Vote on Hagel nomination put on hold
A Senate panel on Wednesday abruptly postponed a vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination to be defense secretary. Republicans are demanding more information from President Barack Obama's nominee about his paid speeches and business dealings with organizations such as the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan public interest group. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, had hoped to vote on Hagel as early as today.
U.S. to cut carrier fleet in gulf to one
The Pentagon is cutting its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf region from two carriers to one, the Defense Department said Wednesday. The move is one of the most significant effects of budget cuts on the U.S. military presence overseas. It comes as Washington struggles to find a way to avoid sharp automatic spending cuts set to hit the Pentagon and domestic programs next month.
Optimism up for trip to Israel
President Barack Obama hopes to reset his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he makes his first trip to Israel as president this spring. Obama won't be carrying any big new Mideast peace plans, officials say. But repairing the relationship with Netanyahu, a key ally, could be a crucial step toward reopening a pathway to peace in the region.
Obama meets with Senate Democrats
President Barack Obama is trying to sell Democrats on his strategy for immigration, gun control and a host of fiscal dilemmas. He met behind closed doors more than two hours Wednesday with Senate Democrats at their annual retreat at a hotel in Annapolis, Md. House Democrats will hear from Obama today at their annual retreat in Leesburg, Va.