Thursday in politics: Biden holds online chat on gun violence, and more

Phil Pruitt

Gun violence will be a focus Thursday in Washington. Vice President Joe Biden will host an online “fireside hangout” on the White House’s recent proposals, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., will introduce legislation to reinstate a federal ban on assault weapons.

People can suggest questions ahead of time for Biden’s 30-minute, 1:45 p.m. EST session.  The chat will be hosted on Google +. Guy Kawasaki, co-founder of Alltop and former "chief evangelist" at Apple, and YouTube star Phil DeFranco are among the guests, and the moderator will be Hari Sreenivasan from "PBS NewsHour."

Feinstein’s "Assault Weapons Ban of 2013," which includes a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, will be introduced during a press conference at 11 a.m. EST. Feinstein will be joined by a coalition of Democratic lawmakers, law enforcement officers, and representatives from gun safety and anti-gun-violence groups.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Obama’s nominee to be the next secretary of state, will testify Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It is not expected to be a confrontational session. He has served on the committee for 28 years and chaired it for the past four.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., jokingly set the tone for the confirmation hearing when he said, “We will look forward to interrogating him at his hearing — mercilessly. We will bring back, for the only time, waterboarding to get the truth."

McCain, along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren will introduce Kerry.

Over at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to announce that more than 230,000 battlefront posts — many in Army and Marine infantry units and in potentially elite commando jobs — are now open to women. The change, which was recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from serving in combat units

And then there is this: Mitt Romney is headed to Washington, D.C. The former Republican presidential candidate and his wife, Ann, will be in town Friday for a luncheon in their honor at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, ABC News OTUS reports.

Sources: Yahoo News’ The Ticket, Yahoo News reporters Rachel Rose Hartman, Associated Press, Reuters, and ABC News.