Shorter Question Everything
• Republican lawmakers are threatening to subpoena U.S. survivors of the terrorist attack in Benghazi. Exasperated GOP members say unless they get more answers from the White House, they will call on the survivors to testify before Congress, and might hold up President Obama’s nomination to replace the U.S. ambassador who was killed on Sept. 11, 2012 in Libya. The recent revelation that U.S. survivors are recuperating at Walter Reed Hospital has sparked GOP demands that the White House provide Congress with access to them.
• In response to the growing controversy surrounding the overturned sexual assault conviction of an Air Force lieutenant colonel, newly-confirmed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is ordering the Pentagon to review the powers allowing military commanders to overturn military convictions.
• The military has stopped production of a new medal for remote warfare troops – drone operators and cyber warfighters – as it considers complaints from veterans and lawmakers over the award, which was ranked higher than traditional combat medals like the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of the Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was to be awarded to troops who operate drones and use other technological skills to fight America’s wars from afar. Pentagon press secretary George Little said Tuesday that Hagel ordered another look in light of concerns by lawmakers and veterans groups over the fact that the new medal was ranked above medals for those who served on the front line in harm’s way, such as the Purple Heart given to wounded troops.
• NORAD Exercise Planned for National Capital Region: The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region (CONR), will conduct exercise Falcon Virgo 13-06 beginning tonight, in the National Capital Region (NCR), Washington, D.C. The exercise will conclude early Thursday morning. Flights in the NCR are scheduled to take place between midnight and 2 a.m. (EDT).
• McConnell: GOP Will Likely Take Debt Ceiling Hostage For Spending Cuts — Again: Republicans and Democrats agreed to increase the debt ceiling for three months at the end of January, but with another deadline approaching in May, the top Senate Republican is hinting that the GOP will again demand spending cuts in exchange for any increase.
• A new study by professors at the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis shows that the strict voter ID laws being pushed by Republican state legislators around the country most impact young people, especially young minorities. And given that the people pushing those measures admitted they were intended to help GOP candidates win, the analysis would suggest that the efforts are having their intended effect.
• South Carolina House Member Kris Crawford: Crawford and his fellow lawmakers have been debating whether to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. “The politics are going to overwhelm the policy. It is good politics to oppose the black guy in the White House right now, especially for the Republican Party,” Crawford said.
• An extension of the registration period to vote in the Liberal leadership race that had been requested by the Justin Trudeau camp will be granted, Liberal sources say. The decision is expected to be formally announced on Wednesday afternoon. While Mr. Trudeau had asked for an extra week beyond the Thursday deadline to make sure most of his supporters were on the voters’ lists, the Liberals say they will give as much time as they possibly can – likely even more than the week that had been requested. Because Mr. Trudeau has so many more supporters than the others, the extension is likely to work in his favour. But Liberal officials say they want to give all of their supporters a chance to vote and do not want to alienate people, especially those who have just recently taken an interest in the party as a result of the leadership campaign and Mr. Trudeau’s own personal popularity.