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Senators Follow House CODEL to Mideast

Following on the heels of a bipartisan House delegation, several Senators are preparing to visit the Persian Gulf region next week.

The group, headed by Appropriations Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and including ranking member Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), is scheduled to visit Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq over a five-day period, according to Diane Perry, a Defense Department spokeswoman. The delegation is set to depart May 8.

“The general idea is to take a look at the landscape, in the broadest sense of the term, for the costs of rebuilding Iraq,” said Inouye spokesman Mike Yuen.

Like the six-member House delegation, Senators and their staffs were guarding details of the trip, citing concerns about safety. A list of Members scheduled to attend was not available from the Pentagon, which has arranged both trips.

The House delegation, which left Thursday and is scheduled to return Tuesday, has a similar itinerary to the Senate group.

A larger delegation will visit the Persian Gulf region sometime this summer, Perry said.

Following the close of the first Persian Gulf War in late February 2001, CODELs began traveling to the region in mid-March of that year. About 30 House Members and 17 Senators joined trips to Kuwait to see the war’s aftermath.

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