Breaking – Hillary Clinton was discharged today from the hospital in New York, according to the State Department.
What’s Not Happening In the Future? No Negotiation – Obama said last night he’s not negotiating with Republicans on the debt ceiling. According to a Hill report Boehner told colleagues he’s not negotiating with Obama at all any more. He’ll rely on normal Congressional order. So there’s that. http://bit.ly/Txo7DM
What Happens Tomorrow? - The 113th Congress is sworn in. 233 R, 200 D in the House. 55 D, 45 R in the Senate. NPR has a nice look at some of the departing characters. http://n.pr/VjuWHz
Fiscal Cliff Signature – Autopen? – Between now and then President Obama, who is in Hawaii, will have to sign that Fiscal Cliff bill lawmakers passed late on New Year’s Day.
Jon Karl reports there are a few options. It’s not like they can sprint it from the Capitol building to Hawaii like they did with those notes in Lincoln. And the deadline is noon tomorrow.
Vacationing Obama’s Options to Sign ‘Cliff’ Deal Include Air Force Jet, Autopen - With historical context and legal concerns on autopen – http://abcn.ws/VjzGgc (Jon Karl)
What Didn’t Happen Today? An Insurrection Against Boehner - According to Spokesman Michael Steel he “expects to be elected Speaker tomorrow.”
What Did Happen Today? – Chris Christie Went Off – In an angry news conference the New Jersey Governor decried the “selfishness and duplicity,” the “palace intrigue,” “the callous indifference to the people of our state.”
He called out House Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans by name for going back on a reported promise to consider up to $60 billion in Hurricane Sandy relief before the 112th Congress closed up shop.
“Unfortunately people are putting politics ahead of their responsibilities… You do the right thing. Enough with all the politics,” he said.
“In our hour of desperate need, we’ve been left waiting for help six times longer than the victims of Katrina with no end in sight,” said Christie. “Sixty-six days and counting, shame on you. Shame on Congress.”
The governor said his four calls to Boehner Tuesday night went unanswered, but he said he spoke to the House speaker today. http://abcn.ws/UbK8KW
Boehner Promised Sandy Votes - Pressure from New York and New Jersey area pols like Christie, Cuomo and Bloomberg and a closed-door meeting with New York congressmen led the speaker to promise a vote Friday – the day after a new Congress is sworn in – for $9 billion in Sandy relief. Another vote for $51 billion will come on Jan. 15. That didn’t make the Northeasterners happy. But it did lead them to say they’ll still vote for Boehner as speaker. Earlier in the day, Peter King and Michael Grimm were wavering. http://abcn.ws/10PZGWo
The Biden Factor - Reports Arlette Saenz – The vice president is expected to use his knack for compromise in the coming months as he spearheads efforts to craft gun policy with White House cabinet members and outside groups in the wake of the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Speaking to reporters the day after winning the election, the vice president predicted the role he’d play in his second term as vice president. “I think I’ll probably be asked to play a similar role on the debt issue that we did last time. I think my reaching out to the Congress, the Senate,” Biden told reporters aboard Air Force Two the day after the election. “I also know I’ll be doing a lot of foreign policy, so it will be whatever the issue of the day is. Like I told him the first time, I only want those assignments that have a ‘sell by’ date.”
Fiscal Cliff Deal Leaves Charities’ and NGOs’ Fears Unresolved – While NGOs are happy the charitable-giving donation survived the fiscal cliff mostly in-tact, the unresolved spending cuts included in the sequester loom ahead, creating an uncertain future for those who serve the neediest Americans. Maya Wiley, president of a group that promotes societal equality, called it a “fiscal fiasco.” (Sarah Parnass) http://abcn.ws/X1mIVM
2.7 Million Firearm Background Checks in December - Jason Ryan reports: Record gun sales were recorded in December 2012 with over 2.7 million background checks being conducted through the FBI’s National Instant Check System (NICS), the agency said today. For 2012, more background checks were conducted than any year since 1998. In December, 2,783,765 total background checks were carried out to purchase firearms, surpassing the previous record from November 2012 when 2,006,919 checks were performed.
For the year, 19,592,303 background checks carried out for firearm purchases-a 19 percent rise from 2011. Each check doesn’t represent a single gun, just a single background check transaction. … The spike in sales late last year may be attributed to concern over possible new gun control regulations following the presidential election in November and the Newtown, Conn., school shooting in December. According to FBI officials there were no problems with conducting the background checks. In November on the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year the NICS system had two brief outages. http://abcn.ws/ZcUFqv