'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
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Members of a House panel angry over sexual abuse problems in the military are set to vote on a bill that would strip commanding officers of their authority to unilaterally change or dismiss court-martial convictions — a change that lawmakers believe will lead to a cultural shift that encourages more victims to step forward.
The White House accused Republicans of a political distraction Wednesday after House committee chairmen asked President Obama to release a State Department cable that they said would prove Hillary Rodham Clinton, as secretary off state, signed off on security cuts at the diplomatic post in Benghazi ahead of the attack Sept. 11.
Democrats pressed ahead Wednesday with Chuck Hagel's nomination to be secretary of defense, scheduling a showdown vote for Friday even as top Republicans signaled that they need more information before confirming him for the Pentagon's top civilian post.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A bitterly divided Senate panel on Tuesday approved President Barack Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the nation's defense secretary in a rancorous session at which Republican questioned the former GOP senator's truthfulness and challenged his patriotism.
Democrats on Monday said they will press ahead with Chuck Hagel's nomination to be the next secretary of defense, daring Republicans to try to derail his nomination over charges that neither he nor the Obama administration have disclosed enough information.
The Obama administration's handling of the deadly September attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, faces another congressional grilling when outgoing Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta testifies Thursday on Capitol Hill.
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel appears to face an even steeper climb to become the next defense secretary after a rocky confirmation hearing Thursday in which his fellow Republicans blasted him for positions on issues and for what they called his willingness to alter positions "for the sake of political expediency."
In the run-up to the Senate Armed Services Committee's hearing Thursday on Chuck Hagel's fitness to become the next secretary of defense, its members have been treated to the spectacle of the nominee spinning like a prima ballerina.
Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who unsuccessfully sought the presidency in 2004 and has pined for the job of top diplomat, vaulted to the head of President Obama's short list of secretary of state candidates after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice suddenly withdrew from consideration to avoid a contentious confirmation fight with emboldened Republicans.
Senators had vowed to use the annual defense debate to clear up lingering questions about indefinite detention of U.S. citizens after last year's go-around — but the bill they cleared this week only added to the confusion.
With congressional opposition softening, U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice could find her name in contention as early as this week to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state. It's a step that may signal greater U.S. willingness to intervene in world crises during President Obama's second term.
Democrat Tim Kaine said Wednesday he hopes to add his voice to the "common-ground caucus" in a U.S. Senate rife with partisan gridlock and that he wants to serve with Sen. Mark R. Warner, who plans to decide by Thanksgiving whether he will run for Virginia governor once again in 2013.
Tuesday's re-election of President Obama triggered immediate speculation about the future of Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who will turn 75 in June. Mr. Panetta, defense secretary since June 2011, has had a long career in government and is said by associates to be ready to return to private life in Northern California, where he frequently visits and owns land.
Senate Democrats rejected a Republican effort to force defense contractors to send out notices of possible job layoffs four days before the election, calling the move politically driven and purely speculative based on looming spending cuts.
President Obama's budget director told Congress Wednesday that automatic spending cuts will slash funding for 16,000 school employees, cut the U.S. Border Patrol and kick 100,000 children out of the Head Start program as the White House sought to up the political pain for lawmakers bickering over how to stave off the cuts.