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    American Israel Public Affairs Committee Day 2, Senator Bob Menendez Remarks

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ) spoke about the U.S.-Israel relationship and said that he was not intimidated by anyone, including Israeli’s political enemies or his political friends, when he feels they are wrong. He outlined the requirements of a good nuclear deal with Iran and was critical of the Obama administration approach and of actions by Iran. He also addressed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and urged Palestine to end its pact with the Hamas terrorist group. 

    This was part of the afternoon plenary session of the second day of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference, held at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

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    U.S. Strategy Against Islamic State Terrorists

    Retired General John Allen, the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIL, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the U.S. strategy and coalition efforts to defeat the militant Islamic group. He told the committee that recruitment of Syrian fighters against ISIL was higher than originally expected. Topics included the terms of President Obama’s formal request for a three-year authorization for military force (AUMF).

    *The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a militant group that has called itself the Islamic State.

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    State Department Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request

    Secretary of State John Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his department’s fiscal year 2016 budget. Topics discussed included the aid being given to help Ukraine against Russia, talks with Iran over its nuclear program, and the terms of the authorization for use of military force (AUMF).

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    Monetary Policy Report

    Chair Janet Yellen testified about the Federal Reserve Board’s semiannual report on monetary policy and the U.S. economic outlook for the year. She said that despite continued improvement in the economy, the bank would continue an accommodative monetary policy without raising interest rates.

    At the beginning of the hearing committee members voted unanimously to report favorably on legislation that would award a Congressional Gold Medal to foot soldiers who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or in the final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in March 1965,

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    Congressional Black Caucus News Conference

    Members of the Congressional Black Caucus spoke with reporters following a meeting with President Obama.

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    Tax Code Reform

    Former Senators Bob Packwood (R-OR) and Bill Bradley (D-NJ) testified at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on tax code reform and lessons learned from the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

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    Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Testimony on Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

    Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testified at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on President Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget request. He discussed many of the proposals in the $4 trillion plan, along with other related topics including tax code simplification, pending trade agreements, currency manipulation by foreign countries, and corporate repatriation tax breaks.

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    Proposed Net Neutrality Rule

    Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Al Franken (D-MN), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke to reporters about the Federal Communications Commission’s expected proposal to regulate internet access as a utility.

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    Health and Human Services Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Proposal

    Secretary Sylvia Burwell testified at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Department of Health and Human Services' proposed fiscal year 2016 budget, which included funding for federally subsidized health care plans. Secretary Burwell spoke about the spending proposal as well as the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. President Obama’s fiscal year 2016 budget request called for $84 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, an increase of $4.8 billion.

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    IRS Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen testified on the IRS' fiscal year 2016 budget request. He also spoke about tax scams and staffing shortages at the IRS President Obama’s 2016 budget request called for $12.9 billion for the IRS in fiscal year 2016, an 18 percent increase.