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U.S. Politics

Around-the-clock political news and analysis from Reuters. Follow @ReutersPolitics for more.

  • Senate panel to grill Obama's nominee for U.S. health secretary>

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell takes center stage on Thursday for the first of two Senate hearings that will determine whether the loyal White House insider will become the next public face of the controversial law known as Obamacare.

    The path to confirmation as U.S. health secretary is expected to be a smooth one for Burwell, a 48-year-old technocrat who was nominated on April 11 by President Barack Obama to replace outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Last year, Burwell sailed through the Senate on a 96-0 vote to become Obama's budget director.

    Burwell's new confirmation round begins when she takes the hot seat before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The Senate Finance Committee, which will decide whether to send her nomination to the floor, is expected to hold a hearing at a later date.

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U.S. diplomatic strategy on South China Sea appears to founder

WASHINGTON In the lead-up to an international court ruling on China's claims in the South China Sea this month, United States officials talked about rallying a coalition to impose "terrible" costs to Beijing's international reputation if flouted the court's decision.