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By Tammy Bruce
Topic - Foreign Relations Committee
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's about-face — from hawkish war veteran senator to Pentagon budget cutter and liberal comrade — came full circle this week as he announced plans to make a shrinking armed forces even smaller.
Sen. John McCain sang the praises of Vice President Joseph R. Biden, touting his many positives at a ceremony to recognize the White House's contribution to foreign aid.
Caroline Kennedy appeared to be well on her way Thursday to become the first woman to serve as U.S. ambassador to Japan, after members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee showered her with praise and said she is well-suited for the job.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's barely subtle message to America — that we are hardly exceptional — as relayed in an op-ed on The New York Times' website has sparked some serious fire, including a reaction from a senator who said the piece nearly made him vomit.
Even as Capitol Hill waited to see how the Russian chemical weapons offer played out, lawmakers on both sides of the question of Syria strikes claimed credit for helping force the Assad regime's hand.
Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat who voted against a military strike on Syria in last week's Foreign Relations Committee hearing, said he doesn't believe the United States has exhausted political alternatives.
Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday he will insist on a binding vote on the Syria resolution, meaning that President Obama cannot initiate war if Congress votes no.
Key senators struck a deal Tuesday night on a resolution granting President Obama the authority to conduct military strikes in Syria as long as they happen within 90 days and are limited to enforcing the administration's "red line" prohibiting chemical weapons use.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Tuesday that members of Congress who refused to authorize retaliatory strikes against Syria would be responsible when the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad gasses its citizens or when North Korea or Iran attempts to use nuclear weapons.
The Obama administration responded sharply to Russia's announcement Tuesday that it will proceed with the delivery of sophisticated weapons to embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad despite the administration's attempts to get Moscow's help toward peacefully resolving Syria's civil war.
Democrats rallied behind President Barack Obama in the long-running, bitter dispute over the administration's handling of the Benghazi attack, arguing that the White House's latest email disclosure undermines Republican claims of a cover-up.
Sen. John McCain on Sunday said a special congressional committee is needed to investigate last year's deadly attacks on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, and called on former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to testify again on Capitol Hill regarding her role in the matter.
Sen. Robert Menendez brought forth a bill Monday to give munitions to rebel fighters in Syria. So far, the United States has only provided non-lethal aid to the opposition fighters, in the form of medical supplies and food.
Sen. John F. Kerry breezed through the hearing Thursday on his nomination as the Obama administration's new secretary of state, facing few tough questions and vowing to mind the image the U.S. projects in a post-9/11 world.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee faces a busy week ahead, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton slated to testify Wednesday about the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.