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Bipartisan push leads Senate committee to delay vote on Iran bill

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U.S. Senate Democrats and Republicans agreed on Thursday to delay until April 14 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s vote on legislation that would force President Barack Obama to submit any nuclear agreement with Iran for Congress’ approval.

The announcement, which came after an intense lobbying push by Obama and administration officials, gives international negotiators more breathing room as they attempt to meet a late-March deadline for a framework agreement.

Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had said he wanted to have the committee vote next Thursday.

But Democrats balked, reluctant to advance legislation the Obama administration has said could have a “profoundly negative impact” on the nuclear talks with Iran at such a delicate time.

Obama had threatened a veto. The White House said the bill impinged on the president’s authority by forcing him to obtain congressional approval, and could prevent a deal from succeeding by removing Obama’s ability to temporarily waive sanctions.

The timetable for easing crippling economic sanctions is a major issue in the talks between six world powers and Tehran.

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In a joint statement, Corker and Senator Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the foreign relations panel, said they agreed to mark up after Congress returns from its early-April recess, in order to win the strongest possible support for it.

In a markup, a committee debates legislation and considers amendments before voting on whether to recommend it to the full Senate. Lawmakers and aides say there is a good chance that enough Democrats will join Republicans to give the bill the 60 votes it would need to advance in the Senate.

If passed by the Senate, the legislation would likely move quickly in the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold 245 seats, compared to just 188 Democrats.

Republicans are generally more hawkish about Iran, and skeptical about Obama’s negotiations, than the president’s fellow Democrats.

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If Obama carries through on his veto threat, the bill’s backers insist they could marshal the two-thirds of the House and Senate necessary to override the veto. Democratic leaders say it is far too early to tell.

A senior European negotiator said on Thursday that the six world powers were unlikely to reach a framework agreement with Iran in the coming days as the sides are still far apart on key issues.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Richard Chang and Andrew Hay)

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GOP leaders in open warfare with Trump’s White House as another government shutdown looms

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According to a report in the Washington Post, GOP leaders are at an impasse with the White House on future budget concerns as President Donald Trump's chief of staff -- which is leading to fears of another government shutdown.

The report states, "GOP leaders have spent months cajoling President Trump in favor of a bipartisan budget deal that would fund the government and raise the limit on federal borrowing this fall, but their efforts have yet to produce a deal."

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Trump Twitter-snarls at ‘Impeachment Day’ protesters as the product of ‘Radical Left Democrats’

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President Donald Trump lashed out at Impeachment Day protesters on Twitter on Sunday morning, downplaying their efforts after seeing a report on Fox News.

Taking to Twitter the president wrote, "Yesterday was the Radical Left Democrats big Impeachment day. They worked so hard to make it something really big and special but had one problem - almost nobody showed up. “The Media admits low turnout for anti-Trump rallies ...saying enough. Democrat voters want to hear the politicians talking about issues. This is a huge distraction and will only help Donald Trump get elected. 'Greatest President since Ronald Reagan' said a counter-protester. LehighValleyLive."

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Trump’s first term: hits and misses

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"Promises made, promises kept," goes one of President Donald Trump's main 2020 reelection slogans. Is that true?

Here are some of the key policy hits and misses -- comparing his accomplishments to his promises -- from a tumultuous first term.

- HITS -

Economy:

The economy will be Trump's major selling point.

GDP grew 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019 and the last recession was a decade ago. Unemployment is at a 50-year low of 3.6 percent.

Trump's frequent claim that the economy is probably "the best" in US history is an exaggeration, though.

Economists see growing dangers, including exploding government debt and growing backlash from Trump's aggressive trade policies, especially with China.

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