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Jun 25, 2015

U.S. lawmakers step up warnings against ‘weak’ Iran deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As talks on an Iran nuclear deal enter the final stretch, U.S. lawmakers are sharpening warnings against a “weak” agreement and laying down red lines that, if crossed, could prompt Congress to trip up a carefully crafted international pact.

Several influential lawmakers said they do not want to see any sanctions lifted before Tehran begins complying with a deal, and want a tough verification regime in which inspectors could visit Iranian facilities anytime and anywhere.

Jun 18, 2015

Democrats block defense spending bill, amid budget fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats blocked the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, part of a campaign to force Republicans to start budget negotiations by refusing to allow any appropriations measure to advance to a final vote.

The 50-45 vote failed to achieve the 60 majority needed to advance to final passage, as every Democrat except Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana voted not to go ahead with the bill.

Jun 18, 2015

U.S. Senate passes annual defense policy bill, veto threatened

WASHINGTON, June 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate passed an
annual defense policy bill on Thursday that authorizes some $600
billion in defense spending for the 2016 fiscal year and starts
reforms that could help curb costs over the long run.

The vote was 71-25, with the “no’s” coming mostly from
Democrats and the “yes” votes mostly from Republicans, who hold
a majority of seats in the Senate.

Jun 17, 2015
via Tales from the Trail

Candidates vote to curb torture in interrogations

U.S. senators came out overwhelmingly against torture on Tuesday, in a vote that, if largely symbolic for now, marked a strong departure from the era of “enhanced interrogation techniques” under former Republican President George W. Bush.

The Senate voted 78-21 for an amendment to an annual defense policy bill that would codify an executive order Democratic President Barack Obama signed shortly after taking office in 2009. The measure’s main co-sponsors were Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who spearheaded a years-long investigation into the CIA’s use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” and Republican Senator John McCain, a former presidential nominee who was tortured in Vietnam as a prisoner of war.

Jun 16, 2015

U.S. Senate passes ban on torture

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to ban the use of torture, a landmark vote intended to bar any further use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on detainees and put into law an executive order President Barack Obama signed in 2009.

The Senate voted 78-21 for the amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill offered by Republican Senator John McCain and Democrat Dianne Feinstein.

Jun 16, 2015

U.S. government agency thwarts hackers 10 million times per month

WASHINGTON, June 16 (Reuters) – Attacks such as the one that
exposed the personal data of millions of U.S. federal workers
will continue and are likely to increase, said the head of one
agency that thwarts 10 million attempted hacks every month.

Katherine Archuleta, who leads the U.S. Office of Personnel
Management (OPM), came under fierce attack during a
congressional hearing on Tuesday over the data breach revealed
last week.

Jun 16, 2015

U.S. official says hacking problem ‘decades in the making’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The data breach exposing the personal data of millions of federal workers reflects decades of neglect of the U.S. government’s computer systems and could have been much worse, the head of the Office of Personnel Management said on Tuesday.

Katherine Archuleta said two security breaches OPM detected in the spring were discovered and contained because of new security measures the agency has taken in the last year, according to prepared testimony.

Jun 15, 2015
via Tales from the Trail

Bush, Wolfowitz and Iraq redux


Jeb Bush formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during a kickoff rally in Miami, Florida June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

At the same time Jeb Bush was in Miami vowing to “fix” Washington as he launched his White House run, an anti-war Democratic senator in Washington was tying the prospect of another Bush presidency to the prospect of another war in Iraq.

Jun 15, 2015

Key U.S. senator ‘alarmed’ by reports on Iran talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee told President Barack Obama on Monday he was alarmed by reports that negotiators may be making too many concessions in nuclear talks with Iran, a sign of the stiff fight a final deal faces winning approval in Congress.

“It is breathtaking to see how far from your original goals and statements the P5+1 have come during negotiations with Iran,” Republican Bob Corker said in a letter to Obama, a day after Israel also expressed new concerns about the talks.

Jun 11, 2015

House rejects measure to force vote on Islamic State fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives rejected an amendment to a defense bill on Thursday that would have forced lawmakers to vote on a formal authorization for the use of military force against Islamic State.

The House voted 231 to 196 to defeat the amendment sponsored by Representative Adam Schiff. Republicans, who control a majority of seats in the House, largely voted against the amendment and Schiff’s fellow Democrats generally backed it.

    • 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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