(CNN) - The newest member of the U.S. Senate is "cool."
So say the governor and lieutenant governor of Massachusetts.
(CNN) – Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced on Wednesday he is appointing William "Mo" Cowan, his former chief of staff, to temporarily hold the Senate seat being vacated by John Kerry.
Cowan will serve until a special election is held on June 25, Patrick said at the State House Wednesday morning.
Kerry was confirmed as the next secretary of state by the full Senate on Tuesday. He submitted his resignation Tuesday evening.
Washington (CNN) – Despite their attempts, Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz won't bring firearms to Wednesday's hearing on gun control after an unsuccessful attempt at appealing the security rules on Capitol Hill.
"We have not been able to navigate all the red tape and bureaucracy necessary to bring them into the hearing," Graham's spokesman Kevin Bishop told CNN. Wednesday's event, held in the Hart Senate Office Building, is the first congressional hearing on gun violence since the Connecticut school massacre that left 26 people dead.
Washington (CNN) – The first congressional hearing on gun violence since the Newtown school massacre occurred Wednesday. Highlights of testimony from both sides of the debate are below.
1:53 p.m. ET - Sen. Leahy, wrapping up the hearing, says all of the witnesses at today's hearing have the same goal: preventing gun violence. He said going forward, lawmakers would respect all of the opinions expressed.
He also said he hoped the Judiciary Committee would be able to meet in February to mark-up gun control legislation, and ultimately bring it to the Senate floor.
1:51 p.m. ET - Sen. Mazie Hirono, the Democrat from Hawaii, asked the Baltimore police chief to give thoughts on how to prevent bullying in schools, which she said could lead to violent situations with guns.
James Johnson said police offices in schools can help prevent bullying in schools, but that more work needed to be done on the subject.
1:40 p.m. ET – Speaking at the hearing, Mark Kelly updates senators on today's shooting in Pheonix, where two people have been reported shot.
"While we were having this hearing, and we certainly don’t know the details, but in Phoenix, Arizona, there is another what seems to be possibly a shooting with multiple victims. It doesn't seem like anybody has been killed but initial reports are three people injured in Phoenix, Arizona with multiple shots fired. There are 50 or so police cars on the scene."
1:36 p.m. ET – Asked whether the NRA would sign onto the "Sandy Hook Promise," Wayne LaPierre says his group wants to do everything it can to prevent further gun violence and increase safety in schools.
New York (CNNMoney) – Uncle Sam cut spending in the fourth quarter of 2012, causing the U.S. economy to contract for the first time in more than three years.
Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economic growth, contracted at an annual rate of 0.1% from October to December, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. It was the first quarterly contraction since the second quarter of 2009, amid the Great Recession.
Washington (CNN) - The tough new gun restrictions pushed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have caused a hit to his approval rating, according to a poll released Wednesday, though the Democrat still remains popular with voters in the Empire State.
The Quinnipiac University survey indicated that 59% of New York voters approve of the job Cuomo is doing as governor, down from a 74% approval rating in a poll released last month.
(CNN) - Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in 2011, will give the opening statement at Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, according to two sources close to Giffords.
It is the first congressional hearing on gun violence since the Connecticut school massacre that left 26 people dead. A top NRA official plans to tell lawmakers Wednesday that new weapons restrictions are not a "serious solution" to the problem.
Washington (CNN) - Wayne LaPierre is not a large man. He does not move with the easy assurance of a skilled fighter. His head sits low on his neck, and he seems to turn from the shoulders.
His swept-back, graying hair and rimless glasses make him look like a Central Casting accountant who sleeps with a tie on. Yet, in Washington, LaPierre is a heavyweight of the first degree, a brawler who can make even brave politicians toss in the towel at the first sign of a scuffle.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.
CNN: Obama says 'the time has come for' for comprehensive immigration reform
President Barack Obama traveled to Las Vegas Tuesday to press for comprehensive immigration reform, the day after a bipartisan group of senators unveiled the outline of a plan that would change aspects of the country's immigration system. Here is a transcript of the president's remarks.
CNN Security Clearance: Clinton defends her diplomatic legacy
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she can't be faulted for not solving some of the thorny diplomatic issues she faced her in term. In her final week of Secretary of State, Clinton defended her legacy in an exit interview with CNN's Jill Dougherty and Elise Labott. Clinton acknowledged that her legacy includes unsolved problems in some of the world's hot spots, but noted that she assumed the job four years ago at a time of great uncertainty.