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David Grove's MyC-SPAN

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    Iraq Violence and Politics

    State and Defense Department officials, a former CIA analyst, and a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq testified about the dominance of the militant group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in ongoing violence and terrorism in Iraq. Brett McGurk told the committee that the situation in Iraq was extremely serious, and that ISIS was no longer just a terrorist organization but a full-blown army. 

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    Marine Corps Nomination Hearing

    The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the nomination of General Joseph F. Dunford as U.S. Marine Corps commandant. Among his statements General Dunford told committee members that U.S. military leaders did not recommend the White House announce a zero troop presence in Afghanistan in 2017 but would have preferred more ambiguous troop numbers. Other topics included the counterterrorism capabilities in the region, the recent Afghan elections, and future strategies of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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    Unaccompanied Immigrant Children

    Witnesses testified on the influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border from Central America. State and Justice Department official spoke about the economic hardships and violence driving children out of their countries. Several Republicans on the committee blamed President Obama’s policies for the problem, including his 2012 move to halt the deportation of some young illegal immigrants. Democrats and the panelists cited the lack of a cohesive immigration policy, and the violence and economic hardships in Central American countries.

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    Chronic Illness

    The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the problems faced by patients living with chronic disease illness, and some of the shortcomings in the health care system. Among the witnesses were a heart disease patient, and a woman whose husband suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. A doctor from Emory Healthcare in Atlanta provided the medical industry perspective of what has worked, and improvements needed, such as better coordination between doctors.

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    Monetary Policy and the Economy

    Janet Yellen presented to the committee the Federal Reserve Board’s semiannual report on monetary policy. She said the economy had improved but that the recovery was still not complete, and highly accommodative monetary policy was still needed. On asset purchases, Chair Yellen expected additional reductions following future meetings, with purchases likely ending following the October 2014 meeting. Regarding interest rates, she stated that increasing was dependent on economic conditions, and that if the labor market recovered more quickly, increases could happen sooner and more rapidly.

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    Military Nominations

    The Senate Armed Services Committee held a nomination hearing for Army Lieutenant General Joseph Votel to be promoted to general and head the U.S. Special Operations Command, Army General John Campbell to command the NATO International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and Admiral William Gortney to head the U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Topics discussed included the recent presidential election in Afghanistan, training and readiness of Aghan troops, and U.S. troop levels there, the situation in Iraq and Syria, missile defense, U.S.-Mexico border security, armed forces' mental health, and the emerging Arctic theater.

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    Developments in Russia and Ukraine

    Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland was among a panel of witnesses testifying on U.S. efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The assistant secretary told the committee the U.S. was ready to impose more sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

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    Book Discussion on I Heard My Country Calling

    Former Senator James Webb (D-VA) talked about his book, I Heard My Country Calling: A Memoir, in which he recounts his early life as the son of a career military officer, and how it shaped his political career. A Naval Academy graduate, Senator Webb was a Marine lieutenant in Vietnam, where he received numerous awards for his service. He spoke at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

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    Senate Hearing on Housing Nominations

    The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Development Committee heard testimony from Housing and Urban Development secretary nominee Julian Castro, and Federal Housing Finance Agency inspector general nominee Laura Wertheimer.

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    Ambassador Nominations Hearing

    Nominees testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about their qualifications to represent the U.S. as ambassadors to Qatar, Iraq, Egypt, and Honduras. Gentry O. Smith also testified on his qualifications to be director of the Office of Foreign Missions. Ambassador to Qatar Nominee Dana Shell Smith said she was “cautiously optimistic” of Qatar’s ability to watch over the five detainees released in exchange for U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.