- - Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Bill targets foreign aid to Pakistan

House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a foreign-aid bill that would restrict President Obama’s authority on providing U.S. taxpayer dollars to Pakistan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority while cutting money for international organizations.

The legislation would provide $47.2 billion in the next budget year, including $7.6 billion for the Global War on Terror fund. That money pays for security forces and police in Iraq and backs up civilian programs for counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan. The overall bill is $8.6 billion less than current spending.

Reviving a divisive policy, the bill would ban federal money from going to international family-planning groups that either offer abortions or provide abortion information, counseling or referrals.

The policy has bounced in and out of law for the past quarter century since Republican President Ronald Reagan first adopted it 1984. Democrat Bill Clinton ended the ban in 1993, but Republican George W. Bush re-instituted it in 2001 as one of his first acts in office. Within days of his inauguration, Mr. Obama reversed the policy yet again.


More Somali-Americans joined jihadists, King says

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says that more than 40 Americans have been recruited by terrorists linked to al Qaeda in Somalia and have gone there to fight, about twice the number counterterrorism officials had previously stated.

The government has said at least 21 Somali-Americans are thought to have traveled to overwhelmingly Muslim Somalia to join the terrorist group al-Shabab in what began as a push to expel Ethiopian troops.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the double suicide bomb attack in Uganda’s capital last year, and members have aligned themselves with other anti-Western jihad groups.

New York Republican Rep. Peter T. King’s findings are based on his committee’s investigation into the threat. Mr. King plans to address the problem Wednesday during his third congressional hearing on Muslim radicalization.


GOP-linked groups ad targets 5 Senate Democrats

Crossroads GPS, a conservative group connected to Republican strategist Karl Rove, is releasing a new ad campaign that targets five Democratic senators up for re-election in 2012 on taxes and spending, potent issues as President Obama and Congress attempt to address the federal debt.

The group said it would spend $1.6 million to run ads through Aug. 6 that focus on Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. The Democrats are all considered top targets by national Republicans and could determine whether Democrats maintain control of the Senate in 2013.

The ad campaign announced Tuesday features constituents urging the lawmakers to cut spending and not raise taxes. “No more blank checks,” the constituents say in the ads, which promote a website by the same name, www.nomoreblankchecks.com.

Mr. Obama and Congress face an Aug. 2 deadline to avoid a potential government default.

Crossroads and its affiliated organization, American Crossroads, spent $38.6 million in 2010 and were considered pivotal in helping Republicans capture control of the House and reduce the Democrats’ margin in the Senate. The group has said it will spend $20 million this summer on a series of ads critical of Mr. Obama and Democrats in the House and Senate.


Huntsman building big team, changing tone

CONCORD — Jon Huntsman Jr.’s campaign says he’ll be more aggressive in his quest for the White House, but the Republican presidential hopeful offered only subtle jabs at his opponents Tuesday.

Speaking at Dartmouth College’s lecture series, the former ambassador to China said President Obama is a good guy, but has failed the country. He used words like “immoral” and “un-American” to describe the direction of the country.

Mr. Huntsman aimed a veiled criticism at Mitt Romney, the early front-runner in New Hampshire’s Republican primary contest. He didn’t use the former Massachusetts governor’s name, but said some candidates are running away from their record.

Mr. Huntsman, a moderate on some issues, is not competing in the Iowa caucuses. Instead he’s launching a huge paid New Hampshire operation to take on Mr. Romney.


Biggest traders required to report trade activity

Large traders will be required to register with the government and make available more information about their trades under a rule adopted by federal regulators.

The Securities and Exchange Commission agreed unanimously on the rule, which would take effect in 60 days. The rule is a response to the May 2010 “flash crash,” when the Dow plunged more than 600 points in five minutes. Regulators say tracking large trades will make it easier to understand unusual activity in the market.

The rule applies to investors who trade more than 2 million shares or $20 million a day. It also applies to investors who trade 20 million shares or $200 million a month.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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