Decision Time: The Republican led, history-making filibuster of President Obama’s defense secretary nominee, Chuck Hagel, is over. On Tuesday, the Senate moved to break the filibuster by a 71-27 margin, setting the stage (finally) for a confirmation vote. In total, 18 Republicans supported cloture, including Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who had all previously voted to uphold the filibuster. (Read more) UPDATE: The Senate has voted and Chuck Hagel has been confirmed as the next secretary of defense.
Cut to the Chase: With talks to avoid the sequester failing, it’s looking more and more likely that the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts will begin Friday. Roll Call has compiled a list of 15 things you need to know about the impending sequester. Among the more interesting tidbits: The sequester was supposed to be so illogical that Congress would be forced to act; federal agencies don’t have to institute the cuts right away, but failure to do so could mean even deeper reductions later; and because the sequester is only a government slowdown—as opposed to a total shutdown—you can expect government agency interactions that were already hassles to become even bigger ones. (Read more)
CPAC a Punch: Popular New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will not be among the nearly 40 speakers at next month’s Conservative Political Action Conference. That’s because, according to ABC News, Christie hasn’t been invited to attend the annual conservative event. Although Christie is widely considered to be a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, the news shouldn’t come as a huge shock. His own party has criticized him for praising President Obama in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and right before the November election, and he absolutely ripped GOP congressional leadership last month for initially not passing a Sandy aid package. (Read more)
A Race to Replace: A special primary election is being held in Chicago on Tuesday for the House seat that was vacated by disgraced Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Although both parties are holding elections, Illinois’ 2nd District leans so heavily Democratic that the winner of that primary is expected to win the special general election in April. Early voting indicated a lack of enthusiasm among voters, and Election Day turnout has been low. (Read more)
Video of the Day: Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., is not a fan of the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq nor of a big proponent of those conflicts, Dick Cheney. On Sunday, Jones told a conference put on by Young Americans for Liberty that the former vice president will probably rot in hell for the Iraq War. “Congress will not hold anyone to blame. Lyndon Johnson’s probably rotting in hell right now because of the Vietnam War. He probably needs to move over for Dick Cheney.”
Bonus Video of the Day: Stephen Colbert broke character in public over the weekend for an important cause—to endorse his sister, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, who is running for Congress in South Carolina. In making his first political endorsement, Colbert emphasized that Congress needs more women serving in it. “The Republican-controlled House of Representatives can’t even seem to bring themselves to bring the Violence Against Women Act up for a vote! Evidently, violence against women is something too controversial for them to even take a stand on. We need more women and more sensible legislators in Washington,” he said.