Wednesday in politics: Senate panel focuses on assault weapons ban, and more

Phil Pruitt
The Ticket

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing Wednesday on banning assault weapons.

Witnesses will include Neil Heslin, whose son Jesse was among 20 children shot to death in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Other witnesses will include William Begg, an emergency room doctor who treated Newtown victims that day, and U.S. Attorney John Walsh from Colorado.

"Guns that are fashioned from war don't belong on the streets," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Tuesday. "Maybe I've just seen too much from my days as mayor and watching this stuff for 30 years."

Feinstein has introduced legislation that would ban the military-style weapons.

Over on the other side of the Capitol, the House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a hearing on school safety. Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, is among those slated to testify.

Gun violence also will be Vice President Joe Biden’s topic Wednesday when he speaks to the National Association of Attorneys General.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a challenge to the part of the Voting Rights Act that forces places with a history of discrimination to get approval before making any change in the way elections are held. The lawsuit from Shelby County, Ala., says conditions that once justified federal oversight no longer exist.

Also worth noting on Wednesday: President Barack Obama speaks at the unveiling of a Rosa Parks statue at the U.S. Capitol and later addresses The Business Council; Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is back on Capitol Hill to present the Monetary Policy Report to the House Financial Services Committee; GOP Sen. Marco Rubio speaks on the Middle East at Washington Institute; Secretary of State John Kerry meets with French President Francois Hollande in Paris; and the House is expected to begin debate on an amendment to Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.

And then there is this: What is the number of publicly scheduled negotiation meetings aimed at averting the sequester? None as of early Wednesday morning. The $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts is set to begin going into effect Friday.

Sources: Yahoo News’ The Ticket, Associated Press and Reuters.