Washington Daybook: Hagel’s Turn

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U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel during Prresident Barack Obama’s nominations of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

Chuck Hagel gets a chance to face his critics at his confirmation hearing for defense secretary at the Senate Armed Services Committee today. Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, the panel’s senior Republican, will lead the opposition against Hagel. Inofe has said he is “philosophically opposed” to fellow Republican Hagel’s nomination.

The five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission is holding a round-table meeting with industry representatives as part of its review of whether new energy futures contracts have enough transparency and competition.

Federal spending cuts viewed as unthinkable a few months ago — $1.2 trillion falling heavily on the Pentagon — are seen as likely starting March 1, Bloomberg News reported. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department and members of Congress are preparing to move forward with plans to expand government-backed refinancing programs to underwater homeowners whose loans are packaged in private-label securities, Bloomberg News reported.

Acting Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin chairs a closed meeting of Financial Stability Oversight Council, the Securities and exchange commission meets on federal securities rules, regulations affecting small businesses.

And it’s time for annual Washington Auto Show. Today, Audi of Americas CEO Scott Keogh gives the keynote address and Energy Secretary Steven Chu makes outlines the Obama administration’s policy on electric vehicles.

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