WASHINGTON (CNN) - The senator at the center of the legislative tug of war over a vote on the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" said Tuesday the strategy on how it could be considered is "up in the air," according to a spokeswoman.
In what could be a be a major victory for opponents of a repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, told reporters on Capitol Hill it is possible the vote on repeal could be considered separately from the defense authorization bill. Levin supports repealing the law, which bans openly gay troops from serving.
Washington (CNN) - Four U.S. senators are calling on President Barack Obama to fire the man watching over tens of billions of dollars allocated for reconstruction of Afghanistan.
The one Democrat and three Republicans say in a letter to the president that they want Arnold Fields dismissed as special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, or SIGAR.
(CNN) - A senior State Department official said Wednesday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not go to Moscow for President Obama's meetings with Russian officials.
A senior White House official said the reason Secretary Clinton is skipping the trip is because the intensive physical therapy sessions that she's been undergoing due to her broken elbow would have been too difficult to replicate during a grueling trip overseas. The White House official said it was unclear who will stand in for Clinton, though typically in a situation like this the Deputy Secretary of State would travel in her place. The Secretary's number two at State is James Steinberg, a former deputy national security adviser in the Clinton administration.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/20/art.clinton0519.gi.jpg caption="Hillary Clinton told lawmakers that new U.S. aid to Pakistan won't fund nuclear development."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday tried to reassure senators that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is secure and that U.S. aid money won't be diverted to produce even more nuclear weapons.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, raised the issue of Pakistan increasing its nuclear weapons stockpile as he chaired a hearing of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.
"Are we just giving them money, which is after all fungible, and is going into not fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda, which are groups that are destabilizing that country more and more all the time, but rather is that money just going into the nuclear program?" Leahy asked.
"I think that there is no basis for believing that any of the money that we are providing will be diverted into the nuclear program," Clinton replied.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The State Department has revised a report that erroneously pegged the salaries of some foreigners working abroad at U.S. embassies and other places at less than $1 per day.
It's not $1 a day, it's $4 a day, the inspector general's office said Friday, two days after the report was released.
"We were given that information erroneously," inspector general spokesman Tom Burgess told CNN. "We know it is between three dollars and four dollars a day."
Apparently a currency conversion error was to blame, he said.
Other details of the report remain in place, including claims that some lower grade foreign nationals who work for the department earn so little that they must cut back to one meal a day and send their children out to peddle on the streets.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/25/art.kerry1.gi.jpg caption="John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, praised Chris Hill Wednesday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Career diplomat Chris Hill, President Obama's choice to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, faced opposition Wednesday from powerful Republican senators who could delay or destroy his chances Hill was in otherwise friendly territory for his confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Committee chairman, Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, spoke glowingly of Hill and his "long and distinguished "32-year diplomatic career. And Kerry made clear that he thought Hill deserved quick Senate approval.
"I understand that some of my colleagues may be considering holding up a vote on Ambassador Hill's nomination until after the upcoming recess," Kerry said. "Of course, senators have every right to vote against Ambassador Hill.
But I believe that using senate procedures to delay his arrival to Baghdad at a critical time in this war would do a serious disservice to our efforts there."
The ranking Republican on the committee, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, also called for speedy approval and said approving Hill was critical to support the U.S. military in Iraq.
"And we are at war," Lugar said. "This is not a parliamentary struggle among senators who have diverse points of view," Lugar said.
Lugar's support is seen as crucial to Hill's chances to move to Baghdad. But Lugar did ask a question on behalf of one of Hill's strongest critics, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, who has accused Hill of failing to promote human rights in his dealings with North Korea.
Hill was U.S. point-man in the difficult negotiations with North Korea about dismantling its nuclear program. Hill said he had pledged to introduce separate human rights discussions but that North Korea's failure to divulge full details of its nuclear weapons program had made that impossible.