Tag Archives: Cuba

President Trump Welcomes Argentine President to the White House and is Expected to Sign Additional Orders This Week; Congress Returns to Session and Focuses First on Averting a Federal Government Shutdown, While Holding Hearings on Russia, Syria, Afghanistan and the Asia-Pacific

Congress returns to Washington today after a two week recess. Both chambers must quickly pass legislation to fund the Federal Government through the end of FY 2017, before existing authority expires on 28 April. President Donald Trump signed a number of orders last week related to trade and financial services.   He signed an Executive Order on … Continue Reading

Lawmakers Pledge Regular Reauthorization of Homeland Security Agency; Senate Panel Considers Trump DHS Secretary Nominee; Obama Administration Ends “Wet Foot, Dry Foot” Policy for Eligible Cuban Nationals

Legislative Activity Lawmakers Pledge Regular Reauthorization of Homeland Security Agency On Wednesday, January 11, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by chairmen of eight House committees with jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The MOU serves as an agreement between the eight lawmakers to work together to … Continue Reading

Washington Responds to the News of Fidel Castro’s Death; The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Will Focus on Iran; NDAA Has Yet to Be Addressed by Both Chambers of Congress

Last week, Washington hosted the final U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) under the Obama Administration. On Saturday, President Barack Obama issued a statement on the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro, as did several Members of Congress. This week, the House of Representatives has noted a possible vote on the reconciled … Continue Reading

Lawmakers Debate Security as Commercial Flights to Cuba Take Off; TSA Improves Security Wait Times at U.S. Airports

Legislative Activity Lawmakers Debate Security as Commercial Flights to Cuba Take Off Earlier this year, the House Homeland Security Committee had been considering legislation banning U.S. commercial flights to Cuba until the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) assessed the country’s airport security practices. Commercial air service between the two countries resumed for the first time in … Continue Reading

President Obama Returns Early From an Overseas Trip and Heads to Dallas; Congress Works to Wrap Business Before Summer Recess and Will Hold Hearings on the Human Trafficking Report, Zika, Cyber Concerns, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Turkey, and Pakistan, Among Other Topics; TTIP Negotiators Meet This Week

President Barack Obama travelled to Warsaw, Poland, at the end of last week to attend the NATO Summit and meet with Polish government officials.  In joint remarks to the press after a U.S.-EU meeting on Friday, President Obama emphasizing a close cooperation with the EU, including through the ongoing transatlantic free trade agreement negotiations, while … Continue Reading

Senate NDAA Floor Debate Continues This Week; Congressional Hearings To Examine U.S. Policy Toward Russia, Libya, Egypt

President Barack Obama hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India last week, and the Prime Minister addressed a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.  The United States and China held their annual Strategic & Economic Dialogue last week in Beijing, issuing a joint statement at the conclusion. Congress was in session last week and will … Continue Reading

President Obama Addresses the Chief of Missions Conference; Iran’s Ballistic Missile Tests Continue to be Scrutinized; Ambassador Froman Heads to Brussels

President Barack Obama hosted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House last week for an official Head of State Visit, marking the close bilateral relationship between the two countries.  President Obama will visit the State Department today to deliver remarks at the Chief of Missions Conference.  Meanwhile, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman heads … Continue Reading

U.S. President Announces Upcoming Trips to Cuba, Argentina, Vietnam and Laos; Congress Returns to Washington, Faces a Busy Week of Oversight Hearings, Including Testimony from the Secretaries of State and Defense

Early last week, President Barack Obama hosted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders in California and announced he will travel in May to Vietnam and Laos.  Back in Washington on Wednesday, the President announced another trip in March to Cuba and Argentina.  Congress was in recess last week, in observance of the Presidents’ … Continue Reading

Washington Seeks to Protect the Homeland from the Rapidly Spreading Zika Virus; Ambassador Froman Heads to the TPP Signing Ceremony; Safe Harbor Negotiators Fail to Meet EU Deadline

Historic snowfall levels kept the U.S. Federal Government from officially reopening until Wednesday of last week.  President Barack Obama, however, met the day before with his health and national security teams to discuss the rapid spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne viruses in the Americas and steps being taken to protect U.S. citizens.  The President … Continue Reading

Congress Returns Ready to Scrutinize Any P5+1 Agreement Reached with Iran; Ex-Im Bank Charter Expires, Possible Congressional Action in July; and the NDAA and Customs Bills are Expected to be Conferenced in July

Iran As was expected, the P5+1 countries agreed last week to extend their voluntary deadline for finalizing a comprehensive deal with Iran over its nuclear program by one week to 7 July. At a White House press briefing, President Obama acknowledged that hard negotiations remain, but it will ultimately be up to the Iranians to … Continue Reading

House Passed TPA Last Week, To Vote Again on TAA This Week; The Senate Resumes its NDAA Floor Debate; Defense Secretary Carter to Testify Before a House Committee; Fighting Flares Up Again in Eastern Ukraine

Recap of Last Week’s House Action on Trade Legislation Last Friday, President Barack Obama made a last-minute trip to Capitol Hill in the morning to encourage support among Democrats for the bill containing Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), acknowledging to the press that the vote situation remained fluid. That afternoon, the … Continue Reading

President Obama Attends the G-7 Summit; House to Consider COOL Legislation and Possibly TPA; While the Senate Resumes its FY 2016 NDAA Floor Debate

G-7 Summit President Barack Obama arrived in Germany on Sunday to attend the G-7 Summit. The leaders are expected to review the current situation in Ukraine; discuss continued support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity; and underscore their support for a diplomatic solution based on full implementation of the Minsk agreements. Many expect the G-7 … Continue Reading

Congress Scrutinizes Iran, as the Deadline for a Final Deal Approaches; Ceasefire Violations in Ukraine Continue; Congress to Hold Hearings on ISIL; The House is Expected to Turn to Trade Measures At Some Point in June

Vice President Mourns Death of Son Late on Saturday, 30 May, the White House informed the public that Vice President Joseph Biden’s son, Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III , passed away after a two-year battle with brain cancer. He was 46 years old. Iran Despite media reports last week that yet another delay may be … Continue Reading

Senate to Begin Floor Debate of Its TPA Measure This Week; Congressional Committees to Focus on Nepal, Cuba, Extremism in the Middle East, and U.S. Trade Promotion Agencies

Trade Promotion Authority On Tuesday, 12 May, the Senate failed, on a largely party line vote, to pass a motion to proceed to H.R. 1314, which includes Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). After the failed vote, negotiations between Republicans and Democrats continued in earnest to chart a way forward for the TPA-TAA … Continue Reading

Congress Focuses on TPA and Iran; TPP and TTIP Negotiators Meet This Week; President Obama Meets with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) On Thursday, 16 April, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) released a draft Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill – The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (“TPA-2015”). The bill includes objectives on currency manipulation, settlement of investor-state disputes, intellectual property protections, … Continue Reading

Congress Returns to Washington, Focuses on Iran, Russia, Yemen and Possibly TPA; President Obama to Host Iraqi and Italian Prime Ministers This Week in Washington

Iran With the Obama Administration facing months of international negotiations with Tehran for a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear program, it also worked this week to ensure congressional actions do not compromise the diplomatic effort. Bipartisan lawmakers still believe Congress should have an up-or-down vote on any final accord reached with Iran. The Senate Foreign … Continue Reading

Secretary of State John Kerry to Testify Before Congress; U.S. Considering New Sanctions Related to the Ongoing Situation in Ukraine; A New Trade Promotion Authority Bill is Imminent

State Department’s FY 2016 Budget Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to testify this week before Congress on the Department’s FY 2016 Budget request and U.S. interests abroad.  The hearings will be held: On Tuesday, 24 February before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; On Wednesday, 25 February before the House Foreign Affairs Committee; and On … Continue Reading

Secretary Kerry Heads to Ukraine; President Obama Releases His FY 2016 Budget Request; Congress Focuses on Cuba

Russia/Ukraine Crisis Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Kyiv, Ukraine, on 5 February to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, and members of Ukraine’s parliament. Media reports indicate the Obama Administration may be reconsidering its position on providing Ukraine with lethal assistance, which is likely to be a topic … Continue Reading

President Obama Travels to India; Congress Scrutinizes the Negotiations with Iran; the Situation in Ukraine Deteriorates; and TPP Negotiators Meet for an Informal Round

Presidential Trip Over the weekend, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama departed Washington for India, where the President will be the chief guest in the country’s Republic Day parade. In advance of the trip, U.S. and Indian negotiators met in London to reach an accord over a 2010 Indian nuclear liability law that prohibits … Continue Reading

U.S. Sanctions North Korea; 114th Congress Expected to Focus on North Korea, Ukraine, Cuba, ISIL, and Trade Matters

North Korea On 2 January, President Barack Obama ordered new sanctions on three (3) entities and 10 individuals connected with the North Korean government. This action is in response to a December cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. In announcing the new U.S. sanctions, White House Press Secretary Joshua Earnest said, “We take seriously North Korea’s … Continue Reading
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