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runetic's MyC-SPAN

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    Iran Nuclear Negotiations

    Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Undersecretary of State David Cohen testified on negotiations with Iran over its nuclear arms program. Members focused on the status of the talks, the role Congress should play, and whether new sanctions should be imposed on Iran while the negotiations continue.

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    California Gubernatorial Inauguration and State of the State Address

    California Governor Jerry Brown (D) was inaugurated for his second term, and fourth overall. He also served two terms as governor from 1975-1983. Following this inaugural ceremony, Governor Brown gave his annual state of the state address. He focused on funding California’s university system, increasing water access, and maintaining infrastructure.

    Courtesy of the California Channel.

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    Chemical Facility Security

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials testified on chemical facility security. In 2013, President Obama, in response to the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion of April 2013, issued an executive order directing federal agencies to improve the security and safety of chemical facilities. The witnesses provided specific steps for improving ammonium nitrate safety, getting information to first responders, and updating the Risk Management Plan. Other topics included Congress increasing OSHA fines for non-compliant facilities.

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    Foreign Relations Legislation Markup

    The Senate Foreign Relations Committee met to mark up a bill that would authorize limited military force against ISIS for three years. It also permits the use of ground forces in certain situations such as protecting U.S. citizens from “imminent danger,” for operations against “high value targets,” or to conduct intelligence operations. The legislation was approved by the committee by a 10-8 vote, with most Democrats voting in favor and Republicans against. 

    The panel also considered the nomination of Tony Blinken as deputy secretary of state.

    * 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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    Use of Military Force Against ISIL

    Secretary of State John Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the use of military force against so-called Islamic State* militants. Secretary Kerry said a new congressional authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against the ISIL should not be limited to Iraq and Syria nor should it bind President Obama from ever deploying ground troops against ISIL if needed.

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

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    Nomination Hearing for National Counterterrorism Center Director

    The Senate Select Intelligence Committee considered the nomination of Nicholas Rasmussen to be director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). He said in his opening statement that he thinks about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, everyday on the job, and those thoughts fuel his work. He was asked questions about *ISIS threats abroad and to the homeland, Afghanistan troop reduction and its impact on intelligence gathering, Iran, cybersecurity, general threats to and plots against the homeland, and NCTC staffing.

    * 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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    Senators Feinstein and Chambliss on Cyber-Security Legislation

    Senators Dianne Feinstein (D) and Saxby Chambliss (R), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, were interviewed about cyber-security legislation and the status of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA).

    “Getting ​CISA ​Passed ​This ​Year” was part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Third Annual Cybersecurity Summit.

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    State and Local Immigration Policies

    Panelists talked about what states and local governments were doing to integrate immigrants into their communities. . Speakers included a commissioner with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, a California State Senator and the director of the group called Global Detroit that aims to make the city more welcoming to immigrants, foreign trade, and investment.

    “Session I: Immigration Reform on a State and Local Level: How States and Cities Are Pursuing Immigrant Inclusion and Integration Policies” was part of the 11th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference at Georgetown University Law Center.

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    California 36th Congressional District Debate

    Representative Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and State Representative Brian Nestande (R) met in a debate for the California 36th Congressional District seat at the Gulf California Broadcast Center in Thousand Palms, California. The debate was co-sponsored by the Desert Sun Media Group and the News-Press and Gazette Co.

    Courtesy of KESQ TV.

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    U.S. Strategy Against Terrorists

    Secretary of State John Kerry testified at a Senate Foreign Relation Committee hearing on U.S. strategy for combating the Islamic State* militant group. He had just returned from a trip abroad to build a coalition against ISIL. He said that no country had been asked to put “boots on the ground.” Then in the second panel, former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford testified in support of the administration’s plan to aid and arm the moderate Syrian opposition.

    *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.