11 Stories

Iraq Lawmakers Overcome Rifts, Pass Key Laws

Long deadlock had threatened to dissolve young parliament

(Newser) - A day after the speaker of Iraq’s parliament threatened to disband the legislature, lawmakers passed three key but divisive laws after months of infighting, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The measures—passage of a federal budget, limited amnesty for prisoners, and curbs on the powers of local governments—allowed... More »

Fed Slashes Benchmark Rate

Larger-than-anticipated drop drives stocks up, dollar down

(Newser) - The Federal Reserve aggressively cut its benchmark rate today, dropping the federal funds rate a half-point to 4.75%. The larger-than-expected cut was “intended to help forestall” the ballooning credit crisis, the central bank said in a statement. The cut in the key interest rate, the first in 4... More »

Iraq Making Slow Gains on Goals, Says White House

Government met only half of its benchmarks

(Newser) - Iraq has made "satisfactory" progress on only half of its 18 benchmarks for success, the White House told Congress today, hours after President Bush said the country’s advancements merited a strong US military presence there. Since the July progress report, only one benchmark—reintegrating Baathists into the government—... More »

Dems Seize on Ugly Iraq Report

GAO says 11 of 18 benchmarks unmet; majority prepares to push Bush

(Newser) - Harry Reid and the majority Democrats burst out of the vacation gates today with a damning Iraq scorecard, beating the policy-change drum a day after President Bush cited improvement while visiting Iraq, and ahead of Gen. David Petraeus’ supposedly positive surge report. The GAO report concluded Iraq had failed to... More »

Iraqis 'Fail to Meet Benchmarks'

Congressional auditors say most key goals unfulfilled

(Newser) - The Iraqi government has failed to meet most of the key political and military goals—the so called benchmarks—designed to measure the success of the US troop surge, congressional auditors say. An investigation by the Government Accountability Office has concluded that 13 of the 18 benchmarks remain unmet as... More »

Fear Rules Iraq, Briefers Tell Congress

Benchmarks not likely to be met, say Crocker, Petraeus

(Newser) - Iraq is gripped by widespread fear and is unlikely to fulfill political and security goals by the pivotal September assessment, US officials told lawmakers yesterday in a briefing from Baghdad. "One word I would use to sum up the atmosphere in Iraq is 'fear,' " said ambassador Ryan... More »

Bush Satisfied With Iraq Progress

Acknowledging 'war fatigue,' president warns against hasty withdrawal

(Newser) - President Bush used today's interim report on the Iraq war to renew his call for Congress to withhold judgment on the troop surge until a September update, saying the military will "be in a better position to adjust" in 2 months. The report notes positive movement in eight out... More »

White House Iraq Report: Mixed Progress

Cites gains on military benchmarks, lack of progress on political goals

(Newser) - The White House's interim report on its progress in Iraq, to be released today, will cite "satisfactory" work on eight of 18  benchmarks set by Congress, insufficient improvement on eight more, and mixed results on the final two. Most of the positive movement  has been on the military front,... More »

Gates Sambas Out of Latin American Tour

Stays home to bolster Iraq war support after GOP desertions

(Newser) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled a tour of Latin America just hours before he was set to depart in an effort to help shore up faltering support for the Iraq War, Bloomberg reports. Gates will stay home to prepare for the administration's July 15 update to Congress on the progress... More »

Bush Caves On Iraq Benchmarks

Democrats renew insistence on stick to accompany carrot

(Newser) - In an abrupt about-face, President Bush said today he will negotiate with Congress about including benchmarks for the Iraqi government in war-spending legislation. With discontent mounting on both sides of the aisle, he emerged from a Pentagon briefing on Iraq and Afghanistan and said, "It makes sense to have... More »

Democrats Move on to Benchmarks

Even some Republicans like them. But how would they be enforced?

(Newser) - Congressional Dems have dropped their demands for a timeline to bring home troops, after the House failed yesterday to override a Bush veto on their Iraq spending bill. Now the buzzword is benchmarks, and even some Republicans are signaling that they could get on board. But what, if any, muscle... More »

11 Stories