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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama to give speech on counterterrorism measures this week - President Obama will deliver a speech Thursday at the National Defense University in which he will address how he intends to bring his counterterrorism policies, including the drone program and the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in line with the legal framework he promised after taking office.
A White House official, speaking Saturday on the condition of anonymity to describe the speech in advance, said Obama will “discuss our broad counterterrorism policy, including our military, diplomatic, intelligence and legal efforts.”  The Washington Post has more here.


N. Korea fires short range missiles -  North Korea fired three short-range missiles off its east coast Saturday, following through on months of threats to conduct a missile launch.

The South Korean Defense Ministry reported that it detected two launches in the morning and another in the afternoon. Its initial assessment was that the missiles were short-range surface-to-ship or surface-to-surface missiles capable of traveling up to 72 miles, rather than the new medium-range Musudan missile that analysts fear could threaten U.S. troops in Guam or Okinawa, Japan.

"All missiles launched fell into the sea," a South Korean Defense Ministry official was quoted as telling the country's official Yonhap news service. He also speculated that the launches, directed over water northeast of North Korea, were part of a military exercise.  The LA Times has more here.

Reuters is reporting North Korea fired a short-range missile from its east coast on Sunday, a day after launching three of these missiles, a South Korean news agency said, ignoring calls for restraint from Western powers. has more here.


U.S. reaches debt limit today - Congress agreed to suspend the nation’s $16.4 trillion borrowing limit the last time they approached it, at the beginning of the year. But that suspension expired May 19, and the limit was automatically boosted to cover the borrowing the Treasury incurred during that break that was subject to the limit.

The latest numbers from the Treasury Department indicate that limit will automatically jump about $300 billion to roughly $16.7 trillion.

With the government once again operating under a borrowing cap, the Treasury is back to employing special measures to free up space under the limit.

In a nod to how common debt-limit battles have become in recent years, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Congress Friday he was prepared to deploy the “standard set of extraordinary measures.” has more here.


Funding for Food Stamps next Congressional battle - Legislation making its way through Congress would eliminate billions of dollars in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. Last week, a Senate committee approved striking $4.1 billion from the program over 10 years and a House committee backed cuts five times as large.

Those actions set the stage for a congressional showdown not only over how much to slash the program, but also over the role of government in fighting hunger and poverty.  NBC News has more here.


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