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Monday, Aug 03rd

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Senate votes overwhelmingly to pass Iran nuclear bill

Mitch McMcConnellThe US Senate on Thursday advanced legislation that would allow Congress to review a nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, clearing a major hurdle after weeks of Republican infighting threatened the bill’s passage.

Senators overwhelmingly voted 98-1 in favor of the bill, with only Tom Cotton against its passage. Under the compromise, Congress would have 30 days to both review any nuclear accord with Iran and pass a resolution of disapproval. In the event that lawmakers passed such a resolution, Barack Obama would be unable to lift some of the congressional sanctions on Tehran.

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Prosecutor in Eric Garner chokehold case elected to Congress

Prosecutor in NY police chokehold electedA U.S. House seat in deeply Democratic New York City will remain under Republican control.

Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan — who empaneled the grand jury that declined to indict a white police officer who placed Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, in a fatal chokehold — on Tuesday captured a vacant congressional seat that spans Staten Island and a small part of Brooklyn.

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Senate passes GOP budget plan targeting 'Obamacare'

Senate budget bill passedThe U.S. Senate on Tuesday narrowly passed a Republican budget plan that prescribes deep domestic spending cuts to eliminate deficits by 2024 and aids the party's goal of trying to dismantle President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.

The first combined House-Senate budget in six years passed 51-48 with all Senate Democrats voting against it.

Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, both presidential contenders, were the only Republicans who voted against the blueprint. GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, also seeking the White House, voted in its favor, as did Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a potential presidential candidate. All Democrats voted in opposition.

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Pentagon accused of withholding data on sex assaults at US bases

GillibrandThe number of sex-related crimes occurring in U.S. military communities is far greater than the Defense Department has publicly reported, a U.S. senator said Monday in a scathing critique that asserts the Pentagon has refused to provide her information about sexual assaults at several major bases.

The spouses of service members and civilian women who live or work near military facilities are especially vulnerable to being sexually assaulted, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said in a report. Yet they "remain in the shadows" because neither is counted in surveys conducted by the Defense Department to determine the prevalence of sexual assaults within the ranks, the report said.

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U.S. senators agree on path to fast-track trade bill

ast track okayedU.S. senators said on Thursday they could present a bipartisan bill to move trade deals quickly through Congress as soon as later in the day after reaching agreement on aid for workers hurt by trade.

The move set the stage for a tough fight with critics.

Republican Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said the legislation, key to closing a 12-nation Pacific trade pact and the Obama administration's pivot to Asia, could be unveiled in the afternoon and ready for full Senate consideration next week.

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U.S. Senator Menendez Indicted by U.S. in Corruption Case

Menendez indictedU.S. Senator Robert Menendez was indicted after a corruption investigation into whether he took gifts from a campaign donor, imperiling the political career of one of the most influential Democratic and Latino voices on foreign policy.

Menendez was charged in connection with gifts from Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor and longtime friend who sought his help in a dispute with federal agencies. Menendez is the 12th U.S. senator in history to be charged while serving in office, and the prospect of a lengthy case could put pressure on him to resign. Melgen was also indicted today.

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Petition to prosecute 47 GOP senators over open Iran letter reaches goal

Letter to IranA petition asking to prosecute the 47 U.S. Republican senators, who sent a heavily criticized open letter to Iran's leadership, has reached the goal to require a White House response.

The petition was published on March 9 and reached more than 200,000 signatures in three days, well above the requirement of 100,000, which requires the White House to respond.

The petition cited the 1799 Logan Act, which can carry an imprisonment sentence for up to three years.

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