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Watch Live: Senate Hearing on Obama Gun Control Actions

Lynch will testify on the White House's gun actions on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies holds a hearing on President Barack Obama’s executive actions on gun control earlier this month.  

Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli are among the witnesses expected to testify.  

Senate Sets Hearing on Obama Gun Actions

Shelby has invited the attorney general to testify. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch to testify at a Jan. 28 hearing on the president's actions, which Obama argued were legal and necessary in the face of congressional inaction on gun control. Shelby's subcommittee oversees the Department of Justice's budget. "Let me be clear: I will not sit idly by and allow the Department to implement unlawful, unconstitutional actions," Shelby wrote Wednesday in a letter to Lynch.  

The president's proposals included expanding background checks for firearm purchases at gun shows and on the Internet, as well as several proposals to address mental illness .  

Connecticut Democrats Take Lead Turn on Obama Gun Actions

Murphy met with Obama Monday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama had a message for congressional Democrats on the eve of his announcement that he was acting to combat gun violence: Don't let Congress off the hook.  

Three Connecticut Democrats, Sens. Christopher S. Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, and Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who represents Newtown, Conn., attended an hourlong meeting with Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday evening along with other members of the House Democrats' Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, where they discussed Obama's executive actions that he would announce the following day, as well as their next moves. “The president underscored a number of times last night that this couldn’t be the end of the conversation in 2016," Murphy said in a Tuesday phone interview. "He wanted us to message this in a way that kept the pressure on Congress."  

Senate Leaders Look Ahead to 2016

McConnell, left, and Reid, right, claimed victory in 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate leaders spent Friday afternoon claiming victory on the spending and tax bills that passed before lawmakers left town, and said they are now looking to highlight differences between the two parties heading into the election year.  

Democrats and Republicans held back-to-back news conferences after the final votes of the year, each saying the Senate is functioning again, and they're the reason why.  

Graham: Fight ISIS to Prevent More San Bernardino Shootings

Graham is proposing a sweeping AUMF against ISIS. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham says the way to prevent more mass shootings like the one in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday is to "make ISIL the losers they are."  

The South Carolina Republican, who is running for president, told reporters that an all-out war against the terror organization would "probably fix the problem more than gun control."  

Reid Calls the NRA a GOP 'Quasi-Militant Wing' (Updated)

Reid speaks with Schumer before heading to the Senate floor for a vote on Tuesday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:46 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid lashed out on the National Rifle Association on Thursday as he served notice Democrats would push gun violence amendments during the Senate vote-a-rama on a budget bill.  

"Now, there was a time in my legislative career that I tried to work with the National Rifle Association, but the NRA today is a far cry from [the] sportsmen's organization that I once supported," the Nevada Democrat said. "The NRA once called mandatory background checks 'reasonable.' That's what they said. I'm not making this up."  

As San Bernardino Shooting Unfolds, Reid Pushes Guns Measure (Updated)

News outlets were reporting that at least 14 people had been killed in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated 10:29 a.m. | Following Wednesday's mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said the Democrats will call for "a few" votes on gun-related amendments to the budget reconciliation bill during Thursday's session.  

Democratic Sens. Charles E. Schumer of New York, Patty Murray of Washington, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut will hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. Thursday to call for the amendments.  

Cornyn Pitching Mental Health as Response to Gun Violence (Video)

Cornyn is taking the reins on a Republican response to mass shootings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While the White House, frustrated with congressional inaction, weighs its own crackdown on guns , the Senate's No. 2 Republican is looking to address the country's cycle of mass killings with mental health legislation that includes a stronger background check system.  

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the majority whip, believes the mental health angle is an opportunity for consensus. Other Republicans have signaled similar sentiment, but Cornyn is the most prominent of them. “This legislation is a product of my frustration with legislation that won’t actually solve any problems,” Cornyn told CQ Roll Call. “In other words, I look at all of the legislation that gets introduced and I wonder: 'OK, which of these incidents might have been prevented if this legislation had been law?' And there isn’t any.”  

Democrats to Outline Gun Control Principles After Oregon Shooting

Democrats, led by DPCC chairman Schumer, will hold a news conference Thursday on gun control. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats will kick off their latest gun control effort Thursday on the steps of the Capitol.  

A group of Democratic caucus members, including Oregon's Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, are scheduled to take part. The most recent mass shooting took place at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore. President Barack Obama is expected to travel to Roseburg on Friday.  

After Charleston Shooting, Washington Short on Answers

Senators watch President Barack Obama speak about the Charleston shooting before holding their news conference in the Senate Radio/TV Gallery on budget negotiations Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In the wake of the shooting Wednesday night at a South Carolina church that left nine people dead, many in Washington were calling for change that doesn't appear to be coming quickly.  

Legislators offered condolences throughout the day Thursday in statements and speeches. And some — mostly Democrats — reiterated as they have after past mass killings that it's time for action on guns. "I don't know how much longer we can thwart the views of the American people," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters on Thursday, adding that the majority of Americans support a ban on allowing criminals and "crazy" people to buy guns.