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Monday, January 21, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

President Barack Obama (C) and first lady Michelle Obamaarrive at St. John's Church for a service prior to inauguration ceremonies in Washington, January 21, 2013. REUTERS-Joe Skipper

Obama Begins Second Inauguration Ceremonies - Yesterday, President Obama was officially sworn in at the White House by chief justice  John Roberts in a brief ceremony.

Obama used a speech to hundreds of supporters at the National Building Museum Sunday night to remind the crowd that "what we're doing is celebrating each other and celebrating this incredible nation that we call home."

Obama said the inauguration is a reminder that "there is something bigger than ourselves." He kept his comments brief and quipped that he has to save some of his lines for his speech Monday.

The President left the White House in a motorcade to the U.S. Capitol at about 10:45 AM ET en route to give his inauguration speech scheduled for 11:45 AM ET.


Will Republicans Continue To Obstruct? - Ted Cruz, the newly elected Tea Party senator from Texas, embodies the rigidity the public grew to loathe in Congress’s last term. He is bursting with fervor to fight compromise and consensus-building in Washington wherever it is found. Unlike 85 percent of the Republicans in the Senate, he would have voted against the fiscal cliff deal.

Considering the damage that this kind of thinking did to the country and the Republican Party over the last two years — a downgraded credit rating, legislative standoffs, popular anger, a loss of Republican seats — it might seem obvious that the party should marginalize lawmakers like Mr. Cruz. Instead, they continue to gain power and support. You can read the entire NY Times editorial here.


House Republicans Propose Extending Debt Limit To May 19 - House Republicans on Monday unveiled legislation that will suspend the debt-ceiling until May 19, setting the stage for a floor vote as soon as Wednesday.

While past measures to address the debt limit have simply increased the borrowing cap, the House bill would actually suspend the debt limit for three months. Then, on May 19, the debt limit would be automatically increased from $16.4 trillion to accommodate whatever additional borrowing the Treasury had done during that time frame.

The House Rules Committee posted the text of legislation as Washington prepared for President Obama’s second inauguration. In addition to preventing default, the bill would withhold members' pay if Congress fails to pass a budget by April 15. has more here.


Biden Says Environment Will be Focus in Second Term - Vice President Joe Biden reassured environmentalists Sunday night that the Obama administration would not let climate change fall by the wayside in the president's second term.
"I'll tell you what my green dream is: that we finally face up to climate change," Biden said during a surprise appearance at the "Green Ball," an inaugural weekend event for environmental groups.

The vice president stressed that the environment would not be a second-tier issue and thanked the environmental community for its support for the president.
"I came to say thank you," Biden said to thunderous applaus. has more here.


36 Hostages Killed in Algeria - Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said Monday that 36 foreign hostages and one Algerian were killed at a natural gas complex that was attacked by an armed Islamist group last week and retaken by Algerian forces in a bloody battle Saturday.

The death toll included two more Americans, bringing to three the number of Americans confirmed killed in the international hostage crisis, the Associated Press reported, citing a U.S. official. It said seven American hostages survived.  The Washington Post has more here.


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