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Dec 9, 2013

U.S. lawmakers hope for vote on compromise defense bill this week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Armed Services committees have agreed on a slimmed-down defense authorization bill and want the House to vote on the measure before it leaves on its year-end holiday recess at the end of this week, Senator Carl Levin said on Monday.

Levin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the Senate was unable to vote on a huge range of proposed amendments to the bill in time to pass it this year, so committee leaders reached agreement on a compromise version of the legislation.

Dec 6, 2013

Top Democrats seek intelligence briefings, report on Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The leaders of three U.S. Senate committees asked intelligence officials on Friday for regular briefings on whether Iran is complying with an interim agreement to rein in its nuclear program, as Congress weighs whether to impose a new round of sanctions on Tehran.

President Barack Obama’s administration has urged lawmakers not to impose more sanctions during negotiations over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, saying it could alienate both the Islamic Republic and other countries involved in the talks by making Washington appear to be acting in bad faith.

Dec 6, 2013

Key U.S. lawmakers urge China to back off on air defense zone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Democratic and Republican leaders of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged China on Thursday not to implement an air defense zone over disputed islands in the East China Sea, saying in a letter that Beijing’s recent activities threatened “vital national interests of the United States.”

Beijing’s decision to declare the air defense identification zone in an area that includes disputed islands has triggered protests from the United States, Japan and South Korea, and was a central topic of discussions during a visit to Japan, China and South Korea this week by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

Dec 5, 2013

Republicans in U.S. Congress try to be more ‘sensitive’ about women

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representative Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday he wants his fellow Republicans to be more “sensitive” as they seek to appeal to women voters in next year’s congressional elections.

“I try to get them to be a little bit more sensitive,” Boehner said at his weekly news conference, when asked what advice he was giving his fellow Republicans as they campaign against Democratic women candidates, and try to attract female voters.

Dec 3, 2013

White House tells Senate it opposes new Iran sanctions effort

WASHINGTON, Dec 3 (Reuters) – The White House said on
Tuesday it opposes a fresh effort by some members of the U.S.
Senate to impose new sanctions against Iran, even if the new
restrictions would not take effect for months.

Some senators have been discussing the idea of imposing new
sanctions on Iran that would kick in after six months or if Iran
violated terms of an interim deal reached 10 days ago that
attempts to contain its nuclear program.

Nov 25, 2013

Senate leader Reid not rushing to new Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Monday the Senate will consider legislation next month to impose tighter sanctions on Iran, but only after studying the issue and possibly holding hearings.

Reid said he would look to fellow Democrats Tim Johnson, who chairs the Banking Committee, and Robert Menendez, who heads the Foreign Relations Committee, for a decision after the Senate returns on December 9 from its Thanksgiving holiday recess.

Nov 24, 2013

Obama has leeway on Iran, despite U.S. lawmakers’ concerns

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican and Democratic U.S. senators on Sunday voiced skepticism about an interim nuclear deal reached with Iran but Congress looked likely to give President Barack Obama room to see if the agreement works.

The deal does not need to be ratified by Congress and Obama is using his executive power to temporarily suspend some existing U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Nov 24, 2013

Obama launches sales job on Iran nuclear deal

WASHINGTON, Nov 23 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama
said on Saturday a deal between Iran and world powers was a big
step toward a comprehensive solution on Tehran’s nuclear program
as he tried to win over critics in the U.S. Congress and Israel.

A senior U.S. official said Obama planned to call Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to try to assuage
Israeli concerns about the agreement.

Nov 24, 2013

Obama launches sales job on controversial Iran nuclear deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Saturday a deal between Iran and world powers was a big first step toward a comprehensive solution to Iran’s nuclear program as he launched a sales effort to convince critics in the U.S. Congress to go along with the agreement.

“There are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon,” Obama argued in a late-night appearance at the White House after the deal was sealed in Geneva. “Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb.”

Nov 21, 2013

Reid pledges to move ahead with Iran sanctions in U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday he was committed to moving ahead with a tougher Iran sanctions bill when the Senate returns from a holiday recess early next month, adding to pressure on negotiators meeting in Geneva on a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

“I will support a bill that would broaden the scope of our current petroleum sanctions, place limitations on trade with strategic sectors of the Iranian economy that support its nuclear ambitions, as well as pursue those who divert goods to Iran,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

    • 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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