The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 8, 2013

Immigration, student loan top congressional agenda

(Continued)

Questions about the administration's policy toward Syria and plans to arm the rebels in their civil war with President Bashar Assad's forces will dominate the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the re-nomination of Gen. Martin Dempsey for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The hearing is scheduled for July 18.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to hold a hearing on Samantha Power, the president's pick for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and a subcommittee meets July 11 to consider the nomination of Victoria Nuland for assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs.

That posting typically wouldn't draw a great deal of attention, but senators are certain to press Nuland about her work on the widely debunked talking points about the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in the Sept. 11 attack last year.

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at that time, used the talking points five days after the attack, blaming the assault on a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islamic video.

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a confirmation hearing Tuesday on Obama's choice of James Comey to serve as FBI director. If confirmed by the Senate, Comey, a top Bush administration lawyer best known for defiantly refusing to go along with White House demands on warrantless wiretapping nearly a decade ago, would replace Robert Mueller.

The administration's recently disclosed surveillance programs are likely topics for Comey's hearing.

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