Lawmakers Ask ‘What’s Next?’ After Fort Hood

Apr 4, 2014 8:54am

By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)

NOTABLES

  • THE SPEAKER SPEAKS: House Speaker John Boehner yesterday expressed condolences for the victims of the latest Fort Hood shooting and said Congress should explore ways to better prevent mentally ill people from acquiring firearms, as investigators continue to probe the mental history of the alleged gunman, reports ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON. “There’s no question that those with mental health issues should be prevented from owning weapons or being able to purchase weapons,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a news conference. “We need to continue to look at to find a way to keep weapons out of the hands of people who should not have them.” Boehner said Congress has begun to address mental illness by funding “a pilot project addressing mental health issues and weapons” as part of the Medicare Doc Fix, which just passed Congress and is awaiting the president’s final authorization. http://abcn.ws/1fPhEM9
  • WORD FROM THE WHITE HOUSE: President Obama yesterday called the “unspeakable, senseless violence” at Ft. Hood a “tragedy,” according to ABC’s DEVIN DWYER. He called for thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims of the shooting. “These are people who make extraordinary sacrifices for our freedom” he said. Obama called the 3 killed “all American patriots.” He said his administration will figure out why this happened. He stressed that soldiers at Ft. Hood have “done their duty and been an inspiration… We have to make sure we take care of them” when they come home.
  • A LENGTHY BUT UNREMARKABLE MILITARY CAREER: The Army service record of Spc. Ivan A. Lopez, who has been identified as the shooter who killed three fellow soldiers and injured 16 others at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday, revealed a lengthy though unremarkable military career, reports ABC’s LUIS MARTINEZ. Lopez, a native of Guayanilla, P.R., was an active duty soldier who initially began his Army career as a member of the Puerto Rico National Guard in 1999. He did not complete training and was discharged in November 1999, according to Maj. Jamie Davis, a spokesman for the Puerto Rico National Guard. Lopez re-entered the Guard in 2003 as an infantryman, though he later transitioned to a Guard band, where he played percussion. By 2007, he was once again an infantryman and deployed with the Guard for a yearlong deployment to the Sinai Peninsula as part of the Multi-National Observer Force that safeguards the Camp David Accords. http://abcn.ws/1sgF2ed

 

THIS WEEK ON ‘THIS WEEK’: ABC News covers the latest on the mass shooting at Fort Hood, Sunday on “This Week.” Plus, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., weighs in on the General Motors recall investigation following GM CEO Mary Barra’s testimony on Capitol Hill, only on “This Week.” And the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with ABC News contributor and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, former House Speaker and CNN “Crossfire” co-host Newt Gingrich, ABC News contributor and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, and Fusion’s “AM Tonight” host Alicia Menendez. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program. Tune in Sunday: http://abcnews.go.com/thisweek  5 Things to Know About Alicia Menendez: http://abcn.ws/1sdAw02

 

ANALYSIS

ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Now what? Democrats are coming off of what may be their best week – or, at least, their most optimistic week – since the shutdown. That’s what an Obamacare enrollment surge and another edition of the Ryan budget will do for body language. But the party can’t claim to be any closer to a big theme for the midterm year that’s likely to come anywhere close to Republicans’ when it drives motivation and turnout. This constitutes the next big challenge for President Obama and the party he leads, and it’s a particularly vexing problem for Democrats. We’re often asking what the opposition party would do in terms of a governing agenda. Democrats are in search of the same sorts of details – if only to get their base to tune in to some good news for a change.

 

BUZZ

HILLARY CLINTON: MEDIA PROMOTES ‘DOUBLE STANDARD’ FOR WOMEN. Hillary Clinton said the “double standard” in how the media talks about women in public life is “alive and well” during a discussion on the opening night of Tina Brown’s 3-day Women in the World Foundation summit, which kicked off Thursday evening at New York City’s glitzy Lincoln Center, ABC’s GREGORY J. KRIEG reports. Flanked by IMF chief Christine Lagarde and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, who moderated the exchange, Clinton didn’t hold back. “There is a double standard, obviously,” she told Friedman, to warm applause. “We have all either experienced it or at the very least seen it… The double standard is alive and well and I think, in many respects, the media is the principle propagator of its persistence.” Friedman led into the question by recounting “Scrunchiegate,” an episode from Clinton’s time as secretary of state. A powerful world leader, the story goes, was worried to welcome Clinton when she arrived with her hair tied back, believing it was a sign “Madame Sectretary” was bearing bad news. Clinton came bearing very little news about a potential presidential run. Not that Friedman didn’t do his best to squeeze something out of her. “Madame Secretary,” he began, “is there any other job you’d be interested in? Comptroller of the state of Illinois?” “Not right now,” Clinton replied, much to the disappointment of the dozens of supporters in “Ready for Hillary” gear, actively pursuing information from attendees both outside and in the auditorium. http://abcn.ws/1fR5tP4

TO HELP SICK KIDS, A RARE SCENE IN THE OVAL OFFICE. Here are two things you don’t see every day at the White House:  a bill signing, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., standing beside President Obama with a big smile. The political rivals were together, with Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, and other guests, to mark the signing of the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, ABC’s DEVIN DWYER notes. The legislation redirects about $126 million over 10 years from a fund for presidential party conventions to research on pediatric diseases at the National Institutes of Health. The law is named after a 10-year-old Virginia girl who died in 2013 after being diagnosed with cancer. http://abcn.ws/1dXGq1y

OOPS! SENATOR GOES TO WRONG HEARING. Between committee hearings, meetings with constituents and votes on the floor, lawmakers on Capitol Hill juggle some pretty hectic schedules. And the busy agenda caught up this week with one senator who accidentally attended the wrong hearing, according to ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., sat down at what he thought was an appropriations hearing on the defense budget and started reading a letter from the Indiana congressional delegation to leaders at the Pentagon. Then the embarrassing moment came. “I just got a note saying I’m at the wrong hearing,” Coats said. “I’ve got the right room number but the wrong hearing.” Coats was actually at a different appropriations hearing on Wednesday — one for the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence’s upcoming budget. VIDEO: http://abcn.ws/1gSZGN7

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

AN OLYMPIC PHOTO-FEST AT THE WHITE HOUSE. A little over a month after the Olympic closing ceremonies in Sochi, Russia, Team USA jumped – literally – at the chance to snap a few selfies at the White House yesterday, ABC’s ERIN DOOLEY notes. Luger Matt Mortensen tweeted out a photo of the U.S. ladies luge team pre-jump, with the iconic South Lawn fountain and Washington Monument in the background. The women’s hockey team also snapped a selfie on the South Lawn. So did skiers Bryan Fletcher and Jessica Jerome. The athletes with President Obama Thursday afternoon. PHOTOS: http://abcn.ws/1h97cVd

 

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

BASEBALL GETS INTO THE MONEY MAKING BUSINESS…LITERALLY. It’s the most wonderful time of the year — for baseball fans. Major League Baseball kicked off its 2014 season this week, and while young sluggers across the country hit the field on Opening Day with dreams of leaving their mark on the sport, two masters of America’s pastime celebrated a newly minted tribute to the game — literally. Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Joe Morgan joined the U.S. Mint in launching the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin and spoke to ABC’s JIM AVILA. http://yhoo.it/1fFmUFv

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@RebeccaJarvis: Long-term unemployed- jobless for 27 weeks or more- little changed at 3.7 million in March; now 35.8% of the unemployed

@MarkLandler: The end-of-history president, with whom history is not quite finished, from @peterbakernyt: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/us/politics/hindsight-proves-kinder-and-gentler-to-bush-41.html?hp&_r=0 …

‏@EvanMcSan: Free Idea: Senators should start using “I’m in the wrong hearing” to cover all their gaffes, a la “it’s my first day.”

@mckaycoppins: My interview with Lee Atwater’s widow, who’s running for office now in South Carolina and promises no dirty tricks: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/lee-atwaters-widow-running-for-office-in-south-carolina-prom …

@ajdukakis: Happy almost birthday RL Cool J @rlcoolidge & big props to mastermind @JordynPhelps pic.twitter.com/vAnTiEVck0

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