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Sep 15, 2013

Republicans question whether Syria deal has enough teeth

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leading Republican lawmakers voiced skepticism on Sunday over whether a deal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons could work without a credible threat of force pressuring the Syrian government to comply.

The deal, reached on Saturday after talks between the United States and Russia, calls on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to account for his chemical stockpile within a week and allow for international inspections by the middle of next year.

Sep 13, 2013

U.S. public-relations firm helps Putin make his case to America

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In April 2011, then-Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was asked an unusually flattering question by an American journalist: “Are you the coolest man in politics?”

The interview, which ran on the website of Outdoor Life magazine, was set up by Ketchum Inc., the U.S. public-relations firm that has worked to burnish Russia’s image since 2006.

Sep 10, 2013

As Congress returns, competing U.S. rallies highlight Syria divide

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With a list of names, a stack of letters and a “Free Syria” pin on his lapel, Asaad Aref wandered the halls of Congress on Monday, trying to turn the tide in a debate that was not moving in his favor.

President Barack Obama’s request to authorize a military strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appeared to be losing traction in Congress, and the Obama administration seemed to be reconsidering the idea. Public opinion firmly opposed military action, and even Aref’s fellow Syrian Americans were divided.

Sep 8, 2013

Insight: Tax law fuels, then kills, a discount-tobacco industry

AUBURN, Washington (Reuters) – Jean and Larry Wood weren’t thinking about politics when they opened Butt’s Tobacco in a tidy strip mall south of Seattle in February 2011.

They weren’t aware that a federal children’s health law had inadvertently turbocharged their discount-cigarette business, and they didn’t know that a federal highway law soon would destroy it.

Sep 8, 2013

Tax law fuels, then kills, a discount-tobacco industry

AUBURN, Washington, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Jean and Larry Wood
weren’t thinking about politics when they opened Butt’s Tobacco
in a tidy strip mall south of Seattle in February 2011.

They weren’t aware that a federal children’s health law had
inadvertently turbocharged their discount-cigarette business,
and they didn’t know that a federal highway law soon would
destroy it.

Sep 3, 2013

U.S. public opposes Syria intervention as Obama presses Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has failed so far to convince most Americans that the United States should launch a limited military strike against Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.

Some 56 percent of those surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria, while only 19 percent supported action, the online poll found. Some 25 percent said they did not know what course of action the United States should take.

Aug 30, 2013

Most in U.S. still oppose Syria strike as Obama seeks action

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Most Americans still do not want to intervene in Syria’s civil war, although support for such action has increased since the suspected chemical gas attack near Damascus last week, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The poll made clear how much work President Barack Obama has to do to win support for military action from a war-weary public as he makes the case that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be held responsible for the attack that the United States says killed more than 1,400 people.

Aug 24, 2013

Insight: Quietly, businesses help reshape U.S. immigration debate

HOUSTON (Reuters) – If Texas Representative Ted Poe was looking for reassurance that backing an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws won’t be political suicide for conservatives like him, he may have found it this week at a seafood restaurant on the outskirts of Houston.

During a roundtable discussion, several business executives told the five-term Republican that they can’t find enough Americans willing to cook fajitas, repair sidewalks and perform other types of unglamorous work that keeps the fourth-largest U.S. city humming. A more robust guest-worker program would help, they said.

Jul 8, 2013

Insight: Congress keeps detention quota despite immigration debate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As Congress weighs sweeping changes to the U.S. immigration system, one thing is unlikely to change: a requirement that the government lock up more undocumented immigrants than it says is necessary.

Despite tight budgets and declining illegal immigration, Congress requires the Department of Homeland Security to hold about 34,000 people a day in centers for detainees facing possible deportation. That’s at least 2,000 more than the Obama administration says is necessary, representing an added cost of about $132 million a year, critics say.

Jun 25, 2013

Questions turn to U.S. competence in Snowden saga

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration has spent the past few weeks arguing it can wield power responsibly after Edward Snowden unveiled its sweeping spying programs. Now the administration must prove it can wield power effectively.

As the 30-year-old leads the world’s lone superpower on a global game of hide and seek, U.S. government officials faced questions about whether they had botched the effort to extradite Snowden from Hong Kong to face charges related to his leak of classified information.

    • About Andy

      "As a politics and general-news correspondent, I’ve covered four budget crises, three presidential elections, two hurricanes and one exploding bridge since joining Reuters in 2000. One of my stories in the 2012 election inspired a spoof on “Saturday Night Life.” I’m a native of Cape Elizabeth, Maine and in my free time I play guitar in several rock bands around Washington, D.C."
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