Washington, D.C. - Congressman Brad Sherman on Tuesday became chairman of a Foreign Affairs Committee panel that oversees terrorism and nuclear nonproliferation. His subcommittee’s jurisdiction also was broadened to include overseas trade issues.
Sherman took the gavel of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee as the 110th Congress neared completion of its committee lineup. Sherman earlier won a seat on the House Judiciary Committee, which oversees intellectual property matters important to the motion picture, television and music industries based in Southern California. He also will continue to serve on the Financial Services Committee.
On the foreign affairs front, Sherman has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s failure to stop Iran and North Korea from pursuing atomic weapons programs. “Preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons should be the primary objective of American foreign policy,” Sherman said. “Iran’s unbridled nuclear ambitions and North Korea’s atomic weapons are the real threats to Americans, and are actually far more important than Iraq.”
The portfolio of Sherman’s subcommittee was expanded to include trade matters. The panel will have jurisdiction over international economic policy generally, and specifically measures to promote, restrict or license exports.
Sherman said an early focus of the subcommittee will be an investigation into costly delays in processing licenses to export sensitive goods. “Obviously, we want to ensure that overseas sales of items that can harm our national security are heavily scrutinized, but the long delays are not the result of thorough review by vigilant government employees,” he said. “Instead, applications languish because there are too few analysts. This serves neither national security, nor the interests of our exporting businesses.”