May 17, 2013

Obama makes moves on controversies; Republicans unsatisfied

The president names a senior budget official to head the IRS a day after firing its chief, and asks for more money for diplomatic security abroad.

The Associated Press

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President Barack Obama looks to see if it is still raining as a Marine holds an umbrella for him during his joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, not pictured, Thursday, May 16, 2013, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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The State Department is seeking about $1.4 billion for increased security; the money would come primarily from funds that haven't been spent in Iraq. It would include $553 million for 35 more Marine Security Guard units, $130 million for 155 diplomatic security agents and $376 million for security upgrades and construction at new embassies.

Since the attack, Democrats have complained that Republicans cut $300 million from the Obama administration's budget request of $2.6 billion for diplomatic and embassy security in 2012.

Congressional Republicans held new hearings on the Benghazi attacks last week, and a congressional official also released details of emails that GOP lawmakers said suggested an administration effort to downplay the prospect of terrorism in the election year attacks. The White House, which has long disputed allegations of a cover-up, released 100 pages of documents Wednesday in an effort to put an end to protracted controversy.

However, the release of the emails didn't quiet the GOP furor on Capitol Hill, and investigations continued to move ahead. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said that while he applauded the release of "hand-picked emails," the White House should release all the unclassified emails.

"I want all the documents released," he said.

 

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