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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Senator Dianne Feinstein Introduces Assault Weapons Ban - the new Assault Weapon Ban bill would replace the previous law which expired in 2004.

Feinstein introduced the bill in the Senate today and it comes just weeks following the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.


Americans Support Obama's Proposals To Address Gun Violence - 60%, in a poll conducted by Gallup, support reinstating and strengthening the assault weapon ban that was in place from 1994-2004. 

Given the chance to vote "for" or "against" each of nine key proposals included in President Barack Obama's plan to reduce gun violence, Americans back all nine. Americans are most likely to be in favor of requiring background checks for all gun sales (91%), increasing funding for mental health programs aimed at youth (82%), increasing funding for programs to train law enforcement and schools in responding to active armed attacks (79%), and increasing criminal penalties for people who buy guns for others -- so-called straw purchasers (75%). has more here.


Obama Backs Decision On Women in Combat - White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama has believed for some time that women should be allowed to fight on the front lines and he supports the decision by military commanders to allow them in combat units.
"The president fully supports this effort to expand opportunities for women to serve in our armed forces," Carney said. "As you know women are already serving in critical roles throughout our military. The president believes strongly that we should remove these unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.

"Despite the existence of these barriers, heretofore, as you know, women have fought and bled and died in Iraq and Afghanistan in uniform, and the president believes this is a very appropriate policy change."

The policy change is expected to be announced by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey Thursday afternoon. Carney said Obama discussed his position on the issue in meetings with Panetta but the decision was made by Panetta and military commanders. has more here.


Kerry Confirmation Hearings Begin - Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) began his confirmation hearing for Secretary of State with a lengthy opening statement.

At his confirmation hearing for secretary of state, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) said that for U.S. foreign policy to be credible and effective, America's fiscal house must be in order.

"I'm particularly aware that, in many ways, the greatest challenge to America's foreign policy will be in your hands, not mine," Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday. "Because while it's often said that we can't be strong at home if we're not strong in the world, in these days of fiscal crisis, and as a recovering member of the Supercommittee, I am especially cognizant of the fact we can't be strong in the world unless we're strong at home."

Kerry added: "And the first priority of business which will affect my credibility as a diplomat, and our credibility as a nation, as we work to help other countries create order, the first priority will be that America at last puts its own fiscal house in order."


Obama To Nominate Mary Jo White as SEC Chair - President Obama on Thursday will nominate former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White as chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and renominate Richard Cordray for a full term as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a White House official.

White, currently a top lawyer at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, previously served as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which investigates many of the country’s most significant financial crimes.

Obama is also nominating Corday, a former attorney general of Ohio, to lead the CFPB for a full term.

Obama used installed Cordray in late 2011 as a recess appointment, after Republicans made clear they had no intention of confirming him. Their refusal stemmed from their objection to the CFPB, a watchdog agency that Obama created to police financial products sold to consumers. The Washington Post has more here.


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