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GOP senators seek to block proposal on Iran dollar rules

GOP senators try to block Iran access to fundsTwo Republican senators opposed to the Iran nuclear deal are trying to block an Obama administration proposal that would ease rules on using U.S. dollars in trade transactions with Iran.

Marco Rubio of Florida and Mark Kirk of Illinois plan to introduce legislation on Wednesday that would bar the Treasury from permitting foreign banks to conduct foreign currency trades in U.S. dollars for transactions involving Iran. A copy of the bill was obtained by The Associated Press.

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Leahy asked State Dept. to investigate Israeli human rights 'violations'

Leahy asked State Dept to investigate Israel and Egypt abusesSen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and 10 House members have asked the Obama administration to investigate claims that the Israeli and Egyptian security forces have committed “gross violations of human rights” — allegations that infuriated Israel's leader, but, if proven true, could affect U.S. military aid to the countries.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry dated Feb. 17, the lawmakers list several examples of suspected human rights abuses, including reports of extrajudicial killings by Israeli and Egyptian military forces, as well as forced disappearances in Egypt. The letter also points to the 2013 massacre in Egypt's Rab’aa Square, which left nearly 1,000 people dead as the military cracked down on protesters, as worthy of examination.

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Senate confirms John King as Education Secretary

New Sec. of Education John KingActing Education Secretary John B. King Jr. was confirmed for the job late Monday in a 49-40 Senate vote.

"The reason we are voting today is because we need an education secretary who is confirmed, who is accountable to Congress," Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said prior to the roll call.

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Meet the 24-year-old who could change how the US handles sexual assaults

Amanda NguyenIn what they hope will become a bipartisan bright spot, Democrats in the Senate on Tuesday introduced a sweeping new bill to guarantee and standardize certain rights for people who have experienced sexual assault.

The bill is the latest attempt to fix a system for prosecuting sex crimes that many public figures agree is broken. But where many bills focus on expanding resources for law enforcement, this is the first national proposal to focus so directly on improving legal protections for those who are sexually assaulted.

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GOP Senators: No hearing, no vote for Obama Court pick

McConnellRepublicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee say there will be no hearing for President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Tuesday after a closed-door meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that there would be "no hearing, no vote."

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GOP Senators: No hearing, no vote for Obama Court pick

McConnellRepublicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee say there will be no hearing for President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Tuesday after a closed-door meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that there would be "no hearing, no vote."

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The Senate Awaits Its Doomed Supreme Court Nominee

Doomed Senate nominee for SCOTUSWithin the next few weeks, President Obama will call up one of the nation’s top legal minds and initiate one of the trickier conversations of his presidency. He will offer him or her the honor of a lifetime—an appointment to the Supreme Court—and then he’ll share a caveat they already know: It’s a nomination that’s probably doomed from the start.

Congratulations?

That is one of the many awkward complications of the constitutional confrontation that has erupted in record time following the unexpected death on Saturday of Justice Antonin Scalia. Over the weekend, Senate Republicans up for reelection in 2016 largely fell in line behind Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s declaration that it should be “the next president” who appoints Scalia’s replacement on the high court. Their support dampens Democratic hopes that electoral pressure from Republicans in swing states would force McConnell to give Obama’s nominee a fair hearing and a floor vote in the several months.

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