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Jul 25, 2013

House leaders defend NSA support after close vote

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican and Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives on Thursday defended their support for a spy program that sweeps up vast amounts of electronic communications after it survived a surprisingly close vote a day earlier.

The House voted 217-205 on Wednesday to defeat an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have limited the National Security Agency’s ability to collect electronic information, including phone call records.

Jul 25, 2013

U.S. lawmakers want sanctions on any country taking in Snowden

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate panel voted unanimously on Thursday to seek trade or other sanctions against Russia or any other country that offers asylum to former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, who has been holed up for weeks at a Moscow airport.

The 30-member Senate Appropriations Committee adopted by consensus an amendment to a spending bill that would direct Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with congressional committees to come up with sanctions against any country that takes Snowden in.

Jul 24, 2013

U.S. lawmakers blast Guantanamo’s $2.7 mln per prisoner cost

WASHINGTON, July 24 (Reuters) – Democratic lawmakers pushing
to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay said on
Wednesday its cost has skyrocketed to $2.7 million per inmate
this year and argued it is too expensive to keep open while the
country is fighting budget deficits.

“This is a massive waste of money,” Senator Dianne Feinstein
said during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the base.

Jul 24, 2013

U.S. senator, Pentagon fight proposed change to sex assault case rules

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.

Jul 23, 2013

Senate plan would keep aid to Egypt, with conditions

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.

Jul 18, 2013

Proposed House bill keeps Egypt military aid, amid steep cuts

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.

Jul 18, 2013

Republican senator vows to delay Dempsey nomination as U.S. military chief

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.

Jul 18, 2013

Proposed U.S. House bill keeps Egypt military aid at $1.3 billion

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.

Jul 17, 2013

Obama’s U.N. nominee calls inaction on Syria ‘disgrace’

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.

Jul 17, 2013

Obama’s U.N. nominee calls world body’s inaction on Syria a ‘disgrace’

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.

    • 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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