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David Grove's MyC-SPAN

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    U.S. Policy in Iraq and Syria

    Witnesses testified at a hearing on U.S. policy in Iraq and Syria following the loss of the Iraqi city of Ramadi, which was captured by ISIS* on May 17, 2015. The witnesses argued that the Obama administration’s policies were not working and that ISIS was expanding.

    * 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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    U.S.-Cuba Relations

    State Department officials Roberta Jacobson and Thomas Shannon testified at a hearing on U.S.-Cuba relations. Topics included policy objectives, human rights, Cuban economic reforms, and what demands the U.S. expected to make of Cuba to return to normal foreign relations. Assistant Secretary Jacobson said having an Ambassador and full diplomatic relations would allow for a bilateral relationship, and help take care of an increasing number of American travelers expected to visit Cuba.

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    Trade Legislation Markup

    The Senate Finance Committee marked up legislation relating to pending trade-related measures. Those measures included trade promotion authority that would give the president broad fast-track authority when negotiating trade agreements and require Congress to consider treaties without an amendment process. Other bills included extending the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA) that provides federal job training to workers adversely affected by foreign trade, extending trade preferences to sub-Saharan African nations and other developing countries, and reauthorizing and overseeing trade enforcement activities including those of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.

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    Trade Policy

    Thomas Donohue and Richard Trumka testified at a hearing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bill, and pending trade agreements. The TPP would give the president authority to negotiate a trade deal that Congress can approve or disapprove but not amend or filibuster.

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    State Department Efficiency

    State Department Inspector General Steve Linick testified on ways to improve the department’s efficiency and effectiveness, and the inspector general’s role in overseeing State Department operations. He said that there was increased pressure on his office following the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, which left four people dead, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

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    Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Conference Committee

    Conference Committee members held their first formal meeting on the House- and Senate-passed fiscal year 2016 budget resolutions. This meeting included opening statements by House and Budget committee leaders and appointed conferees.

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    U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

    U.S. Pacific Command Admiral Samuel Locklear and General Curtis Scaparrotti, the commander of U.S. forces in Korea, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about their fiscal year 2016 budget and current and future defense programs. The witnesses warned of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities and the potential for a ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S.

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    Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act Markup Hearing

    The Senate Foreign Relations Committee met to mark up S. 615, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. The bill requires that Congress review and approve any agreements relating to Iran’s nuclear program. The committee voted unanimously for the bill,

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    Iowa Democratic Party Dinner Speeches

    Former Senator James Webb (D-VA) and former Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) delivered the keynote speeches at the Polk County Democrats' 4th annual spring awards dinner held at the Local 450 United Automobile Workers Hall in Des Moines. They both focused on preserving the American Dream though the economy, higher wages, and higher education. Former Senator Webb also focused on criminal justice and social reform while former Governor O’Malley spoke more about economic reform and the struggles of the poor and the middle-class.

    Included in program 325292-101.

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    Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Authorization Request

    The leaders of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Africa Command, and special operations forces testified on their proposed fiscal year 2016 spending for their respective units. They also addressed their efforts to combat terrorists, including ISIS* and Boko Haram. 

    * 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.