Slatest PM: Obama Readies Gun-Control Package

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 15 2013 4:20 PM

Slatest PM: Jay Carney's West Wing Fantasies

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US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the White House in Washington, DC, January 14, 2013.

Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

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Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

White House Readies Gun-Control Package: Washington Post: "President Obama will unveil a sweeping set of gun-control proposals at midday Wednesday, including an assault weapons ban, universal background checks and limits on the number of bullets that ammunition clips can hold, according to sources familiar with the plans. The announcement ... is also expected to include a slate of up to 19 executive actions that the Obama administration can take on its own to attempt to limit gun violence."

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What We Can Expect: More WaPo: "The emerging set of White House proposals stem from a month-long review led by Biden, who has been meeting with advocates on both sides before making the recommendations that were delivered to Obama this week. The recommendations ... are expected to include a tougher version of the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004; a limit on the number of bullets that magazines can hold; background checks for gun shows and other “private sales”; better database tracking for weapons sales; and strengthening measures aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of those with severe mental health issues."

Why He May Need To Go It Alone: The Hill: "The executive actions could be key, as Obama's ambitious legislative package is likely to see tough resistance on Capitol Hill. Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said an assault weapons ban was unlikely to pass the House — and that the Senate would not spend time on a proposal with little chance of success. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) on Tuesday admitted an assault weapons or high-capacity magazine ban would be a hard sell among some House Democrats.‬"

Joining Him on Stage Tomorrow: Wall Street Journal: "Obama will be joined at the event by children who wrote him concerned about gun violence in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy, in which 27 people, including 20 children, died."

Empire State First To Act: Associated Press: "New York's Assembly on Tuesday easily passed the toughest gun control law in the nation and the first since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, calling for a tougher assault weapons ban and provisions to try to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill who make threats. Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed hard for the bill, which passed the Senate on Monday night. He is expected to quickly sign the measure into law."

Happy Tuesday and welcome to The Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.

West Wing Fantasies: National Journal: "Obama has been criticized lately for what some say is lack of outreach to members of Congress and was pressed on that issue at a news conference on Monday. He said he would be happy to have lawmakers over to the White House to play cards or socialize, but added that he didn’t think that would help with the negotiation process over the debt ceiling. So, when a reporter for CNN asked [Jay] Carney at Tuesday's press briefing if Obama would pay a visit to Capitol Hill, Carney snapped back with a reference to Washington’s favorite fictional presidency. ... 'Going up there? Because there’s such a long history of presidents going up there?' Carney snapped back. 'I think that’s in a television program, but go on.' Confused members of the press corps asked what he meant. 'West Wing,' he said. The journalists didn't seem amused. 'We’re not going to indulge your West Wing fantasies,' said one reporter said." The scene in question:

Sandy Aid: NBC News: "Two and a half months after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast coast, the political fight over federal spending to assist the recovery efforts continues in Congress. In the end, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will almost certainly get more than $60 billion in federal aid to help them recover and rebuild. But efforts by some House members even as late as Monday night to add unrelated funds to the Sandy emergency aid bill provided an object lesson in why such emergency bills are perfect vehicles for adding more spending."

Assigning Blame on Climate Inaction: Mother Jones: "A Harvard academic has put the blame squarely for America's failure to act on climate change on environmental groups. She also argues that there is little prospect Barack Obama will put climate change on the top of his agenda in his second term. In a research paper, due to be presented at a Harvard forum next month, scholar Theda Skocpol in effect accuses the DC-based environmental groups of political malpractice, saying they were blind to extreme Republican opposition to their efforts. Environmental groups overlooked growing opposition to environmental protections among conservatives voters and underestimated the rising force of the tea party, believing—wrongly, as it turned out—they could still somehow win over Republican members of Congress through 'insider grand bargaining.'"

The Latest From Mali: Reuters: "France will end its intervention in Mali only once stability has returned to the West African country, French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday, raising the prospects of a costly, drawn-out operation against al Qaeda-linked rebels. Paris has poured hundreds of soldiers into Mali and carried out air raids since Friday in the northern half of the country, which Western and regional states fear could become a base for attacks by Islamist militants in Africa and Europe. Thousands of African troops are due to take over the offensive but regional armies are scrambling to accelerate the operation—initially not expected for months and brought forward by France's bombing campaign aimed at stopping a rebel advance on a strategic town last week."

And From Syria: Associated Press: "Twin blasts inside a university campus in Syria’s largest city [Aleppo] on Tuesday set cars ablaze, blew the walls off dormitory rooms and left more than 80 people dead, anti-regime activists said. What caused the blasts remained unclear. Anti-regime activists trying to topple President Bashar Assad’s regime said his forces carried out two airstrikes. Syrian state media, for its part, blamed rebels fighting the Syrian government, saying they fired rockets that struck the campus."

And From Pakistan: Associated Press: "Pakistan's leaders received a powerful one-two punch Tuesday as the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of the prime minister in a corruption case and a firebrand cleric led thousands of protesters in a second day of anti-government demonstrations in the capital. The events set the stage for renewed political crisis in Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic militants and efforts to stabilize neighboring Afghanistan. They sparked accusations that Pakistan's top judge and powerful generals were working to destabilize the government ahead of parliamentary elections expected in the spring, and possibly delay the vote."

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