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340 Rabbis Back Iran Deal in Letter to Congress

Iran deal backed by rabbisIn a letter to Congress, 340 U.S. rabbis from the major streams of Judaism expressed support for the Iran nuclear deal.

The letter sent Monday urges the House of Representatives and Senate to endorse the agreement, in which sanctions are lifted in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

Noting that “we are deeply concerned with the impression that the leadership of the American Jewish community is united in opposition to the agreement,” the letter states, “We, along with many other Jewish leaders, fully support this historic nuclear accord.”


Obama signs Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness bill

Boulder wilderness billLess than three days after the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill approving the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains area for wilderness designation, President Barack Obama has signed the bill into law, ending a 40-year effort.

Obama signed the Senate's approval of H.R. 1138, the “Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act,” which designates three new wilderness areas (encompassing about 275,665 acres) in Idaho as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System; releases four wilderness study areas so that the land would be managed for multiple-use activities; and provides for several land conveyances in Idaho.


Senate blocks Planned Parenthood defunding measure

Planned Parenthood defunding blockedRepublican legislation to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood failed to gather enough support in the U.S. Senate on Monday, halting at least for now moves to punish the women's health group for its role in gathering fetal tissue from abortions for medical research.

Senate Democrats succeeded in stopping the bill on a procedural vote. Sixty votes were needed to advance it in the 100-person chamber. It received 53 votes, with 46 senators opposing it.


Top U.N. nuclear inspector to brief senators on Iran deal

UN nuclear inspectorThe head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, whose inspectors’ role in implementing the Iran nuclear deal has become a flashpoint on Capitol Hill, will privately brief members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next week.

Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency agreed to the Aug. 5 session after receiving a letter requesting his presence from all of the lawmakers on the committee, the top two senators on the panel said in a statement Friday.


Philadelphia Rep. Charged With Corruption

Philly Dem indictedThe U.S. Department of Justice has indicted a sitting U.S. Congressman on charges of corruption.

Chaka Fattah, a Democratic congressman from Philadelphia, faces charges related to corruption and racketeering – known as a RICO case. Fattah has served in the House for 21 years.

Prosecutors say one of Fattah's schemes involved siphoning federal money to finance his losing bid for Philadelphia mayor in 2007.


Ex-diplomats urge ratification of Iran deal

Ex-diplomats urge ratificationA group of former diplomats sent a letter to Congress on Monday morning, urging members of both chambers not to reject the Obama administration’s controversial Iran deal.

The letter, signed by former undersecretaries of state and former American ambassadors to Israel, states that the group has determined the deal, “will leave Iran no legitimate avenue to produce a nuclear weapon during the next 10 to 15 years.”


What do highways have to do with Planned Parenthood and Obamacare?

Highway billMitch McConnell is eyeing a major breakthrough on a multiyear highway bill that many in Congress doubted could be done. But his colleagues vying for the presidency see something else: one last chance to steal the spotlight on the Senate floor before the first GOP debate in August.

Clumped together in the single digits in recent national polls, GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina sense an opportunity to get some much-needed traction in the must-pass legislation. And they’re seizing it, with plans to tack on controversial proposals — or potentially hold up the entire bill if they don’t get what they want.


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