WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department
official leading negotiations with the Cuban government said on
Wednesday the United States is not considering returning the
U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay to Havana as it discusses
“The issue of Guantanamo is not on the table in these
conversations,” Roberta Jacobson, the assistant secretary of
State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, testified
during a House of Representatives hearing.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Political detentions have declined in Cuba since the Dec. 17 U.S.-Cuban rapprochement but it is unclear if this is a trend, a U.S. human rights official told a congressional hearing on Tuesday.
“The nature of the Cuban regime has not changed and we have not claimed so,” Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski told U.S. lawmakers’ first hearing on Cuba since President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro said they would seek to normalize relations.
WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers are preparing a
series of bills to ease U.S. restrictions on trade with Cuba,
with plans to introduce them in the Senate in the next two
months, senior congressional aides said on Monday.
These would be the first practical steps toward lifting the
U.S. trade embargo on the communist island following an
announcement by the two countries in December that they would
improve relations after five decades of hostility.
WASHINGTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Banking
Committee voted 18-4 on Thursday to advance a bill that would
toughen sanctions on Iran if international negotiators fail to
reach an agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program by the end of
However, the bill is not expected to come for a vote in the
full Senate until at least March 24, after a group of senators,
in the face of President Barack Obama’s threat to veto the
measure, reached an agreement to hold off for two months to
allow time to reach a diplomatic solution.
WASHINGTON, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Eight Republican and
Democratic U.S. senators will introduce legislation on Thursday
to end restrictions on U.S. citizens’ travel to Cuba, the first
effort in Congress toward ending the U.S. embargo since
President Barack Obama moved to normalize relations last month.
The bill would end legal restrictions on travel to the
island by U.S. citizens and legal residents, according to a
statement about the senators’ plans.
WASHINGTON, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Key Democratic U.S. senators
said on Tuesday they would put off supporting new Iran
sanctions for at least two months, after a threat by President
Barack Obama to veto a bill he said could scuttle talks with
Tehran over its nuclear program.
With Republicans holding 54 seats in the 100-member chamber
and needing 67 votes to override a veto, they would need
significant support from Obama’s fellow Democrats to pass the
bill against Obama’s wishes.
WASHINGTON, Jan 27 (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez,
co-sponsor of legislation that would tighten sanctions on Iran
over its nuclear program, said on Tuesday he and other
Democratic senators would not back passage of the bill until
after March 24 and only if there is no framework agreement with
President Barack Obama has said voting now for more
sanctions, which are strongly supported by Republican lawmakers,
could upset talks now under way with Iran. He has pledged to
veto any bill imposing new sanctions during the talks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. senators introduced a resolution on Monday opposing more sanctions on Iran unless nuclear talks fail or Tehran breaks an agreement, countering a push for tougher sanctions backed by Republicans that President Barack Obama has pledged to veto.
“For those who agree that the sanctions bill in the Banking Committee is detrimental, this resolution provides an option in support of diplomacy,” Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, a leading co-sponsor of the resolution with Senator Chris Murphy, said in a statement.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, jolted Washington this week by inviting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, his office said it had been done “on behalf of the bipartisan leadership.”
In reality, it was among the most partisan moves so far by America’s newly Republican-controlled Congress. Fuming Democratic leaders in Congress have said they were not consulted, raising questions over whether Boehner had accurately characterized the nature of his invitation.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress on Iran without consulting President Barack Obama, and the White House questioned whether protocol had been violated.
Setting up a diplomatic showdown on an issue that has sharply divided Obama and congressional Republicans, Boehner announced the invitation the day after Obama pledged in his State of the Union address to veto Iran sanctions legislation being developed in Congress.