WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Army General Martin Dempsey’s nomination to a second term as the top U.S. military officer hit an unexpected bump on Thursday when a senior Republican lawmaker denounced his stance on Syria during a Senate hearing and vowed to block a vote on the appointment.
Senator John McCain repeatedly questioned Dempsey over his position on the Syrian civil war during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee and criticized him for declining to give the panel his full opinion on whether the United States should intervene in the conflict.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives panel in charge of aid to Egypt proposed on Thursday that military aid be kept at $1.3 billion next year, subject to conditions including that the government in Cairo plans and holds elections.
However, the bill proposed by the Republican leaders of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign aid did not include the annual $250 million in economic assistance that has been appropriated for Egypt in recent years.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Samantha Power, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, promised to push for action on Syria and fight what she termed “unacceptable bias” against Israel at the world body during her Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
“We see the failure of the U.N. Security Council to respond to the slaughter in Syria – a disgrace that history will judge harshly,” Power, best known as a human rights advocate, said in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Samantha Power, President Barack Obama’s nominee as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called the U.N. Security Council’s response to Syria’s civil war a “disgrace” on Wednesday at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“We see the failure of the U.N. Security Council to respond to the slaughter in Syria – a disgrace that history will judge harshly,” Power said in testimony that also praised the New York-based world body.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two Senate Republicans on Tuesday backed a sweeping change to how the military handles cases of sexual assault, boosting a plan that faces strong opposition at the Pentagon and in Congress.
Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul said they supported Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand’s proposal to take the decision about whether to pursue sexual assault cases away from a victim’s commander and place it with independent military prosecutors.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers will begin to vote as soon as next week on legislation that could continue aid to Egypt even if the Obama administration determines that the ouster of elected President Mohamed Mursi was a military coup, lawmakers and aides said on Thursday.
The United States currently sends $1.3 billion in military aid and $250 million in economic aid to Egypt each year, but the military coup label would cut off the flow under a U.S. law dating to the 1980s.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two senior Senate Democrats pushed President Barack Obama to cut back on force-feeding of prisoners at the Guantanamo naval base on Wednesday, two days after a judge ruled that only the president had the power to stop the procedure.
Senators Richard Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, and Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence committee, also urged Obama to outline a formal process for closing the detention center as quickly as possible.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday said the White House was harming U.S. national security interests by being too secretive about its plans to arm Syrian rebels.
Responding to a Reuters story, Senator Bob Corker said President Barack Obama’s administration has fully briefed only members of the Senate and House of Representatives Intelligence committees on details of its plans to aid to rebels fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House refused to label the military ouster of Egypt’s president a coup on Monday and said there would be no immediate cut-off in U.S. aid to Egypt in a move that distances Washington from the country’s toppled Muslim Brotherhood leadership.
White House spokesman Jay Carney, peppered with questions about Egypt at a daily briefing, struggled to explain how Washington could avoid calling the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi a coup.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senator John McCain pressed on Monday for the United States to suspend its $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt, saying the removal of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi from office appeared to be a coup led by the military.
McCain said he understood that Mursi’s removal was undertaken with broad public support and could eventually lead to a more representative civilian government.