Washington Daybook: Taking the Hot Seat

Photograph by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. John Kerry, President Barack Obama’s nominee to become secretary of state, gives a ‘thumbs-up’ as he arrives on Capitol Hill on Jan. 24, 2013, to testify before his confirmation hearing before the committee to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton.

One day after members of congress grilled Hillary Clinton over the attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Sen. John Kerry faces a hearing of his own as the nominee to replace Clinton as secretary of state. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets today to review Kerry’s credentials amid continuing global challenges.

North Korea today threatened to conduct a nuclear weapons test to derail “hostile” U.S. policies, after the Obama administration pushed through UN sanctions against the totalitarian state for a rocket launch last month.

Vice President Joe Biden goes online to discuss gun violence as Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and other Democrats introduce assault weapon legislation in the wake of the slayings in Newtown, Connecticut.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta holds a briefing at the Pentagon to discuss plans to end the ban on women in combat.

The U.S. and Japan today sign an amendment to an income tax treaty.

And the Office of Personnel Management is allowing federal workers to telework or take unscheduled leave today because of snow in the Washington, D.C., area. Government offices remain open.

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