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Feb 20, 2015

Exclusive – U.S. lawmaker pushes White House to aid allies in Islamic State fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior Republican lawmaker warned President Barack Obama she would do “everything within my power,” including holding up money, to push the United States to provide fighter jets and weapons to Egypt and other allies fighting Islamic State militants.

In a letter to the president, Kay Granger, chairwoman of the House of Representatives State and Foreign Operations subcommittee, said Egypt needs F-16 aircraft and M1A1 Abrams tanks held up since 2013.

Feb 12, 2015

Battle lines emerge in US Congress over Obama Islamic State war plan

WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – House of Representatives
Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday Republicans want a
“strong, robust” authorization for military action against
Islamic State, underscoring sharp differences with Democrats
over President Barack Obama’s plans for the campaign.

A day after Obama sent his proposed authorization to
Congress, Boehner told a news conference he and his fellow
Republicans wanted to give U.S. military commanders enough
flexibility to defeat the militant group wherever it exists.

Feb 11, 2015

Obama seeks war authorization from Congress to fight Islamic State

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama sent Congress his text on Wednesday for an authorization to use military force in the campaign against Islamic State, limiting operations against the militants to three years and barring use of U.S. troops in “enduring offensive ground combat.”

According to the text, Obama also wants to repeal the 2002 measure that authorized the Iraq war. But his proposal leaves in place a 2001 authorization, passed shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, for a campaign against al Qaeda and its affiliates.

Feb 11, 2015

Obama seeks some limits on ground troops for Islamic State fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama will propose to Congress on Wednesday a new three-year authorization for the use of force against Islamic State with limits on U.S. combat troops’ involvement, lawmakers and congressional aides said.

Obama has defended his authority to lead an international coalition against Islamic State since Aug. 8 when U.S. fighter jets began attacking the jihadists in Iraq. But he has faced criticism for failing to seek the backing of Congress, where some accuse him of breaching his constitutional authority.

Feb 10, 2015

Obama readying request to use force against Islamic State

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House will ask Congress by Wednesday for new authority to use force against Islamic State fighters, congressional aides said on Monday, paving the way for lawmakers’ first vote on the scope of a campaign that is already six months old.

The United States is leading an international coalition against Islamic State, and President Barack Obama launched an air campaign in August against the militant fighters, who have killed thousands of people while seizing swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Feb 6, 2015

U.S. lawmakers begin push for more sanctions on North Korea

WASHINGTON, Feb 5 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers introduced
legislation on Thursday to broaden sanctions against North Korea
by imposing stiffer punishments on foreign companies doing
business with Pyongyang, a measure that could impact mostly on
Chinese firms.

“In the wake of the state-sponsored cyber-attack on Sony
Pictures, the bipartisan legislation targets North Korea’s
access to the hard currency and other goods that help keep the
regime in power,” the bill’s co-sponsor, U.S. Republican
Representative Ed Royce, said.

Feb 5, 2015

U.S. lawmakers set new push for more North Korea sanctions -aides

WASHINGTON, Feb 5 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers introduced
legislation on Thursday to broaden sanctions against North Korea
by imposing stiffer punishments on international companies that
do business with Pyongyang, congressional committee aides told

The bill would authorize sanctions on people and businesses
outside the United States, the sources said. Current sanctions
are largely focused on Americans and U.S. companies.

Feb 4, 2015

U.S. official: Guantanamo ‘not on table’ in Cuba talks

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
improved ties.

“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.

Feb 3, 2015

U.S. officials cautious as Cuba political detentions decline

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.

Feb 2, 2015

U.S. lawmakers preparing Cuba telecomms, agriculture bills -aides

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.

    • 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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