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House lawmakers are giving an earful to the chief of the Transportation Security Administration, just in time for the summer travel season.

At a hearing Thursday, lawmakers complained about some carry-on items barred from planes and one even wondered about letting passengers carry weapons onboard to fight any terrorists. But the TSA official said that was a nonstarter.

Alabama Republican Rep. Mike Rogers and others complained to TSA Administrator John S. Pistole that the agency still prohibits passengers from carrying water bottles, razors or pocket knives this long after the 9/11 attacks.

Mr. Pistole said he recognizes passenger frustrations and that the agency is working on changes to make things easier, including letting children younger than 12 and adults 75 or older keep their shoes on during security checks.


Panel passes bill on Russian human rights

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has voted to penalize Russian human rights violators in a measure that could complicate efforts to normalize U.S. trade relations with Moscow.

The legislation, approved by voice vote, imposes visa bans and freezes the assets of those held responsible for gross human rights violations in Russia. Specifically, it targets those allegedly involved in the imprisonment, torture and death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian jail in 2009.

The bill also requires those officials implicated in human rights violations to be publicly named and sanctioned.

Russian officials have condemned the legislation and indicated they will retaliate if Congress passes the Magnitsky bill. Supporters of a companion Senate bill say it could be linked to an administration-supported effort to normalize trade relations with Moscow.


Obama ad targets Congress, demands action on jobs

President Obama’s re-election campaign is turning its focus to Congress, blaming lawmakers in a new television ad for not acting on his jobs proposals. The approach comes in the aftermath of lackluster employment reports and expands the campaign’s ad focus beyond targeting Republican rival Mitt Romney.

The ad does not mention congressional Republicans, but its target is unmistakable. Republicans have proposed their own measures aimed at creating jobs and have blocked several Obama proposals to promote the hiring of teachers and police officers and to increase infrastructure projects. Mr. Obama has proposed paying for those measures with tax increases on wealthier taxpayers, an idea Republicans reject.

The ad is airing in the key presidential election states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

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