Washington Daybook: Newtown Response

Photograph by David Goldman/AP Photo

People arrive on a school bus at Newtown High School for a memorial vigil attended by President Barack Obama for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

President Barack Obama will assign Vice President Joe Biden to lead efforts to find ways to curb gun violence after the Dec. 14 massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school, according to a White House official. Obama will make a statement outlining his administration’s review of potential responses this morning.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee gets a closed-door briefing on the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, after review panel found “grossly inadequate” security there.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank hold a signing ceremony with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan following two days of talks on intellectual property rights, industrial policies and regulatory obstacles that hinder American companies in China.

Over on the fiscal cliff, House Speaker John Boehner aims to use a vote on his alternate budget proposal to highlight Republican opposition to tax increases sought by Obama, as the two sides negotiate a larger fiscal deal. Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, holds a press conference on the status of the discussions at the National Press Club.

The House is scheduled to consider 23 bills including a Medicare identity theft measure and changes to the Hatch Act, while the Senate debates a $60.4 billion supplemental disaster-relief appropriation for superstorm Sandy.

Also today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce holds a discussion on innovation in agriculture, with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Cargill Inc. CEO Gregory Page and Monsanto Co. Executive VP Jerry Steiner. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg holds a media briefing before meeting with states on compounding pharmacies. And the Commerce Department issues a final ruling on anti-dumping and countervailing duties for washers imported from Mexico and South Korea.

And Director Steven Spielberg and actor Daniel Day-Lewis will attend a special screening this evening of “Lincoln” for members of Congress.

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