The Cable

Congress Set to Approve VA Overhaul Before Recess

The Veterans Affairs' scandal prompted something rarely seen in Washington -- bipartisan cooperation and concrete action.

On Wednesday, the House overwhelmingly approved a $16.3 billion plan to overhaul the massive federal department, which has been dogged by allegations of mismanagement and neglect, including allowing veterans waiting for medical care to die. The bill passed by a vote of 420 to 5. The Senate is expected to follow suit before adjourning for the August recess.

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West Sanctions Moscow, With Caveats

The United States and the European Union unveiled new sets of economic sanctions against Russia and threatened to ratchet them up even further if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin continues to support separatists in Ukraine. Behind the tough talk, however, is a careful set of measures with so many loopholes that they are unlikely to hobble the Russian economy.

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Syrian Defector Will Show Grisly Photos to Congress

The Syrian defector known as "Caesar," who smuggled out thousands of graphic photographs documenting President Bashar al-Assad's brutal crackdown on his own people, will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, Foreign Policy has learned. The briefing will be televised and open to the press, but due to security concerns related to Caesar's safety, the Syrian defector's face will be covered.

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