Wednesday's global agenda: Defense spending on House floor, CIA renditions in European court

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Congressional action: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee this afternoon votes on three ambassador nominations, to Nepal, Mongolia and Federated States of Micronesia. The vote comes as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has been raising concerns about democracy and the rule of law in Mongolia.

Also this afternoon, the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control examines the drug trade in West Africa.

The House also has a slew of hearings and markups slated for today: 

• The House Natural Resources Committee takes up legislation calling for more domestic production of so-called “rare earth” minerals in the face of China's near-monopoly on the vital elements for producing electronics and other products. (H.R. 4402)

• The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on trade holds a hearing on promoting tourism in the United States.

• The House Small Business Committee examines U.S. trade strategy and “what's next for small business exporters?”

• The House Financial Services Committee's trade panel looks at U.S. access to China's financial services market in the wake of last week's Federal Reserve decision to allow a Chinese bank to take over branches in the United States.

• The House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia holds a hearing on U.S. interests in South Asia in a time of economic and political change. The State Department's Robert Blake and USAID's Nisha Desai are slated to testify.

• And the Oversight subcommittee examines the latest with Iraq's Ashraf Iranian refugee camp. The hearing comes as the State Department is considering delisting Iran's Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MeK, from its list of terrorist groups, in part to reward the dismantling of Camp Ashraf. 

El Salvador: The Washington Office on Latin America examines the U.S.-El Salvador partnership with Ambassador Francisco Atschul.


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Lawmakers spar over UN funding at China human-rights hearing

Lawmaker forces official to meet with wife of American imprisoned in Vietnam during hearing