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  • Officials: Baucus to be named ambassador to China

    DAVID ESPO DONNA CASSATA AP|Updated Dec 18, 2013
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    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama intends to nominate Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., as ambassador to China, Democratic officials said Wednesday, turning to a lawmaker well-versed in trade issues to fill one of the nation's most important diplomatic posts. If confirmed by the Senate, Baucus would replace Ambassador Gary Locke, who announced last month he was stepping down. There was no immediate comment from the White House on the disclosure, which was made by officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were... Full story

  • Senate confirms Hagel for defense secretary

    DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — The Senate has voted to confirm Chuck Hagel to be the nation's next defense secretary. The vote Tuesday was 58-41, with four Republicans joining Democrats in backing President Barack Obama's nominee. The vote ended a contentious fight over the president's choice for his second-term national security team. Republicans opposed the former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska, casting him as out of the mainstream and overly critical of Israel. But Democrats stood together for Hagel, a twice-wounded Vietnam c...

  • Officials: Democratic Sen. Baucus to retire

    DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic officials say Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, plans to retire. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. speaks on Capitol Hill on April 17. According to Democratic officials: The six-term Democratic Sen. Max Baucus plans to retire. The 72-year-old Democrat has served six terms. He helped steer President Barack Obama's ambitious health care overhaul into law in 2010 but more recently broke w... Full story

  • Baucus: 'I don't want to die with my boots on'

    DONNA CASSATA, MATT GOURAS,Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, the powerful Senate Finance chairman who steered President Barack Obama's health care overhaul into law but broke with his party on gun control, said Tuesday he will not run for re-election. "I don't want to die here with my boots on. There is life beyond Congress," the 71-year-old Baucus said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., enters the Speaker's office for a meeting about tax cuts on Capitol Hill in W...

  • GOP senators more troubled after Rice meeting

    BRADLEY KLAPPER, DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — Three Republican senators who met Tuesday with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice say they are more troubled now over her initial explanations about the deadly Sept. 11 raid in Libya. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, center, arrives for a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who could find her name in contention as early as this week to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state. Rice met behind closed doors Tuesday with Sens...

  • Amid tears, Giffords bids her farewell to Congress

    DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — The applause rolled through the big chamber, growing ever louder as hundreds of Republicans and Democrats suddenly realized Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was back in the House. But this time she had come to say goodbye. Fellow lawmakers gave her a fitting send-off: cheers, hugs, a cascade of tributes and plenty of tears in a rare moment of political unity. AP Photo/House Television This video image provided by House Television shows Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. on the floor of the House on Capitol Hill in Washingto... Full story

  • Amid tears, Giffords bids her farewell to Congress

    DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — The applause rolled through the big chamber, growing ever louder as hundreds of Republicans and Democrats suddenly realized Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was back in the House. But this time she had come to say goodbye. Fellow lawmakers gave her a fitting send-off: cheers, hugs, a cascade of tributes and plenty of tears in a rare moment of political unity. AP Photo/House Television This video image provided by House Television shows Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. on the floor of the House on Capitol Hill in Washingto... Full story

  • GOP lawmaker says 75-plus Dems are communists

    DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — Republican Rep. Allen West said he believes 75-plus House Democrats are members of the Communist Party, a claim that echoed Joe McCarthy's unsubstantiated 1950s charges that communists had infiltrated the top ranks of the U.S. government. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., talks about the standoff between Democrats and Republicans over the debt crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 30. West said he believes 75-plus House Democrats are members of the Communist Party, a claim that e...

  • Senate ratifies nuke pact, delivering win to Obama

    DESMOND BUTLER DONNA CASSATA - Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday ratified an arms control treaty with Russia that reins in the nuclear weapons that could plunge the world into doomsday, giving President Barack Obama a major foreign policy win in the closing hours of the postelection Congress. Thirteen Republicans broke with their top two leaders and joined 56 Democrats and two independent in providing the necessary two-thirds vote to approve the treaty. The vote was 71-26. The accord, which still must be approved by Russia, would restart onsite w...

  • Obama secures GOP votes for US-Russia nuclear pact

    DONNA CASSATA Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — The Senate cleared a major hurdle Tuesday to approval of a new arms control treaty with Russia, pushing the accord to the brink of ratification and edging closer to delivering a foreign policy victory to President Barack Obama. The Senate voted 67-28 to cut off debate on the treaty that would cap nuclear warheads for both countries and resume on-site weapons inspections that expired a year ago. Senate Democrats secured the support of 11 Republicans as Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary R... Full story