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Sep 25, 2013

U.S. Congress moves toward extending worldwide anti-AIDS program

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Democratic and Republican leaders of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee introduced legislation on Wednesday to extend for another decade a successful and popular program to combat AIDS worldwide launched 10 years ago by former President George W. Bush.

Senators Robert Menendez, the committee’s chairman, and Bob Corker, its senior Republican, said their measure features several provisions to increase oversight of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR, due to expire on September 30.

Sep 25, 2013

After Syria, U.S. Congress wary of Obama’s Iran thaw

WASHINGTON, Sept 25 (Reuters) – After balking at President
Barack Obama’s plan to attack Syria, the U.S. Congress is also
stirring in opposition to his latest foreign policy goal: an
effort to improve relations with Iran.

Congress imposed sanctions that are damaging the Iranian
economy and, according to U.S. officials, are responsible for a
moderate tone from Iran’s new leadership, which will restart
talks this week over its nuclear program.

Sep 23, 2013

Senators urge Obama to take tough line on Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two senior senators on Monday urged President Barack Obama to take a tough line against Iran in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly this week.

Democrat Robert Menendez and Republican Lindsey Graham sent a letter to Obama urging him to restate the U.S. goal of not permitting Iran to achieve nuclear weapons capability and demanding verifiable action from Tehran in order to permit the possibility of a diplomatic accord.

Sep 20, 2013

U.S. lawmaker critical of Obama on Benghazi sets trip to Libya

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republican Representative Darrell Issa, a leader of the congressional charge to investigate the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi attacks, is scheduled to travel to Libya next week as part of the probe, according to documents made public on Friday.

An itinerary for the trip said Issa was leaving on Sunday for a trip to Libya that may include a visit to the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and a working lunch.

Sep 20, 2013

Lawmaker proposes privacy advocate for secret court

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An outside lawyer could act as a public advocate on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that oversees the U.S. government’s electronic eavesdropping programs under a bill introduced Friday in the House of Representatives.

The court makes its decisions on government surveillance requests without hearing from anyone but Justice Department lawyers, raising deep concerns about whether enough is done to protect Americans’ privacy.

Sep 20, 2013

U.S. lawmaker proposes privacy advocate for secret court

WASHINGTON, Sept 20 (Reuters) – An outside lawyer could act
as a public advocate on the secret Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court that oversees the U.S. government’s
electronic eavesdropping programs under a bill introduced Friday
in the House of Representatives.

The court makes its decisions on government surveillance
requests without hearing from anyone but Justice Department
lawyers, raising deep concerns about whether enough is done to
protect Americans’ privacy.

Sep 19, 2013

Memories of JFK, ‘Uncle Ted’ at Kennedy hearing for Japan post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Caroline Kennedy faced a friendly U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday on her nomination as President Barack Obama’s next ambassador to Japan, amid memories of her father, the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and uncles who served in the chamber.

“This appointment has a special significance as we commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of my father’s presidency. I am conscious of my responsibility to uphold the ideals he represented – a deep commitment to public service, a more just America and a more peaceful world,” Kennedy said.

Sep 18, 2013

Republican lawmakers renew Benghazi criticisms at hearing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican lawmakers accused the State Department of failing to hold anyone accountable for the Benghazi attacks at a hearing on Wednesday, the first of three this week in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on the 2012 incident.

“No State Department personnel have been fired or even disciplined. No one has missed a paycheck,” said Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who called the hearing.

Sep 17, 2013

Kerry urges ‘strong’ U.N. resolution on Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry insisted on Tuesday that the U.S.-Russian agreement for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons must be backed by a U.N. resolution with the teeth to force compliance from President Bashar al-Assad.

“That will happen only with the United Nations passing a strong resolution. It will happen with the enforcement of the world, with Russia standing by us in this effort, and it will happen, finally, because Assad lives up to what he has agreed to do,” Kerry told reporters at the U.S. Capitol.

Sep 11, 2013

Senators could vote on Syria force next week if diplomacy fails

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lawmakers said on Wednesday the Senate could start voting on a resolution to authorize the use of military force against Syria as soon as next week if efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis fall short.

A resolution authorizing strikes against Syria had been expected to come before the full Senate for a vote this week. But it was delayed after President Barack Obama asked lawmakers to wait for the outcome of a Russia-backed diplomatic initiative under which Syria would give up its chemical weapons.

    • 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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