Ted Nugent, the gun-loving, bow-hunting rocker whose staunch defense of Second Amendment rights and inflammatory insults of President Obama have made him a hero with many conservatives, will attend the president's State of the Union address.
Nugent, who is also a National Rifle Association board member, will be a guest of Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, who recently made headlines by threatening to file articles of impeachment against Obama if the president issued executive orders that strengthened gun control laws. Nugent says he plans to sit in the House of Representatives gallery.
NEW YORK TIMES
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will deliver a "Tea Party response" to President Obama's State of the Union address on behalf of the organization Tea Party Express.
The speech pits Paul against Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who will deliver the official Republican response. Both Paul and Rubio are considered likely presidential contenders in 2012.
Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called for a committee vote Tuesday afternoon on the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense.
The committee action has been postponed for the past week over evolving demands from Republicans for new documentation on Hagel's past statements, personal financial records and even a sexual harassment allegation involving two former staff members, but not Hagel himself. As action has drawn closer, Republican opponents to a former Senate Republican colleague have threatened filibusters and even a walkout from the committee.
A Republican official said that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had given his word to Levin that he would not participate in a threatened Republican walkout.
The Senate turned back a Republican effort to strip from the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act a controversial provision that would expand the authority of American Indian courts to prosecute non-Indians accused of abusing native women, but senators left final passage of the bill until Tuesday.
The vote, 31-59, fell largely along party lines, but four Republicans voted to preserve the expansion of tribal authority. Final passage of a reauthorized violence protection act is expected on a bipartisan vote Tuesday.
The tribal courts issue, however, remains the one true obstacle to an agreement with the Republican-controlled House.
Senate Democrats -- and some Republicans -- said they would fight to keep the provision in any final bill to reauthorize and expand the landmark 1994 anti-domestic violence law.
NEW YORK TIMES
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is preparing to retire, extended benefits such as child care, commissary privileges and transportation to military bases to same-sex partners of service members.
Other benefits provided for spouses, including health care and housing allowances, remain barred because the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of gay marriage, continues to apply to the Defense Department, Panetta said in a memo to service chiefs.
BLOOMBERG NEWS SERVICE