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President Obama Unveils Sweeping Plan to Curb Gun Violence

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- Flanked by four children from across the country, President Obama on Wednesday unveiled a sweeping plan to curb gun violence in America through an extensive package of legislation and executive actions not seen since the 1960s. Obama is asking Congress to implement mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, not just from licensed dealers; reinstate a ban on some assault-style weapons; ban high-capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds; and crack down on illicit weapons trafficking. The president's proposal also includes new initiatives for school safety, including a call for more federal aid to states for ... Read more!

Ken Salazar to Step Down as Interior Secretary

Dept of the Interior(WASHINGTON) -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will not be sticking around for much of President Obama's second term.An Interior Department official confirms to ABC News that Salazar will leave the Obama administration at the end of March and return to his native Colorado.Salazar, 57, served as a senator from The Centennial State from 2005 to 2009 before being chosen to join the president's cabinet.His departure was first reported by the Denver Post.  The newspaper says Salazar is expected to broadly announce on Wednesday that he is leaving. Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio Read more!

Better Job Rating, Debt Limit Advantage Mark Start of Obama’s Second Term

John Gurzinski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Barack Obama approaches his second term with his highest job approval rating since his first year in office (save for a brief Osama bin Laden bounce) and a clear upper hand over the deeply unpopular Congress -- including majority support for his demand to decouple talks on the debt ceiling and budget cuts.With another showdown on the nation’s borrowing limit looming, 58 percent of Americans in this ABC News/Washington Post poll say the debt ceiling should be handled separately from the debate on spending cuts. Thirty-six percent instead favor linking the two, as ... Read more!

Obama to Unveil Initiatives to Curb Gun Violence

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will detail a broad plan on Wednesday to curb gun violence, setting the stage for what could be the largest Congressional battle over gun legislation in decades.Obama is reviewing the recommendations of Vice President Joe Biden’s task force, which were delivered to him on Monday.  According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, the president is also considering action he can take on his own "to reduce gun violence and prevent future tragedies" -- a reference to last month's mass killings by a lone gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children ... Read more!

Press Conferences Not Obama's Cup of Tea

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While some critics complain President Obama spends too much of the government's money, what he doesn't spend is a lot of time giving press conferences.According to presidential scholar Martha Joynt Kumar, Obama has given 79 pressers during his first term in office.  Obama said that his press conference on Jan. 14 was the last one he'll do until after his second inauguration on Monday.How does the president stack up against the three previous commanders in chief?  He certainly wasn't as anxious to meet the press in Term One as George W. Bush, who appeared ... Read more!

Angered by Executive Orders, Rand Paul Compares Obama to a 'King'

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Rand Paul is advising President Obama to quit acting "like a king or a monarch."The Kentucky Republican was referring to reports that the president will use as many as 19 executive orders to implement ways of curbing gun violence in the wake of last month's school shooting in Newtown, Conn.Interviewed on the Christian Broadcasting Network Tuesday, Paul claimed that "someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress -- that's someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch."Paul says he's not necessarily singling out Obama because he also opposed GOP ... Read more!

House Sends $50B Sandy Aid Package to Senate

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Seventy-nine days after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the northeast corridor of the country, the House of Representatives voted Tuesday evening to approve about $50 billion of additional relief for the region impacted by last fall's super storm.The vote, 241-180, passed mostly behind Democratic support, winning 49 votes from Republicans and 192 votes from Democrats. Just one Democrat opposed the legislation, while 179 Republicans voted against it. The base bill, known as the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Act, included about $17 billion to fund immediate and critical needs for Sandy victims and their communities. An amendment offered by ... Read more!

Assault Weapon Buy-Back Bill Introduced

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A  Democratic congresswoman from Connecticut,  the state where the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school occurred last month, has introduced legislation for an assault weapon buy-back program.Rep. Rosa DeLauro put forward a bill this week that would provide gun owners with an $1,000 tax credit for two straight years in exchange for turning in assault rifles to state police.DeLauro’s bill, dubbed the SAFER (Support Assault Firearm Elimination and Reduction) Street Act, comes as Vice President Joe Biden heads a White House task force aimed at addressing gun violence. Biden presented his recommendations to President Obama ... Read more!

Some GOP Senators Okay with Raising the Debt Limit

John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Two Republican senators want to raise the debt limit, highlighting a divide between the two chambers on how to handle the next big financial showdown.Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski this month criticized the Republican Party for its refusal to raise the limit without accompanying spending cuts.“If you incur an obligation, you have a responsibility to pay for that,” Murkowski told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner during a Jan. 9 editorial board meting.Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins agrees, The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent reported Tuesday: Collins’s press aide provided a statement to Sargent that Collins ... Read more!

Obama Motorcade Plates to Show Support for DC Voting Rights

DC Vote(WASHINGTON) -- The motorcade for President Obama’s Inaugural Parade on Monday will feature a shout-out to Washington, D.C., voting rights advocates.D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh’s office confirmed to ABC News that Obama plans to equip his limos with license plates reading “Taxation Without Representation,” a reference to D.C.’s lack of a proxy in the House of Representatives and the Senate.“President Obama has lived in the District now for four years, and has seen first-hand how patently unfair it is for working families in D.C. to work hard, raise children and pay taxes, without having a vote in Congress,” ... Read more!
Americans Held Hostage by Al Qaeda in Algeria
Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Two U.S. officials tell ABC News that Americans are among the hostages held following the attack on a BP joint venture natural gas field in ... Read more!
Terrorists to Execute 'Dead' French Spy
French President Francois Hollande. (PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP/Getty Images)(PARIS) -- An al Qaeda-linked terrorist group announced Wednesday that it planned to execute a French spy codenamed Denis Allex, who has been held ... Read more!
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