The U.S. Capitol at sunrise on Monday, before President Obama's second inauguration. While the president raised big issues in his inaugural address — climate change, gay rights, immigration, the shooting of schoolchildren — none of them appear to top the agenda of Congress, which returned to work Tuesday.
The Senate picked up Tuesday exactly where it left off nearly three weeks ago. By a twist of the rules, the Senate chamber remains in its first legislative day of the 113th Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he's kept things at the starting point so that he and his fellow Democrats have the option of changing the rules on the filibuster by a simple majority vote.
"The Senate will take action to make this institution that we all love, the United States Senate, work more effectively," Reid said Tuesday. "We'll consider changes to the Senate rules."
President Obama pulled out a surprise in his inaugural address on Monday. After barely mentioning climate change in his campaign, he put it on his short list of priorities for his second term.
"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," he said. Today the White House had scant detail on what the president plans to do.
Congress faces a battle over gun laws that could be the biggest in a generation.
Leading the charge for gun rights is the National Rifle Association, with its huge budget and grass-roots operations. On the other side, a new leader has emerged in recent years: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not only outspoken on gun control, he has also opened his substantial wallet for the cause.
Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 7:24 pm
Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
Credit Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
It may have struck many people as odd that Lamar Alexander, the senior senator from Tennessee, gave a shout-out to Alex Haley, the author of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, during his remarks at the presidential inauguration.
George Washington referred to "that Almighty Being" during his inaugural address in 1789. "God" didn't show up in an inaugural speech until more than three decades later.
President Obama mentioned him five times in Monday's inaugural address — God, that is.
In modern times, religion has become so intertwined in our political rhetoric that the failure of any president to invoke God in a speech as important as the inaugural could hardly escape notice. Thanks to this graphic in The Wall Street Journal, we noticed the presidents who did (nearly all) and the few who didn't (Teddy Roosevelt, Rutherford B. Hayes).
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., arrives at President Obama's inauguration Monday on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, Ryan, who ran for vice president on the losing Republican ticket last year, said Obama's inaugural address showed a "proud and confident liberal progressive."
The crowd faces off with police at the Stonewall Inn nightclub raid in the summer of 1969 in New York City.
Credit New York Daily News Archive / NY Daily News via Getty Images
President Obama made history in his inaugural address when he mentioned Stonewall in the same breath as Selma, the Alabama town considered the birthplace of the black-rights movement, and Seneca Falls, the upstate New York site of the first women's-rights convention.
But Obama's reference was very likely lost on many in the generations that have come of age long after gay men resisted police harassment at the Stonewall Inn gay bar in New York City.