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Congress tackles aid to Egypt, Palestinians, Syrian rebels

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of Dec. 1.
An anti-Assad protester carries the Syrian freedom flag in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington September 9,  2013.  White House efforts to convince the U.S. Congress to back military action against Syria are not only failing, they seem to be stiffening the opposition. That was the assessment on Sunday, not of an opponent but of an early and ardent Republican supporter of Obama's plan for attacking Syria, the influential Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, Mike Rogers. Congress will

Congressional leaders return from Thanksgiving recess on Dec. 1 determined to pass a long-term spending bill — effective through the end of September 2015 — by Dec. 11, despite pressure from some Republicans to punt until the new GOP-controlled Senate takes over in January.

Key points of contention include aid to Egypt and the Palestinians, with the House and Senate appropriations panels passing distinct spending bills over the summer that must now be reconciled. Lawmakers are also debating the wisdom of renewing — and funding — President Barack Obama's request to train and equip Syrian rebels in the wake of lingering questions about that strategy's wisdom.

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