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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.

Sep 10, 2013

Obama wants to keep pressure on Syria as diplomatic option pursued

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama and top national security officials urged Congress on Tuesday to keep the pressure on Syria over its chemical weapons arsenal while the United States explores a diplomatic alternative to military strikes.

A potential diplomatic breakthrough put the brakes on a vote in Congress over authorizing military force as lawmakers and the administration sought more time to assess Russia’s proposal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.

Sep 10, 2013

Obama seeks to keep pressure on Syria amid diplomacy push

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will tell the American people and Congress on Tuesday evening that the United States must not let up pressure on Syria even as Washington explores a diplomatic alternative to military strikes.

While Obama plans to claim credit for a potential diplomatic breakthrough on Syria’s chemical weapons, he still faces potential political damage from his failure so far to sell the public and Congress on the need for military intervention.

Sep 10, 2013

U.S. Senate may not vote on Syria this week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate may not vote this week on the authorization for the use of military force in Syria, congressional aides said on Tuesday after Syria’s recent acceptance of a Russian proposal to give up its chemical weapons.

Congressional leaders also want to wait to assess the American public’s response to President Barack Obama’s address on Syria on Tuesday night, several aides said.

Sep 7, 2013

Pro-Israel U.S. lobbying group sets major push for Syria action

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The influential pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee will deploy hundreds of activists next week to win support in Congress for military action in Syria, amid an intense White House effort to convince wavering U.S. lawmakers to vote for limited strikes.

“We plan a major lobbying effort with about 250 activists in Washington to meet with their senators and representatives,” an AIPAC source said on Saturday.

Sep 5, 2013

Senate panel approves resolution on Syria military strikes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution on Wednesday authorizing limited U.S. military intervention in Syria, setting the stage for a contentious debate in the full Senate next week on the use of force.

The committee voted 10-7 in favor of a compromise resolution that sets a 60-day limit on any engagement in Syria, with a possible 30-day extension, and bars the use of U.S. troops on the ground for combat operations.

Sep 4, 2013

U.S. resolution on Syria strike passes first hurdle in Senate

WASHINGTON/AMMAN (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama’s effort to win legislative backing for military strikes against Syria passed its first hurdle on Wednesday when a Senate committee voted in favor, but the narrow margin of victory showed the depth of U.S. caution.

In a possible sign of internal unrest in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ruling Alawite sect in the shadow of a likely U.S. intervention, Syrian opposition figures said General Ali Habib, a former defense minister, had defected. Syria denied the report.

    • 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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