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David Grove's MyC-SPAN

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    Virginia Senate Debate

    Virginia Senate candidates incumbent Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Republican challenger Ed Gillespie debated various campaign issues, including same-sex marriage, immigration, the Affordable Care Act, and employer-sponsored contraception. The debate was moderated by Judy Woodruff and took place at The Greenbrier. It was sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association and PBS NewsHour.

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    Private Student Loans

    Witnesses testified on private student loans, including current levels of debt, options borrowers have to modify loans, and the legal framework. One of the panelists told the committee that tuition has risen 1,100 percent since 1980, four times the rate of inflation.

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    Campus Sexual Assault Legislation

    A bipartisan group of senators talked about The Campus Accountability and Safety Act, the bill they were introducing to fight sexual assault on college campuses. They were joined by Annie Clark and Andrea Pino, sexual assault survivors and co-founders of End Rape on Campus.

    Joined in progress.

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    Ambassador Nominations

    John Tefft and Donald Heflin testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about their qualifications to represent the U.S. as ambassadors to Russia and Cape Verde respectively. The committee also heard from the nominees to be ambassadors to Costa Rica, Botswana, Finland, and Brunei, and the deputy U.N. ambassador.

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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.