Jan 20, 2013 No Comments ›› Chuck Biscuits
Washington - The public swearing-in for President Obama takes place Monday morning but the unofficial celebration in Washington is already in full swing — from a children’s concert for military families to flag-lined streets to bustling crowds in the hip U Street neighborhood.
Obama was officially sworn in Sunday but for many Americans — included the estimated 500,000 to 700,000 in Washington — the president’s second term really begins after the public ceremony Monday on the Capitol Hill stage and the parade down Constitution Avenue to the White House.
For the president, the second-term essentially began just after Election Day when he started negotiating with congressional Republicans on the fiscal crisis. However, it took a tragic yet pivotal turn Dec. 14 when a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults inside a Connecticut elementary school.
Obama within days vowed to find at least some measure to curb gun violence. And last week, the 57th U.S. president announced the details of his plan, which includes an assault-weapons ban, limiting magazines to 10 rounds, background checks for prospective buyers and extending mental health treatment to young Americans.
The president is expects to introduce the legislation soon after the 113th Congress returns to Washington on Tuesday.
His legislative agenda will also include renewed talks with House Republicans over three pressing fiscal issues: the debt ceiling, massive cuts to federal spending known as sequester and a budget resolution.
Obama has emphatically stated that Congress must increase the debt ceiling to keep the country from defaulting on its bills and that he will not negotiate on the issue. However, the White House has already put Congress on notice that budget talks could be delayed because Obama will miss the legal Feb. 14 deadline to submit his plan.
Despite having to deal with those issues right away, Obama appears committed to addressing immigration reform in the early months, purportedly in a one-step, comprehensive package.
Still, the expected partisan wrangling must wait until after Monday.
Temperatures are expected to be in the mid 30s when the swearing-in starts just after 9 a.m., with a chance of rain or snow showers by the time the parade begins at about 2:30 p.m.
Obama will be sworn in by Chief Justice John G. Roberts on two Bibles: one from President Lincoln and the other from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The invocation will be give by Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Among those performing in the roughly three-hour event will be James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyoncé, who will sing the National Anthem.
Richard Blanco will reads a poem and the Rev. Luis León will deliver the benediction. A luncheon for roughly 200 guests will be served inside the Capitol Building before the parade to the White House begins.
The president, after attending two official balls, also will return to work trying to build on a first term highlighted by his signature health-care legislation and stymied at times by congressional Republicans and the problematic economy that he inherited.
Obama’s first four years are highlighted by him getting Congress to pass the comprehensive health-care reform that he signed into law in 2010 and ending the hunt in 2011 for 9-11 terrorist Usama bin laden, who was found and killed by U.S. special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
In addition, he repealed the 1990s-era “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, allowing for gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military
He also signed into law the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to spur economic growth amid the worst recession since the Great Depression. More recently, Obama suspended deportation for younger illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents.
Top Obama adviser David Plouffe on Sunday outlined the president’s second-year agenda and suggested the president’s speech Monday would touch on the idea of “finding common ground.”
Plouffe told “Fox News Sunday” the president would be more specific in about three weeks, during his State of the Union address.