Aisha Chowdhry

Lawmakers Split on Refugee Vetting Process

Members of the Foreign Relations and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees Sens. Bob Corker, Thomas R. Carper, Benjamin L. Cardin, Ron Johnson, Christopher S. Murphy and Chris Coons speak to CQ Roll Call about the Syrian refugee vetting process. 

State Department Defends Syrian Refugee Program 

State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said Monday the department is taking the concerns local governments have about taking in Syrian refugees “seriously.” He asserted that there is a “stringent security review that goes into accepting these refugees.” ...
Secret Service to Answer Tough Questions at Tuesday Hearing

U.S. Secret Service Director Joesph P. Clancy will testify during a joint committee hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill, which is expected to focus on a recent Office of the Inspector General report, showing that Secret Service employees allegedly violated the Privacy Act and department policy by accessing Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s personal information.

Hoeven: Obama’s Keystone Decision 'Makes No Sense' (Audio)

North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven spoke to CQ Roll Call on Tuesday, criticizing President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Isakson 'Damn Satisfied' with VA Bill (Audio)

Sen. Johnny Isakson speaks to CQ Roll Call about the fiscal 2016 Military Construction-VA appropriations bill which was passed by the Senate on Tuesday, just ahead of Veterans Day.

“With the first appropriations bill we passed in four years, I am damn satisfied.” Isakson said. “This addresses the fixes we have put in for the construction fix for Denver, puts in the fix for choice, it puts in the fix for accountability. I am very pleased that the American people would ...
Lawmakers Pre-Empt Obama on Guantanamo

Senate Armed Services Committee Republicans Kelly Ayotte and John McCain speak about President Brack Obama's continued efforts to shut down the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Ayotte said Obama is in violation of federal law, and McCain told CQ Roll Call that regardless of the language in the NDAA, Obama may still try to close the prison and relocate the facility's prisoners through executive action....
Critics Pounce on TPP Text (Audio)

Senate Finance Chairman Sen. Orrin G. Hatch talks to CQ Roll Call about what issue in the Trans-Pacific Partnership is his biggest concern. New York Senator Sen. Charles E. Schumer noted his concerns on China. 

Lawmakers Call for Policy Changes to Defeat ISIS

A day after a Russian plane was brought down by what officials suspect to be a bomb planted by the Islamic State, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Ed Royce and Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee speak to CQ Roll Call about their concerns regarding the Islamic State. 

Royce, who has held several testimonies on the threats faced by the group, said the current White House strategy needs to change.

Members Weigh in on Ryan's First Week

Republican colleagues in the House and Senate speak to CQ Roll Call about Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s first two days on the new job. Sen. John Thune, who has worked with Ryan in the Congress since 1998, told CQ he looks forward to working with Ryan and his colleagues in the House. Some of the key areas Thune mentioned include the highway bill, tax and regulatory reform, energy policy and national security. 

Casey: Russia, Iran in ‘Clear Violation’ of Intl. Resolutions

A senior Democrat on the Finance Committee and former Foreign Relations Committee member, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has been in conversation with the State Department on countering the finance activities of the Islamic State. 

 Ahead of the Syria talks in Vienna on Friday, Casey voiced his concern that the governments of Iran and Russia “continue to offer a lifeline to a murderous Assad.” He noted they have been in “clear violation” of U.N. Security Council resolutions in the past and therefore, the intentions of charting a diplomatic path on Syria with Iran and Russia should be made clear: Syrian president Bashar al-Assad must go. 

US Airstrikes Not Dictated by Russia

The Russians say they want to assist in the fight against the Islamic State, but “their actions simply don’t support that,” Col. Steve Warren, Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman told reporters via teleconference from Iraq. He said that none of fluctuation in US airstrikes against the Islamic State on the ground has anything to do with the Russians. To date, the US has conducted 7,712 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. Warren called the Russian airstrikes in the r...
US Anticipates Iran Will Participate in Syria Talks

State Department Spokesman John Kirby confirmed on Tuesday that the U.S. “anticipates” Iran to take part in the multilateral talks on Syria scheduled for the end of this week in Vienna, but would not comment on if the U.S. officially invited Iran.

DoD: Russia 'On Wrong Side' of Syrian Civil War

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter commented on the Russian involvement in the fight against the Islamic State terror group, going as far as saying they are on the wrong side of the war.

"You ask, what are the Russians doing? What the Russians are actually doing is buttressing the Assad regime, which is, as I have said, will have the effect of fanning the flames of the civil war.

What You Missed: Hillary Clinton’s 2015 Benghazi Testimony

In the midst the presidential campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the House Select Committee on Benghazi grilled Clinton on the administration’s handling of the 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

McConnell Won’t Guarantee Vote on Ex-Im

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not promise floor time to consider a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank on Tuesday, but suggested the legislation could be attached to a long-term highway bill. 

“For the Ex-Im supporters, of which I am not one, I gave them an opportunity on the highway bill and the supporters got 65 votes,” McConnell said. “So that’s — it’s pretty clear there are a significant number of senators who support it. The way to achieve Ex-Im, if it’s going to be achieved in the Senate, would be in the context of the highway bill."

Carter Denies Combat Role After Iraq Rescue Mission

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter gave more details on the first combat death since the 2011 Iraq withdrawal. Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler was killed during a rescue mission of 70 hostages held by the Islamic State terror group.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and loved ones of Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler, who will be welcomed home tomorrow by his family, by my wife and myself, who died after assisting our close Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga partners in the rescue of 70 hostages held by ISIL.

Clinton to Jordan: Read My Book

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, landed perhaps the first major blow at Thursday’s Benghazi Committee hearing nearly three hours in, charging that Hillary Rodham Clinton misled the American people about the cause of the attack.

Jordan displayed emails and State Department documents on a large video screen, saying she initially publicly pinned blame for the attack on outrage for an anti-Muslim video. But shortly after, Jordan alleged, emails to her family and State Department summaries of her conversations with regional leaders showed she believed the strike was a planned and carried out by a violent Islamic group.

The Lighter Side of the Benghazi Hearing (Video)

While the tone of the House Select Committee on Benghazi's hearing with Hillary Rodham Clinton has largely remained somber or even emotional, there were lighter moments. During a line of questions from House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on whether a YouTube video sparked the 2012 attack at the U.S. embassy in Libya, the former first lady and secretary of State couldn't help but plug her 2014 biography.  

"I wrote a whole chapter about this in my book, 'Hard Choices.' I would be happy to send it to you, congressman," Clinton said.  

Member, Staffer Face Off on Benghazi Committee (Updated)

Updated: 3:07 p.m. | Typically, partisan squabbles regarding the Select Committee on Benghazi are waged between the chairman and ranking member, Republican Trey Gowdy of South Carolina and Democrat Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, respectively.

This round, however, the tête-à-tête is taking place between committee member Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., and Gowdy’s spokesman, Jamal Ware.

McCain to Meet with Afghan Leaders During Holiday Troop Visit

Sen. John McCain will celebrate the Fourth of July in Afghanistan in what is becoming an annual holiday tradition for the Senate Armed Services chairman.