(CNN) - Senators are usually the stars of Washington, but on Wednesday they had several Hollywood stars in their midst for a screening of the movie "Lincoln."
Director Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis, who portrays President Abraham Lincoln in this season's hit, joined senators late Wednesday on Capitol Hill for the showing organized by Majority Leader Harry Reid.
(CNN) - Apparently scrambling for votes on their alternative to a fiscal cliff deal - known as Plan B - House Republicans late Wednesday were considering expanding the scope of their tax cut extension measure to include spending cuts.
The measure, according to GOP sources, would be modified in an effort to win support from Republicans who were concerned the extension without spending cuts was a net tax increase. Plan B was initially advanced by House Speaker John Boehner as a method to ensure the GOP is not connected with a middle class tax increase if a fiscal cliff deal is not reached.
(CNN) - Testifying before Congress Wednesday, Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist criticized the state's current Gov. Rick Scott for signing an election law that put "ridiculous restrictions" on voting rights.
"In 2011 the state legislature voted for and Governor Scott signed a massive election law designed, I believe, to make it harder for some Floridians to legally vote and designed to encourage a certain partisan outcome," Crist said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing investigating nationwide charges of voter suppression.
(CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify in January before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told CNN on Wednesday.
Clinton was slated to testify on the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya before the panel on Thursday, but canceled her scheduled Capitol Hill appearances after her office acknowledged on Saturday she had recently suffered a concussion and would be working from home this week.
CNN's GUT CHECK | for December 19, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
AGENDA SET: PRESIDENT OBAMA PROMISES GUN LEGISLATION IN WEEKS… The president said the vast majority of gun owners in America handle firearms responsibly, but having more than 10,000 Americans killed every year by guns is "violence we cannot accept as routine." "We won't prevent them all, but that can't be an excuse" not to try, the president added. … MEANWHILE A NEW CNN POLL SHOWS A COUNTRY DIVIDED… A bare majority now favors major restrictions on owning guns or an outright ban on gun ownership by ordinary citizens and more than six in 10 favor a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles. … A 53% majority still believes that attacks will continue to happen regardless of any action taken. – Keating Holland
DEVELOPING: FISCAL CLIFF DEBATE STALLS, PRINCIPALS TAKE TO BULLY PULPITS… In a candid assessment of the tough fiscal cliff negotiations, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that Republicans are focused too much on besting him personally instead of thinking about what's best for the country. … In response to the president, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced that the House would pass his Plan B proposal on Thursday, a plan the president said “violates the core principles” his recent re-election was all about.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER AT A CAPITOL HILL NEWS CONFERENCE: “The president's offer of $1.3 trillion in revenues and $850 billion in spending reductions fails to meet the test that the president promised the American people, a balanced approach. … Tomorrow, the House will pass legislation to make permanent tax relief for nearly every American, 99.81% of the American people. And then the president will have a decision to make. He can call on Senate Democrats to pass that bill or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in American history.”
DÉJÀ VU: Boehner on December 12 at a news conference after the Republican conference meeting: “His (Obama’s) plan does not fulfill his promise to bring a balanced approach to solving this problem; it's mainly tax hikes, and his plan does not begin to solve our debt crisis.”
Washington (CNN) – Joining a chorus of voices wanting tougher gun laws, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi took her own step towards reform Wednesday by announcing a new task force on preventing gun violence.
"Here in Congress, what we need now are not more words. What we need is action," Pelosi said, announcing Rep. Mike Thompson, a wounded Vietnam veteran and "avid hunter" from California, as the leader of the group.
Washington (CNN) – Americans are reacting to the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut with elevated levels of anger, shock and fear that have led a growing number of people to look for action from the government and society that can prevent future incidents, according to a new national survey.
And the CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday also indicates that a bare majority now favor major restrictions on owning guns or an outright ban on gun ownership by ordinary citizens and more than six in ten favor a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles.
TOPICS: Gun rights, reaction to Connecticut school shooting
Full results (pdf)
(CNN) - Terry McAuliffe, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in Virginia's gubernatorial race, called for extending the option of school resource officers to elementary schools.
In a statement Wednesday, McAuliffe said last week's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that resulted in 20 children and six adults dead "remind(s) us that we must take any reasonable action to make our children safer."