News Wrap: U.S. Urges Egypt to Be Inclusive in Political Transition
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KWAME HOLMAN:A top U.S. diplomat urged Egypt’s interim leaders today to include all parties in a transition to democracy.Deputy Secretary of State William Burns is the first senior American official to visit Cairo since the army ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
Burns met today with the interim president and the head of the military.Afterward, he said the U.S. wants all sides to work together, so Egypt can succeed.
Burns’ arrival in Cairo came as thousands of Islamist supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi demonstrated again.They waved flags and pictures demanding his return to power.
U.S. officials insisted today President Obama remains committed to arming rebels in Syria.They played down a New York Times report that the effort is much more limited than first discussed.The report said the CIA will provide only small arms on a limited basis, and that it could take months for the program to affect the battlefield.
The full U.S. Senate went behind closed doors this evening in a bid to avoid all-out fracture over filibusters and Senate rules.Democratic Leader Harry Reid said Republicans must allow confirmation of seven presidential nominees they have blocked so far.If not, Reid says majority Democrats will change Senate rules, instituting an up-or-down simple majority vote for such appointments.
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin made the Democrats’ case.
SEN. TOM HARKIN, D-Iowa:If we’re doing our constitutional duty, we would confirm all of these nominees today — nominees tomorrow and move on to our legislative work, so why aren’t we doing that?
Well, because my friends on the Republican side are hijacking these nominations and this nomination process to try to make changes to laws they know they could not change through regular order.
KWAME HOLMAN: The move wouldn’t affect current rules that require a supermajority of 60 votes to break filibusters against other Senate action.But Republicans, including Jeff Flake of Arizona, argued even the limited change would do long-term damage to the Senate.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE, R-Ariz.:The rule change that is being considered this week is more far-reaching and more significant than has been advertised.This rule change was described this afternoon by the majority leader as a — quote — “minor change, no big deal.”
It is a big deal.It has the potential to change this institution in ways that are both hazardous and unforeseen.
KWAME HOLMAN: Senators still could reach an agreement on the president’s pending nominees and avoid the rules change.
The U.S. Air Force is putting a number of its combat planes back in the air after grounding them in April.Budget cuts forced a third of active-duty combat planes to be parked, from fighters to bombers to airborne radar planes.The return to flying comes after Congress allowed the Pentagon to shift money from lower priority accounts to training.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 20 points to close at 15,484.The Nasdaq rose seven points to close at 3,607.
Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Judy.