penalty, if they choose to join after that time.
To sign up, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and talk to a Medicare representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also sign up at www.medicare.gov.
Gulf Coast Congressional Report Now Closed Captioned
Starting Sunday, May 7, my weekly television show, The Gulf Coast Congressional Report, will be closed captioned.
I am proud that we can now provide you this service.
2006 Academy Nominations
Congratulations to our 2006 academy nominees who have received appointments. Each year, I am so pleased at the number of young men and women throughout south Alabama who are interested in attending a service academy.
The education students receive at the five United States Service Academies