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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Tonight, at 9:00 PM ET, President Obama will deliver his fourth State of The Union Address.  Look to see a more agressive speech to include a renewed focus on the economy, a continued push for legislation to reduce gun violence, the urgency of comprehensive immigration reform and the continued reduction of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

With, the news of the third nuclear test conducted by North Korea, it is expected the President will also address this.

Sure, to be mentioned will be the need to extend the looming sequester deadline when automatic cuts will kick in.

Look, to see if Obama makes an effort to highlight the need for climate change legislation.

Interestingly, displaying the current fractured Republican Party, they will have two responses to the President's State of the Union Address.  First Florida Senator Marco Rubio will give his remarks, followed by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who will deliver the Tea Party response. 


North Korea Conducts Third Nuclear Test -  North Korea confirmed on Tuesday that it had conducted its third, long-threatened nuclear test, according to the official K.C.N.A. news service, posing a new challenge for the Obama administration in its effort to keep the country from becoming a full-fledged nuclear power. The NY Times has more here.

The AP reports:

North Korea is estimated to have enough weaponized plutonium for four to eight bombs, according to American nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker.

It wasn't immediately clear to outside experts whether the device exploded Tuesday was small enough to fit on a missile, and whether it was fueled by plutonium or highly enriched uranium.

In 2006, and 2009, North Korea is believed to have tested devices made of plutonium. But in 2010, Pyongyang revealed a program to enrich uranium, which would give the country a second source of bomb-making materials — a worrying development for the U.S. and its allies.

If Tuesday's test was indeed successful, as claimed, it would take North Korean scientists a step closer to building a nuclear warhead that can reach U.S. shores —seen as the ultimate goal of North Korea's nuclear program.


Senate Armed Services Committee to Vote on Hagel - Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has scheduled the vote for 2:45 PM ET today for embattled Secretary of State nominee Chuck Hagel.

Once, past the committee, Hagel is expected to receive confirmation in a full vote in the Senate.


Senate Democrats To Propose Sequester Legislation - on Thursday, the bill will include tax increases and spending cuts, and it would replace the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts known as the sequester.

Aides have said elements of the package could reflect a plan offered last week by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), the top Democrat at the House Budget Committee. That measure would eliminate subsidies to the farm industry, scrap tax preferences used by oil-and-gas companies and implement a new minimum tax rate on people making seven figures annually — the proposal commonly known as the “Buffett Rule.”  The has more here.


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