Washington Post: President Obama on Monday plans to nominate former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense and to announce that counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan is his choice to direct the Central Intelligence Agency, administration officials said.
The successful nomination of Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran, would add a well-known Republican to the president’s second-term Cabinet at a time when he is looking to better bridge the partisan divide, particularly after a bitter election campaign.
But the expected nomination has drawn sharp criticism in recent weeks, particularly from Republicans, who have questioned Hagel’s commitment to Israel’s security.
ThinkProgress: The Obama administration is set to harness the mood of the country in the aftermath of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary to enact wide-ranging efforts to reduce gun violence, according to the Washington Post.
Vice-President Joe Biden was named by President Obama in the days after the massacre to head a task force charged with finding ways the government could act to prevent further shootings. What seems to be emerging following discussions between the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and Education is a much broader set of ideas that would seek to clamp down on gun violence throughout the country.
ThinkProgress: … on ABC’s This Week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated what has become the go-to Republican talking point in the wake of the fiscal cliff deal: That the issue of taxes and new revenue is finished, and will not be re-opened. “Now the question is, what are we going to do about the biggest problem confronting our country and our future,” McConnell said.
But this time host George Stephanopoulos pushed back. He pointed out that since last year Congress has already cut $1.5 trillion in spending, without any counter-balancing hikes in tax revenue until the fiscal cliff deal….
NYT: The State Department says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will return to work Monday, a little over a week after she was hospitalized with a blood clot in her head.
The department on Sunday released a schedule which has Clinton meeting with assistant secretaries Monday morning. The most significant items on her agenda are meetings in Washington on Thursday and Friday with visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai.