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Congress considers pick for U.S. ambassador to Iraq

- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 5, 2012

WASHINGTON — Democratic and Republican senators are moving ahead on President Barack Obama's choice for U.S. ambassador to Iraq even though a top GOP lawmaker has "grave concerns" about the nomination of Brett McGurk.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing Wednesday. Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, a member of the panel, said Tuesday that McGurk has considerable experience in Iraq and it was critical that the United States have an ambassador in Baghdad.

But Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, criticized McGurk over his failure to negotiate for a U.S. residual force in Iraq after combat troops left at the end of 2011. McCain said he would await the hearing before deciding on a possible hold on the nomination.

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