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Congress: Kerry, McCain team up on Libya

“Senators John F. Kerry and John McCain, seeking to defuse a contentious debate over funding for US military operations in Libya, proposed a resolution yesterday offering congressional support for President Obama’s policy in the North African country,” the Boston Globe reports. “The senators, both high-profile members of the chamber and former nominees for the presidency, sought to project a united front in support of the NATO-led action to protect Libyan civilians from Moammar Khadafy’s forces and curtail the dictator’s ability to wage war.”

“The Senate unanimously approved the nomination of Leon Panetta to be the next Pentagon chief yesterday, handing him a crowded agenda of overseeing the drawdown of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, tamping down congressional unrest over the Libyan conflict, and cutting the budget,” the AP reports.

“A bill to fund the Economic Development Administration (EDA), a measure Democrats characterized as a ‘jobs bill,’ was stopped from advancing in the Senate Tuesday in a 49-51 vote,” The Hill writes. “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was unable to find a path forward through nearly 100 mostly nongermane amendments offered by Republicans and Democrats.” More: “Democratic leadership has grown increasingly frustrated in recent weeks as Republican senators have gummed up the Senate’s processes by taking advantage of a deal forged early in the year that allows unlimited amendments to any legislation on the floor.”

“Top lawmakers pushed back Tuesday against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s suggestion that a short-term increase in the debt ceiling could be needed to buy time for reaching an agreement on entitlement reforms,” The Hill reports. Eric Cantor: “I’m not so sure that if we can’t make the tough decisions now, why we would be making those tough decisions later.”

Speaking of McConnell, he pens a Washington Post op-ed, arguing that all terrorists should be tried at Gitmo. “The Justice Department says Alwan and Hammadi should be tried in a civilian setting because they were caught here. This is ludicrous. The fact that bureaucrats mistakenly allowed two foreign fighters into the United States does not entitle them to all the rights and privileges of U.S. citizens.”

“K Street lobbyists are scrambling to defend industry tax breaks and spending programs from ending up as fodder to reduce the deficit in the debt limit talks led by Vice President Joseph Biden,” Roll Call writes.