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US Foreign Policy after the Democrats Won the House

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Democrats will try to harden US policy toward Saudi Arabia, Russia and North Korea with their newly won majority in the US House of Representatives, while maintaining the status quo on hot-button areas like China and Iran, according to congressional sources.

On Tuesday night, Democrats won control of the House of Representatives from Republicans for the first time since 2011. That means they can determine what legislation can be considered in the chamber and have a bigger role in setting spending policy and writing legislation, in their challenge to US President Donald Trump's foreign policy agenda.

But since they must still work with a Republican-controlled Senate to pass any bills, the Democratic majority's greatest influence will be oversight, the ability to call hearings and, if necessary, subpoena witnesses, as they chair committees like Foreign Affairs, Armed Services and Intelligence.

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Chuck Schumer, the New York senator and minority leader, told Jewish Insider: “Senate Democrats are very strongly pro-“Israel” and will remain that way.”

His remarks came as he responded to criticism that a new wave of anti-“Israel” Democrats are poised to enter the Congress. 

As for Saudi Arabia, the furor over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul added to lawmakers' frustration with Saudi Arabia over civilian deaths in the war in Yemen and human rights.

A Democratic-led House would vote on legislation to block arms deals with Riyadh, make it difficult to win congressional approval of a nuclear energy deal with the kingdom and take up a measure to stop U.S. aircraft refueling and other support for the campaign in Yemen.

Democrats, meanwhile, plan Russia-related investigations, such as a probe of business ties and conflicts of interest between Trump and Russia.

And regarding the Korean Peninsula, Democrats said they are determined to obtain more information about meetings by Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, worried that Trump is so eager to make a "great deal" that he will give Kim too much.

Additionally, aides and outside experts do not expect that Democratic House control will mean significant changes in China policy. Democrats will hold more hearings, and demand more briefings, but criticism of Beijing has so far crossed party lines and that is not expected to change.

On the Iranian level, the Demos were infuriated by Trump's withdrawal from the international nuclear deal with Iran that President Barack Obama's administration reached in 2015. But there is little they can do to change the policy as long as Republicans occupy the White House.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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