By Tracy Bloom
Sandy Aid On Its Way: The 113th Congress is already off to a rousing start. House Republicans got the message loud and clear on the Hurricane Sandy bill. After the cancelation earlier this week of a vote on it led to an angry uproar and infighting within the GOP, Congress quickly passed the $9.7 billion financial assistance package by a wide margin when it came up again Friday. Some high profile Republicans, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Rep. Peter King, publicly went off on the party after House Speaker John Boehner pulled the legislation from the floor Tuesday. (Read more)
Here We Go Again: Just because we avoided falling off the fiscal cliff doesn’t mean we’re done with all that Washington drama. Some Republicans are now threatening a potential partial shutdown of the federal government if they don’t get the deep spending cuts they so desire. Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn wrote in The Houston Chronicle on Friday that “it may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well-being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain.” So maybe the 113th Congress isn’t off to such a rousing start after all. (Read more)
Hiring Hagel? President Obama is expected to tap former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel to succeed Leon Panetta as secretary of defense, The Daily Beast is reporting. An announcement could come as early as Monday or Tuesday. Hagel’s potential nomination has been met with some opposition from both parties. (Read more)
Guilty Plea: Mike Crapo, a Republican senator from Idaho, has pleaded guilty to charges of driving under the influence after his arrest last month. As part of the plea, Crapo was sentenced to 180 days in prison, all of them suspended. His license was suspended for a year and he has been ordered to pay a $250 fine and complete a DUI program. Crapo, a Mormon who had previously stated he did not drink alcohol, admitted during his sentencing that he “on occasion had alcoholic drinks in my apartment.” (Read more)
Newtown Trip: Gabrielle Giffords paid a visit Friday to the Connecticut city rocked by a mass elementary school shooting last month. The former Arizona congresswoman was in Newtown, where she met with some of the victims’ family members and several state politicians. Giffords, who was seriously wounded during a mass shooting in Tucson two years ago, was accompanied on the trip by her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly. (Read more)
The Next TV Star? Do you love Joe Biden like Leslie Knope loves Joe Biden? Or maybe you just really love to watch the vice president in action? Do you wish that E! would go ahead already and just give him a Kardashian-related spinoff—like “Khloe and Joe Take the White House” (apologies, Lamar)? Or better yet, maybe his own “Meet the Bidens” reality show! If so, you’re not alone. A petition that seeks to make a reality show out of the vice president has launched on everyone’s favorite vox populi site, We the People. Because if there’s anything Americans can agree on, it’s the need for more awkward Biden jokes, like the ones he told Thursday while swearing in the new crop of senators. (Read more)
Video of the Day: Here’s the Ann Coulter rant to end all Ann Coulter rants (and that’s saying a lot). In the span of just a few minutes, the conservative commentator managed to regurgitate Fox News talking points as she touched on the following topics: gun control, abortion, Planned Parenthood, tax subsidies, single mothers, New York real estate, mental illness and the ACLU. And indeed, it was as incoherent as that list makes it sound.