cuba

Will Obama Issue Executive Action on Cap-and-Trade?

Inhofe. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Obama administration is refusing to make his final year in office as uneventful as Republicans would like. In fact, lawmakers expect executive action on everything from terrorist detention to campaign finance to environmental issues.  

One possibility is an executive action setting up a carbon cap-and-trade system, says Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James M. Inhofe, R-Okla. President Barack Obama "has legacy things and he doesn’t have as much time as he would like to have,” Inhofe said in an interview. “Cap-and-trade and closing Gitmo, those are the things he wants to do.”  

Republicans Warn White House on Gitmo Closure

Roberts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Opponents of moving Guantánamo detainees to the U.S. mainland are firing a new round of warning shots ahead of an Obama administration plan regarding closing the facility.  

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., told reporters Thursday he could hold up as many nominations as needed to try to thwart implementation of any executive actions on transferring individuals held at the prison facility at the naval base to the United States.  

Pope and President Talk Climate, Immigration on South Lawn

First lady Michelle Obama, Pope Francis, and President Barack Obama waves from the balcony overlooking the South Lawn of the White House. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The history making arrival ceremony for Pope Francis at the White House lived up to its billing, with the pontiff challenging America to live up to its founding ideals and President Barack Obama touting many areas of agreement — from protecting the planet and welcoming immigrants to opening up Cuba .  

On a perfect, sunny, breezy day, Pope Francis arrived in his little black Fiat , greeted by the president and first lady Michelle Obama, flanked by an honor guard, the Cabinet, numerous members of Congress from both parties — and cheers from the 11,000 gathered on the South Lawn. After a brief walk on the red carpet to the podium, and the national anthems of the Holy See and the United States, the speeches began, with no shortage of political issues mentioned.  

Foreign Relations Leaders Still Question Human Trafficking Report

Corker, left, and Cardin met Thursday with State Department officials and the full Foreign Relations Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The State Department still has some explaining to do after a closed briefing Thursday with Senate Foreign Relations Committee members over allegations that a report vital to several administration initiatives was watered down for political purposes.  

Committee members have cried politics since July when the annual Trafficking in Persons report was released. After Thursday's briefing, senators called for more transparency in the process that saw Malaysia and Cuba upgraded from the lowest ranking in terms of human-trafficking conditions. “My concerns were not alleviated in any way,” Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said. “I don’t think there is anybody who was there that didn’t feel even more firmly that politics played a major role in determining some of the upgrades in the TIP report.”  

The Return to Cuba: Leahy's Camera Captures History

These three former Marines lowered the American flag at the embassy in Cuba in 1961. (Courtesy Patrick J. Leahy)

When Sen. Patrick J. Leahy attends a major event, he always brings along his camera.  

And that means the Democrat from Vermont who is currently the longest-serving member of the Senate often has the best vantage point of anyone shooting photos. On Friday, the longtime supporter of improving U.S. relations with Cuba was in Havana as Secretary of State John Kerry led the ceremonial raising of the American flag over the U.S. embassy there.  

Rubio to Pledge to Invite Dissidents to His Inauguration

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio will announce that political dissidents would be guests of honor at the inauguration in January 2017 should he be elected president.  

The Florida Republican plans to make that statement in a speech Friday morning in New York City.  

Rubio: Kerry Giving 'Lip Service' to Human Rights in Cuba

Rubio is again criticizing administration efforts to normalize relations with Cuba. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday blasted Secretary of State John Kerry after reports Cuban dissidents will not be a part of Friday's ceremonial re-opening of the U.S. embassy in Havana.  

"It doesn't surprise me one bit, and I wrote him a letter two days ago asking him to meet with them. But this is par for the course with these guys. It doesn’t surprise me at all. They have basically ignored the whole human rights issue. They gave it lip service. They say oh, we remain concerned. Meanwhile, this weekend, dozens of protesters were rounded up and beaten, peaceful protesters, women among them," Rubio said. "We have the photos to prove it. Cuba is not going to change until the Cuban government changes."  

Menendez, Rubio Critical of 'Political' Human Trafficking Report

Menendez and Rubio are critical of a new human trafficking report. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two senators say politics are at play in the State Department's announcement that the human trafficking situations in Malaysia and Cuba are improving.  

On Monday, the State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report , bumping both nations from Tier 3 to Tier 2 Watch List, allowing Malaysia to stay in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.  

White House on Cuba: Ambassador? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Ambassador

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's statement on Fox News Sunday that it's unlikely the Senate will confirm any nominee as ambassador to Cuba doesn't sit well at the White House. "I think that that's the kind of reflexive opposition to you know, anything that the president proposes, that is a hallmark — has been a hallmark of at least this Republican Congress," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday about the Kentucky Republican's remark. "The irony here is there actually is some bipartisan support for the Cuba policy that the president announced at the end of last year."