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Dec 13, 2013

U.S. House passes bill authorizing $633 billion in defense spending

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the annual defense policy bill on Thursday, authorizing $633 billion in spending for 2014, strengthening protections for victims of sexual assault in the military and easing some transfers from the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The House voted 350-69 to pass a slimmed-down version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which was introduced as a compromise early this week. Its passage clears the way for final consideration by the U.S. Senate, likely next week.

Dec 12, 2013

White House bid to hold off Iran sanctions gains backing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s campaign for Congress to hold off on new sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program won a key endorsement on Thursday when the chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee rejected tightening measures against Iran now.

Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat, said he agrees with the Obama administration that such legislation could disrupt delicate negotiations seeking to curb Iran’s nuclear program. The Banking Committee oversees sanctions legislation in the Senate.

Dec 12, 2013

U.S. Senate Banking chief urges no new sanctions over Iran now

WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s
campaign for Congress to hold off on new sanctions over Iran’s
nuclear program won a key endorsement on Thursday when the
chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee rejected
tightening measures against Iran now.

Senator Tim Johnson said he agrees with the Obama
administration that such legislation could disrupt delicate
negotiations seeking to curb Iran’s nuclear program. The Banking
committee oversees sanctions legislation in the Senate.

Dec 12, 2013

Pro-sanctions U.S. lawmakers will introduce new Iran bill soon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. senators will introduce legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran as soon as this week, Senate aides said on Wednesday, despite the Obama administration’s insistence that such a measure would violate terms of an interim agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

Iran’s foreign minister has also said a new sanctions law would kill the agreement. In the interim agreement, Tehran agreed to limit uranium enrichment in return for an easing of international sanctions.

Dec 11, 2013

U.S. lawmakers warn of sanctions if Ukraine violence worsens

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers are considering legislation to deny visas to Ukrainian officials or freeze their U.S. assets if there is an escalation of violence against anti-government demonstrators.

Both Democrats and Republicans have condemned harsh measures during weeks of protests by hundreds of thousands of people protesting President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to scrap a trade deal with the European Union and steer Ukraine closer to Russia.

Dec 10, 2013

U.S. Senate banking chairman inclined to hold off on Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration’s appeal to Congress to hold off on imposing more sanctions on Iran won key support on Tuesday when the chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee said he would not back new legislation at this time.

Any such legislation could jeopardize delicate negotiations toward a comprehensive agreement with Tehran to curb its nuclear program after world powers clinched an interim deal with Iran last month, President Barack Obama’s administration has argued.

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.

    • 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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