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Wake Up To Politics - January 7, 2016

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Thursday, January 7, 206
25 Days until the Iowa Caucuses
306 Days Until Election Day 2016 I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
To send me questions, comments, tips, new subscribers, and more: email me at wakeuptopolitics@gmail.com. To learn more about WUTP and subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or like me on Twitter and Facebook. More ways to engage with WUTP at the bottom.    White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule At 8pm, President Barack Obama continues his push for heightened gun control with a town-hall-style event at George Mason University, televised live on CNN.
  • The live town hall, on “Guns in America,” will be moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who will discuss the issue with the President before opening the room for questions. According to CNN, “the audience [will] be evenly divided between organizations that support the Second Amendment including NRA members as well as groups that back gun regulation.”
  • Questions will be posed to the President by representatives of Gun Owners of America and the American Firearms Retailers Association, both gun rights groups (the National Rifle Association, or NRA, declined an invitation); and Everytown for Gun Safety and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, groups advocating gun control.
  • When announcing his executive actions on gun safety reform Tuesday, President Obama invoked the 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona, which wounded 14 (including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) and killed six.
  • “Five years ago this week, a sitting member of Congress and 18 others were shot at, at a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona. It wasn’t the first time I had to talk to the nation in response to a mass shooting, nor would it be the last,” Obama said.  “Fort Hood. Binghamton. Aurora. Oak Creek. Newtown. The Navy Yard. Santa Barbara. Charleston. San Bernardino. Too many.”
  • The five-year anniversary of the Tucson shooting is today.

Capitol Hill News

  • House Sends Obamacare Repeal to President’s Desk After holding over 60 votes on the issue in four years, House Republicans achieved a longstanding goal and campaign promise Wednesday: sending a bill repealing Obamacare to the President’s desk.
  • The House voted 240-181 on passage of the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, which repeals the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare) and defunds Planned Parenthood. The vote was largely along party lines, with a lone Democrat, Colin Peterson (MN), voting for the bill, and three Republicans – Bob Dold (IL), Richard Hanna (NY), and John Katko (NY) – voting against it.
  • Of the four lawmakers who voted contrary to their party, Hanna alone released a statement explaining his vote. “I firmly believe that Obamacare was hastily developed, ideologically-driven and has fundamentally failed to fix our broken healthcare system. That is why I have voted more than 60 times to repeal it,” Hanna, who is retiring next year, said. “However, the outcome this evening will be no different. The President will veto this bill and it will not become law. It is a political vote that will accomplish nothing.”
  • Hanna also cited the bill’s defunding of Planned Parenthood as reasoning for his “nay” vote.
  • While the other 60+ Obamacare repeals bills the House has passed in past years have failed in the Senate, this one is a budget reconciliation measure – which requires a simple majority of 51 votes, and not a filibuster-proof majority, to pass.
  • “For five years, Senate Democrats have blocked our efforts to repeal Obamacare,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement celebrating the vote. “That ends today. With this vote, we are keeping a promise and putting a bill that repeals Obamacare and defunds Planned Parenthood on the president’s desk.”
  • The Republican victory lap won’t last long, however: both houses of Congress fell short of passing the bill with a veto-proof majority (the measure received 57% support in the House and 52% in the Senate; two-thirds, or 67%, in both houses is required to override), and President Obama will almost certainly veto any measure repealing his signature achievement.
  • House: Today The House will vote on passage of two bills today: the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2015, which would “aim to limit special interest groups’ ability to push federal agencies to adopt regulations under pressure from litigation,” according to The Hill; and the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome (SCRUB) Act, which would establish the Retrospective Regulatory Review Commission to find existing federal regulations that can be repealed and would direct agencies to review their regulations.
  • Both bills are expected to pass; both have been the subject of veto threats by the White House.

2016 Central

  • Gary Johnson Announces Repeat Libertarian Presidential Bid Former Gov. Gary Johnson (R-NM), the 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee, announced Wednesday that he will again seek the party’s nomination in 2016.
  • Johnson announced his 2016 bid on Fox Business News’ “Coast to Cast” with Neil Cavuto: “I am announcing my candidacy right now for the Libertarian nomination,” Johnson said. “I do believe that crony capitalism is alive and well. It’s Democrats and Republicans that contribute to that. I’d like to be that choice that is not going to succumb to that.”
  • In 2012, former two-term governor served atop the Libertarian ticket, receiving over 1.2 million votes, the most in the Libertarian Party’s 40-year history and the most successful third-party showing since Ralph Nader in 2000.
  • Johnson’s past success will make him a frontrunner for the party’s 2016 nomination; he faces computer programmer John McAfee and activist Austin Peterson.
  • The Libertarian Party, the third-largest political party in the United States, seeks to limit the size and power of government, with a platform advocating lowering taxes, abolishing Social Security and Medicare, and legalizing marijuana, among other issues.
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation, the Political Junkie podcast, and St. Louis Public Radio; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki, and read about Gabe in Politico, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light