1. Gun Control
In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Obama said that new gun control measures in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school were “not something I will be putting off… I’d like to get it done in the first year.” The president’s comments echoed ones earlier in the month by Senator Dianne Feinstein, who vowed to introduce new gun legislation on the first day of the new Congress.
2. Immigration Reform
In an off-the-record meeting, later made public, with the Des Moines Register, President Obama said one thing he was “confident we’ll get done next year is immigration reform.” The week after his re-election, in a meeting with progressive leaders, Obama made a promise for swift action on immigration in 2013. “If there’s one thing he was crystal clear he was going to get done in 2013…it was immigration reform,” a source in the room told the Huffington Post. “He was going to lean into it; he was sure Republicans were going to come to the table. It was sort of what he’s said before, but with huge conviction.” In a Time interview a month later, Obama listed immigration reform as one of three items — along with the economy and climate change — at the top of his agenda.
3. Filibuster Reform
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will pursue bipartisan filibuster reform later this month, according to a report by The Hill. Reid said as early as the day after the election that changing Senate rules would be a priority of the new Congress. “We will not do away with the filibuster, but we will make the senate a more meaningful place. We are going to make it so we can get things done,” said Reid.
4. Hurricane Sandy Aid
During its first day in session, the new House of Representatives voted in favor of a $9.7 billion aid package for victims of Hurricane Sandy. But the remainder of the original $60 billion bill — delayed Tuesday night by Speaker John Boehner — will still have to be addressed by Congress later this month. In a joint statement released Wednesday, Speaker Boehner and Leader Eric Cantor promised that “getting critical aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy should be the first priority in the new Congress.”
5. Climate Change
During his victory speech on election night, Obama made a noteworthy mention of climate change as a priority during his second term. “We want our children to live in an America…that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” Obama also faces pressure from high-profile climate change activists like Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who made an 11th-hour endorsement of the president as the candidate “who will lead on climate change.”
6. Entitlement Reform
At a press conference following the election, Speaker John Boehner said, “2013 should be the year we begin to solve our debt through tax reform and entitlement reform,” said Boehner. Congress was not able to achieve large-scale entitlement reform during the fiscal cliff deal, it may be an issue Boehner pushes during his second term as Speaker. Asked about entitlement reform on “Meet the Press,” Obama would say only that he was “prepared to do everything I can to make sure that Medicare and Social Security are there not just for this generation but for future generations.”