Senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland March 14, 2013. Two senators seen as possible candidates for the 2016 presidential election will address a conservative conference where Republicans will try to regroup on Thursday after their bruising election loss last year.
Photo by Kevin Lamarque of Reuters
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Photo: A TV camera points toward the Capitol before President Barack Obama arrives to deliver his State of the Union speech in Washington, February 12, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
LIVE VIDEO: Senate hearing for Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel
Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, grievously wounded in a 2011 mass shooting, made an emotional plea on Wednesday for Congress to take action to curb gun violence in the aftermath of last month’s Connecticut school massacre, urging lawmakers to “be bold, be courageous.”
Wearing a red jacket and speaking haltingly, Giffords opened testimony at the first congressional hearing on gun violence since the December 14 incident in which a gunman shot dead 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Responding to outrage across the country following that massacre, President Barack Obama and other Democrats have asked Congress to pass the largest package of gun restrictions in decades.
"This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans," Giffords, who survived a head wound in an assassination attempt last year in Tucson, Arizona, told the Senate Judiciary Committee. Six people were killed and 13 wounded in the incident.
READ ON: Giffords makes emotional plea as lawmakers confront gun violence
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said on Tuesday he planned to resign, marking the latest departure from President Barack Obama’s Cabinet.
"I have let President Obama know that I will not serve a second term as secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation," LaHood said in a statement.
LaHood, a Republican and former Illinois congressman, brought a bipartisan element to the Democratic president’s team. LaHood said he would stay on until his successor is confirmed by the Senate.
Obama has been under pressure to bring more women and minorities into his Cabinet.
READ ON: Transportation chief Ray LaHood to step down
Republican lawmakers set up 11th-hour bid on “fiscal cliff”
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives told their members to be back in Washington from the Christmas holiday break on Sunday night in case they need to vote on budget measures, leaving the door open to a last-minute “fiscal cliff” solution. READ MORE
Photo: The Capitol building is pictured behind a fence as lawmakers return from the Christmas recess in Washington on December 27, 2012. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert