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Mar 16, 2015

May defense bill vote seen in U.S. House, acquisition reform in works

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives is moving toward a vote in mid-May on the annual half-billion-dollar defense policy bill, U.S. Representative Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said on Monday.

Thornberry also said he plans to introduce next week legislation to reform the U.S. defense acquisition process. There is no schedule yet for a vote on that bill in the House, he told a news briefing, saying he first wanted to open up the process for comments.

Mar 12, 2015

Senate committee advances ‘threat-sharing’ cybersecurity bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee voted 14-1 on Thursday to approve a bill intended to enhance information sharing between private companies and intelligence agencies about cybersecurity threats.

The panel’s approval cleared the way for a vote in the full Senate on the measure, which would extend some legal liability protection to companies to make it easier for them to share data with the government to help prevent and respond to cyberattacks.

Mar 12, 2015

Republicans stand by Iran letter, despite furor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator John McCain said on Thursday that Republicans stood behind a letter to Iran’s leaders threatening to undo any nuclear deal despite an outpouring of criticism from the White House, U.S. allies and Democrats.

He said the Republican senators could have taken more time to talk about it, but he had no remorse.

Mar 12, 2015

U.S. Republicans stand by Iran letter, despite furore

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator John McCain said on Thursday that Republicans stood behind a letter to Iran’s leaders threatening to undo any nuclear deal despite an outpouring of criticism from the White House, U.S. allies and Democrats.

He said the Republican senators could have taken more time to talk about it, but he had no remorse.

Mar 11, 2015

U.S. may be unable to defend its Syria recruits against Assad

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States does not appear to have clear-cut legal authority to protect Syrian rebels it trains from attack by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, even under new war powers, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday.

Still, Carter told Congress, a final determination had not yet been made.

The remarks underscore the deep uncertainty surrounding a fledgling U.S. military-led training program expected to get under way in the coming weeks, first in Jordan, then at training sites in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and, later, Qatar, with the goal of training upwards of 5,000 fighters a year.

Mar 11, 2015

Senate Democrats oppose ‘blank check’ for Islamic State fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Democrats made clear on Wednesday they have serious concerns about President Barack Obama’s war authorization request for his campaign against Islamic State, despite appeals from top administration officials for bipartisan support for the plan.

“Democrats are not willing to … give this or any other president an open-ended authorization for war, a blank check,” Senator Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said at a hearing as senators begin considering Obama’s request for a formal authorization for the seven-month-old campaign against Islamic State.

Mar 10, 2015

Obama war request in trouble in Congress, mostly from Democrats

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama’s request to authorize military force against Islamic State has made little progress since he sent it to Congress, and it may never pass, due largely to opposition from his fellow Democrats.

Obama asked Congress for an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against Islamic State a month ago, after agitation from lawmakers worried that the military campaign he began in August overstepped his constitutional authority.

Mar 10, 2015

Republicans warn Iran nuclear deal with Obama may not last

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Forty-seven Republican U.S. senators warned Iran’s leaders on Monday that any nuclear deal with President Barack Obama could last only as long as he remains in office, an unusual partisan intervention in foreign policy that could undermine delicate international talks with Tehran.

The open letter was signed by all but seven of the Republicans in the Senate and none of Obama’s fellow Democrats, who called it a “stunt.” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif dismissed it as a “propaganda ploy” from pressure groups he called afraid of diplomatic agreement.

Mar 9, 2015

Republicans warn Iran against nuclear deal with Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. senators warned Iran’s leaders on Monday that any nuclear deal with President Barack Obama could last only as long as he remains in office, an unusual partisan intervention into foreign policy that could undermine delicate international talks with Tehran.

The open letter made public on Monday was signed by 47 senators, all but seven of the Republicans in the Senate, but none of Obama’s fellow Democrats, who called it a “stunt”. It says Congress plays a role in ratifying international agreements and points out that Obama will leave office in January 2017.

Mar 7, 2015

U.S. said to ready criminal charges against Sen. Menendez

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department is preparing criminal corruption charges against New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, CNN reported on Friday.

Citing unnamed sources briefed on the case, CNN said the charges center on allegations Menendez used his office to promote the business interests of a Democratic Party donor and friend in exchange for gifts.

    • 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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