Newsletter: January 16, 2013
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2013
Volume 2 | Issue 40
The Assault Weapons Ban: Lessons about Congress
By Mark Nadel, Senior Fellow
In the wake of the tragic massacre in Newtown, President Obama set forth a list of proposed gun control measures, including a new assault weapons ban. An earlier ban expired in 2004. Regardless of how you feel about the proposal or how effective the previous ban was, its 2004 expiration illustrates four features of the legislative process. What follows: a timely case study in congressional policymaking.
Upcoming GAI Course(s):
The New Congress
January 23, 2013 and February 21, 2013
The New Congress is a one-day course offered on Capitol Hill following the biennial congressional elections. This course is intended to offer an examination of the implications of election outcomes with regard to congressional organization and leadership, the legislative agenda, and prospects for key legislative-executive branch issues.
Even the uncertainty is uncertain. Having managed to barely avoid tumbling over the fiscal cliff, the sky has darkened and we’re facing a perfect storm of budget crises that includes addressing the debt ceiling, sequestration part 2, and the expiration of the continuing resolution (CR). Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has ordered a civilian hiring freeze and a plan to begin furloughing civilian DOD workers in March. To quote the Secretary, “The fact is, looking at all three of those, we have no idea what the hell’s going to happen.” Not surprisingly, late last week OMB issued a letter confirming that the President’s budget will not be ready for release in early February, citing the “considerable uncertainty” caused by the fiscal cliff crisis. In fact, many agencies have not yet received the passback on their budget requests from OMB. Under normal circumstances, we’d simply be focusing on whether any of the FY13 appropriations bills might pass, or if the CR will be extended. However, negotiations over the next sequester and raising the debt ceiling will no doubt involve further spending cuts, but at what level and when is uncertain.