Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., shouted at his House colleague, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., at a committee hearing on Wednesday to look into alleged IRS targeting of conservative groups. “Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this,” Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, told Issa,...
The US Senate rejected President Barack Obama's controversial pick for a prominent civil rights post Wednesday amid a backlash over the nominee's connection to a high-profile convicted cop-killer. Seven members of Obama's Democratic Party joined all Republicans in opposition to help torpedo the nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Adegbile is a leading civil rights attorney and was part of the team which helped get Mumia Abu-Jamal's death sentence commuted to life in prison in 2012. Obama swiftly condemned Adegbile's rejection as "a travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant."
Foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia and Western nations agreed on Wednesday to continue discussions in coming days on how to stabilize Ukraine and presented a number of ideas for how to reach that goal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said. "We agreed to continue intense discussions in the coming days with Russia, with Ukraine, in order to see how we can help normalize the situation, stabilize it, and overcome the crisis," Kerry told reporters. "Don't assume that we did not have serious conversations which produced creative and appropriate ideas on how to resolve this, we have a number of ideas on the table," he said after meetings with counterparts from Ukraine, Russia, Britain and France in Paris.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that "intense discussions" with Russia and Ukraine would continue in the coming days in the hope of securing a de-escalation of current tensions between them. "We initiated a process today that we hope will eventually lead to de-escalation," Kerry told reporters after a day of diplomatic negotiations in Paris ended with Russia refusing to bow to Western demands for direct talks with the new Ukraine government. Kerry said he would continue talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Rome on Thursday, where both will be for a meeting on Libya.
By Roberta Rampton NEW BRITAIN, Connecticut (Reuters) - A day after unveiling a budget that stands little chance of passing Congress, President Barack Obama traveled to Connecticut on Wednesday to campaign for another proposal that has been dismissed by Republicans: raising the minimum wage. Obama and his fellow Democrats are fighting to keep control of the Senate in November midterm elections, and are promoting populist measures that poll well, like raising the minimum wage, seeking to set themselves apart from Republicans. "It's common sense, that's all I'm trying to say. ...
Severe winter weather hit US economic activity in January and early February but the outlook in most areas "remained optimistic", the Federal Reserve's Beige Book survey said Wednesday. The regional review, which is used by Fed officials to set monetary policy, said unusually harsh storms had hit manufacturing, retail and auto sales and construction, contributing to sluggish growth data. Growth was just "modest to moderate" across eight of the 12 Fed regions, stable in one and slower in three: New York, Philadelphia and Chicago -- all battered by intense snowstorms during the period. Last week Fed Chair Janet Yellen said it was "quite clear" that the intense storms that have battered much of the country are a factor, but that Fed policymakers were studying the data.
The Dalai Lama will lead the US Senate in prayer on Thursday as the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader rallies support among leaders of Congress, aides said. It will mark the first time that the Dalai Lama -- whose activities overseas are strongly opposed by China -- will deliver the prayer that customarily opens each Senate session. The Nobel Peace Prize winner will later meet leaders of both the Senate and House of Representatives, said Kaydor Aukatsang, a spokesman for the Office of Tibet. A Senate aide confirmed the Dalai Lama's meetings.
The United States said Wednesday its intelligence services and military worked with Israel to track a ship carrying an intercepted shipment of advanced Iranian rockets for Palestinian militants. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Washington started to work with Israel through intelligence and military channels and at the national security advisor level as soon as it knew the shipment was on the move. President Barack Obama also directed the US military to work out contingencies in case it became necessary to intercept the vessel, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One. "Throughout this time our intelligence and military activities were closely coordinated with our Israeli counterparts who ultimately chose to take the lead in interdicting this shipment of illicit arms," Carney said.
US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned Russia on Wednesday that its actions in Ukraine have put its role in the elite Group of Eight club of leading nations at risk. With Russia to host a summit of G8 leaders in Sochi in June, Lew linked its incursion into Ukraine's Crimea and interventions in the country's politics to Moscow's continuing position in the G8. "We are on a path where I think it's clear Russia cannot sit in Sochi at G8 meetings while it's pursuing the policies that it's now pursuing," Lew told a Senate committee. "Russia has to be held accountable for the actions it has taken, and also has to have a path to step back from what is a dangerous escalation," Lew said.
The United States will expand military cooperation with Poland and Baltic states to show "support" for its allies after Russia's intervention in Ukraine, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel said Wednesday. The moves to expand aviation training in Poland and step up the US role in NATO's air patrols over Baltic countries were clearly designed to reassure alliance partners in Central and Eastern Europe who are alarmed over Russia's actions in the Crimean peninsula.
By Phil Stewart and David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military said on Wednesday it will bolster training with Poland's air force and provide more U.S. aircraft to a NATO air policing mission in the Baltics, as it eyes ways to reassure allies without escalating the Ukraine crisis. The United States has showed no interest in pursuing military options following the Russian intervention in Crimea. The biggest step the Pentagon had taken so far was to cut off military exchanges with Russia on Monday. General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate hearing he had directed the U.S. military's European Command to "consult and plan within the construct of the North Atlantic Council" but stressed the intent was to stabilize the situation.