Congressional news

Update (December 21, 2012 - 2:15 pm):
In a press conference on December 21, 2012, President Obama nominated Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. 

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has announced that he will remain chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and will not take over the Senate Appropriations Committee chairmanship, as previously suspected after the death of chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), CQ.com reports. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is likely to take over the Appropriations Committee chairmanship.

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Once his term expires in early January, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) will head to the German Marshall Fund (GMF), a non-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening transatlantic cooperation, CQ.com reports. Sen. Lugar will serve the organization as a senior trans-Atlantic fellow.

According to GMF President Craig Kennedy:

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Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, died Monday at the age of 88 after suffering respiratory problems that kept him in the hospital since December 6, Roll Call reports. Inouye was the second longest serving Senator in U.S. history, as well as Senate president pro tem, which by law is a position third in line for the presidency. His 50 plus years in Congress began when he arrived in Washington as Hawaii’s first congressman after it won statehood in 1959. In 1962, he won election to the Senate and represented Hawaii continuously until his death.

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After Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name last week from consideration for Secretary of State [the Alliance reported], President Obama is expected to soon name Senator John Kerry (D-MA) as Secretary Hillary Clinton’s successor, sources including the New York Times, CQ.com, and The Atlantic report. Rumors are further intensifying that President Obama will nominate former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel (R) for Secretary of Defense, The Atlantic reports. Hagel currently serves on President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board.

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Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced yesterday the Global Partnerships Act of 2012, “a top-to-bottom approach to overhauling the existing [international] aid structure.” This legislation would replace the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, “the outdated system that the United States has relied on to disburse foreign aid for the past 50 years,” reports CQ.com.

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Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), currently the Ranking Member of the House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, has been selected as Ranking Democrat of the full House Appropriations Committee in the 113th Congress, according to Politico.

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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has withdrawn her name from President Obama’s shortlist for the cabinet post of Secretary of State, making Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) a likely frontrunner for the post, according to CQ.com and the Washington Post.

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If Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) chair Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is appointed to a cabinet post in the Obama administration, the Senate could become “a far more raucous and combative place” with regard to foreign policy, CQ.com reports. Kerry has been shortlisted for the positions of both Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense.

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Senate Democrats are blocking a debate on Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R-TX) STEM visa bill, passed by the House last week [the Alliance reported], which would abolish the diversity visa program and instead allocate 55,000 visas to international graduates with degrees in the STEM fields from U.S.

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