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Jan 16, 2015

Democratic senator says still backs more Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Democratic co-sponsor of a bill to impose new sanctions on Iran if there is no agreement on its nuclear program by July said on Friday he stood by the legislation in the face of warnings that it could torpedo international negotiations.

“All I’m saying is let us put in prospective sanctions that don’t get imposed … until July,” Senator Robert Menendez said.

Jan 16, 2015

U.S. senators will push ahead with Iran sanctions bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The sponsors of a bill to impose new sanctions on Iran if there is no agreement on its nuclear program by July said on Friday they would push ahead with the legislation, despite warnings that it could torpedo international negotiations.

“All I’m saying is let us put in prospective sanctions that don’t get imposed… until July,” Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez said at a news conference in his home state of New Jersey.

Jan 15, 2015

Exclusive: U.S. lawmakers push ahead on Iran sanctions – senior senator

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican and Democratic U.S. lawmakers will press ahead with a plan for more sanctions on Iran, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on Wednesday, despite White House warnings that they risked derailing nuclear talks.

Lawmakers, who say they fear Obama administration negotiators may not take a hard enough line with Tehran, are also at work on a separate bill to have Congress approve any final agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, Senator Bob Corker, the chairman, told Reuters in an interview.

Jan 13, 2015

17 on Cuba prisoner list set free before U.S.-Havana deal announced

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Seventeen of the Cuban prisoners freed under an agreement with the United States had been let go before the two countries announced the deal on Dec. 17, a Cuban dissident leader said on Monday.

According to a copy of the list of 53 names obtained by Reuters from a congressional source, the released prisoners include, among others, members of prominent protest groups such as the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and the Ladies in White.

Jan 12, 2015

Many released Cuba prisoners known to international rights groups

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Seventeen of the Cuban prisoners released under the agreement with the United States had been let go before Washington and Havana announced the deal on Dec. 17, a Cuban dissident leader said on Monday.

According to a copy of the list of 53 names obtained by Reuters from a congressional source, they include members of prominent Cuba protest groups such as the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and the Ladies in White.

Jan 8, 2015

U.S. lawmaker: Obama may make formal Islamic State force request soon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is expected to ask the U.S. Congress soon for a formal authorization to use military force against Islamic State, a top Republican senator said on Thursday.

Bob Corker, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he has been talking to officials from President Barack Obama’s administration and was optimistic they might soon spell out to Congress what they would like to see in an authorization.

Jan 7, 2015

Republicans target security funding to fight Obama on immigration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in the House of Representatives are pursuing a strategy to choke off funding for President Barack Obama’s recent immigration order that could force a shutdown for parts of the Department of Homeland Security.

Republican lawmakers and aides said on Wednesday that a funding measure for DHS, which secures U.S. borders, airports, coastal waters and other critical facilities, as well as controlling the agencies that are to implement Obama’s immigration order, could be introduced by Friday and ready for a vote next week.

Jan 7, 2015

Exclusive: Cuba resists release of several detainees – U.S. congressional source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Cuban government is resisting the release of several of the 53 people the U.S. government has said were to be freed as part of a thaw in relations, linking them to acts of violence, a congressional aide told Reuters.

“We’ve been told that the Cuban government has agreed to release all but several of the political prisoners on the list,” the aide said.

Jan 6, 2015

U.S. senator wants Cuba talks canceled over prisoners’ fate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a leading opponent of President Barack Obama’s restoration of ties to Cuba, called on the administration on Tuesday to cancel upcoming talks with Havana at least until dozens of detainees are released.

The promised release of 53 people Washington considers political prisoners was part of Obama’s Dec. 17 announcement that he planned to normalize relations with Cuba after decades of hostile relations with the island.

Jan 6, 2015

Corrected – Obama’s Cuba opening hits early obstacles, faces struggle with Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – (Corrects time element to “half-century” from “half-decade” in 3rd paragraph)

Only two-and-a-half weeks after U.S. President Barack Obama announced a historic prisoner exchange and re-establishment of long-broken ties with Cuba, his new policy is encountering obstacles that threaten to flare up when Congress returns next week.

    • About Patricia

      "Patricia Zengerle covers foreign policy and national security on Capitol Hill for Reuters. She recently covered the 2012 campaign and the White House and had been an editor in Washington, D.C., an editor in London, and a correspondent in Miami, Pittsburgh and New York. You can follow her on Twitter @ReutersZengerle"
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