WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday released letters from Pentagon officials defending the military’s system for handling sexual assault cases, fending off a fellow Democratic senator’s plan for sweeping changes to deal with the rise in sexual assaults.
The letters released by Senator Carl Levin raised arguments against a plan from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand that would shift the decision on whether to pursue sexual assault cases to an independent military prosecutor from the victim’s commander.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate panel in charge of foreign aid proposed on Tuesday that funds sent to Egypt be kept at current levels, but that military aid be divided into four parts and conditions set on it, including that the Cairo government hold a democratic election.
The Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee approved the $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt and $250 million in economic assistance that President Barack Obama requested for fiscal 2014, which starts October 1, matching this year’s level despite upheaval in the most populous Arab nation.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leaders of the House of Representatives panel in charge of foreign aid proposed on Thursday that military aid for Egypt be kept at $1.3 billion next year, one of few programs left unscathed in a bill seeking steep cuts in international spending.
The draft spending bill from Republican leaders of the House Appropriations committee puts conditions on the military aid, including that the government in Cairo plans and holds elections and honors its 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
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.