Iran

Energy Panel Advances Bills to Support New Nuclear Plants
Bills will help maintain nuclear in the domestic electricity mix, lawmakers say

Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, who chairs the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, says the bills will help establish a coherent and defined federal nuclear policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A quartet of bills meant to ease the path to commercialization of new nuclear reactors moved out of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Thursday.

The bills are intended to speed up Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing for so-called advanced reactors, including smaller units, and to spur a domestic fuel supply. Lawmakers have proposed the bills as a way to help nuclear retain its place in a domestic electricity mix increasingly powered by natural gas and cheap renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

Wall Street Regulator Coddles Big Banks but Clobbers Small Firms
Lenient treatment from the SEC leaves misconduct unchecked

Protesters call for higher taxes on big banks in 2012. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images file photo)

JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest financial services firm, has paid $28 billion to settle cases brought by federal agencies in the past 10 years, most of them related to the 2008 financial crisis.

Yet the massive fines extracted from banks like JPMorgan for their role in the Wall Street meltdown have done little to deter other types of misconduct in the decade since, and one reason is lenient treatment from the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to our analysis of SEC enforcement records with a Georgetown University law professor.

How the Hill Reacted to the Trump-Kim Summit
Reaction ranges from a ‘huge deal’ to a ‘bi-lateral con job’

President Donald Trump answers a final question while departing a news conference following his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday in Singapore. Trump described his meeting with Kim as “better than anyone could have expected.” (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump made history Tuesday in Singapore as the first American president to meet face-to-face with a leader of North Korea since the Kim dynasty sprouted on the peninsula roughly seven decades ago.

At the heart of negotiations was the “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula in exchange for “security guarantees” for the North’s mercurial leader, Kim Jong Un.

Vague Pact Signed, Trump Sees ‘Arduous’ Process Ahead With North Korea
Trump shifts view of Kim, calling him ‘worthy negotiator’ and ‘very talented’

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un talk during their signing ceremony during their meeting in Singapore on Tuesday. (Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a nuclear agreement Tuesday that is as sweeping as it is vague, with the U.S. commander in chief saying it merely kicks off an “arduous” process to potentially disarm the North.

Trump bemoaned the notion that he and U.S. officials gave up a raft of concessions to Kim even before the two leaders shook hands around 9 a.m. local time in Singapore. But he announced that part of the accord includes the United States ending its joint military exercises with South Korea, which Trump called too “provocative.”

Senators Could Use Defense Bill to Push Back on Russia
Bipartisan group files amendments seeking to counter Kremlin election interference

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is among the senators preparing amendments to the defense authorization bill that seek to push back on Russian election interference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators could find themselves debating election security this week, including how to counter potential efforts by Russia to mess with this year’s midterms.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want to use the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill as a venue for amendments related to both protection and response.

White House Would Seek Congressional Approval Of N. Korea Deal
Trump has been preparing for ‘months and months,’ Pompeo says

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has “personally” assured him he intends to give up his nuclear weapons. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Trump administration officials intend to ask Congress to approve any nuclear deal President Donald Trump might strike with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says has vowed to give up his nuclear arsenal.

Pompeo told reporters at the White House Thursday the administration would submit a “document” to Congress for their review and possible approval. The idea is to give Kim confidence that a possible nuclear accord would be honored when the next U.S. administration takes over in 2021 or 2025.

Senators Push Defense Amendment to Restore ZTE Sanctions
Proposal would effectively block ZTE from American technology — again

Sen. Tom Cotton is leading a bipartisan effort to restore penalties on ZTE. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan contingent of senators wants to use the defense authorization to restore penalties against Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE that were eased Thursday morning.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas joined Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Charles E. Schumer of New York in filing the legislation as an amendment to the defense programs bill. Senators are expected to begin amendment debate on the broader legislation early next week.

Trump on Kim Summit: I Don’t Have to ‘Prepare That Much’
President is willing to normalize relations with North Korea

President Donald Trump, here at a White House celebration on Tuesday, says he does not need to prepare very much for his planned upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:27 p.m.President Donald Trump on Thursday said he has not been cramming for his nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and signaled he might cancel it again. He also expressed a willingness to normalize relations with the North.

“We would like to see normalization, yes,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Obama Administration Sidestepped Sanctions to Give Iran Access to Dollars, Report Finds
Senate Republicans reveal Obama Treasury Department issued a license for Iran to use dollars

President Barack Obama conducts a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House November 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Obama administration sidestepped economic sanctions to allow Iran to more easily access some of its foreign assets in accordance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, a new report from Senate Republicans published on Wednesday found.

In February 2016, Obama’s Treasury Department issued a license to Bank Muscat in Oman that would have allowed Iran to convert $5.7 billion in Omani rials into euros by first converting them into U.S. dollars.

5 Obstacles to a House Republican Immigration Deal
Dreamer question, rules for debate, Democrats, the Senate and Trump all stand in the way

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., says moderate Republicans want the House to pass a bipartisan immigration bill that will have a chance of passing in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans are trying to do in a matter of weeks what they couldn’t accomplish during their nearly eight years in the majority — pass a sweeping immigration bill.

The GOP is facing a self-imposed deadline to move legislation the third week of June that, among other things, would protect so-called Dreamers from deportation. The legal status of those young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children is in limbo, along with the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.