Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) — Officials from Japanese auto supplier Takata will appear before Congress on Wednesday to answer questions regarding their recalled airbags.

The hearing will take place at about 10 a.m. Wednesday. Among those appearing will be Hiroshi Shimizu, Takata’s senior vice president for global quality assurance, as well as representatives from Toyota, Honda and BMW.

The focus of the hearing will be on Takata’s airbags, which can rupture, causing injury or death to the driver of the vehicle. The flaw has led to the recall of over 11 million vehicles.

Also on the docket will be Honda’s failure to follow regulation regarding Early Warning Reports. Carmakers are required to report all crashes involving injury or death to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA claims that Honda failed to report significant numbers of such crashes.

Among the key questions the committee hopes to answer — how to prevent issues like Takata’s flawed airbags and Honda’s insufficient reporting of crashes resulting in injuries or deaths from happening again.

In a statement released ahead of the hearing, Takata’s chairman outlined the company’s response to the ruptures. The statement says that the company “can and must do more.” It also outlines four steps the company will take, including forming an independent Quality Assurance Panel, appointing two former Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Transportation to positions as special counsels to Takata, increasing production of replacement kits and “redoubling our efforts to learn all we can from past events.”

The statement does not, however, mention the expansion of the existing recall. NHTSA had given the company a 12 a.m. Wednesday deadline to expand its urgent recall notice from only vehicle owners in warm and humid climates to those all around the United States. That deadline passed without any action from Takata.

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Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — Call it the Republican venting plan.

The House is set to vote Thursday on legislation to effectively undo President Obama’s executive action on immigration. It’s a proposal put forward by Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Florida, which allows Republicans to voice their outrage, without sparking a government shutdown.

“That’s the beauty of this bill,” Yoho told ABC News. “There’s no threat of a government shutdown.”

The measure allows Republicans to cast a vote of disapproval on the president’s executive action, but to move ahead with a short-term spending bill to keep the government open when it runs out of money next week.

Speaker John Boehner said most of his fellow Republicans accepted the political reality that their hands are tied — for now, at least — in how they respond to the president’s unilateral action on immigration.

Two years ago, Yoho was one of the conservative Republicans who voted against Speaker Boehner. Now, Republican leaders selected his plan to help pacify conservatives by giving them a way to express their anger at the White House.

It’s largely symbolic, considering the Senate is controlled by Democrats until next month. But Yoho dismissed that characterization, saying the burden is on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring the bill to the floor after it passes the House.

“Our bill would stop the president’s amnesty,” Yoho said, “and put the brakes on it until the next Congress can get sworn in.”

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Pete Marovich/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — At an emotional hearing on domestic violence in major sports leagues, a top NFL executive told senators that former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice did not mislead NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as the commissioner initially suggested.

But Troy Vincent, a former NFL player and current executive vice president of football operations, also did something else: He recounted his own experience with domestic violence, his voice breaking and tears welling in his eyes.

“My brother and I watched helplessly numerous times as my mother was beaten and knocked unconscious as we dialed 9-1-1,” Vincent told the Commerce committee. He described the difficulty of watching her struggle to get help and to say “no more.”

His voice broke again as he described his pride in playing professional football and the “privilege, not a right” of wearing an NFL uniform.

He also said that former FBI director Robert Mueller’s NFL-hired investigation into the league’s handling of Rice’s case is expected “at any time.”

At the same hearing, MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre, who also founded a domestic-violence education foundation called Safe at Home, recounted his own personal experience with domestic violence growing up.

“I didn’t really find out until later on in life that a lot of my insecurities came from what was going on in my home, where my dad was abusing my mom,” Torre said. “I was lucky I got to play baseball, so I had a place to hide. Not a lot of youngsters are that lucky.”

Representatives from the major sports leagues — NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA — and their players’ unions were grilled by senators on the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on their policies concerning domestic violence and its punishment. All touted their concern over domestic violence and the leeway of league commissioners to punish offenses as they see fit, even if an athlete believed to have committed an act of violence is not convicted in a criminal court. Senators made clear that they find the status quo unacceptable, several of them challenging the NFL’s tax-exempt status as a trade-association-style group of individual teams.

On Friday, an arbitrator threw out the NFL’s suspension of Rice, finding that Rice had accurately described his assault of then-fiancee, now-wife Janay Rice to the NFL. Goodell meted out an initial suspension of two games, but after video surfaced of Ray Rice’s attack inside the elevator, Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely, claiming what happened in the elevator was “ambigious” to him after hearing Rice’s explanation.

“I don’t think there was a need for a second video to impose the proper discipline. We failed in that particular area,” Vincent said, acknowledging that, in his opinion, Goodell had all necessary information after his initial meeting with Rice.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The top brass of the Republican Party spent the last 48 hours plotting ways to twist President Obama’s arm while outlining the new majority agenda they intend to concentrate on come January, when the 114th Congress takes its place.

A two-day, invitation-only conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal featured a pairing of top executives and political leaders. CEOs of Pepsi, Tyson Foods, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Walgreens joined a GOP-heavy political field with a few Democrats sprinkled in, including Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

At a Monday night dinner at the Four Seasons hotel where the conference took place, wine flowed freely while controversial White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett sat with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and media magnate Rupert Murdoch.

In a series of interviews with Journal editors on Tuesday, Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., discussed the foreign policy and economic initiatives they hope to impart to their colleagues in their new majority, while Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., offered an urgent plea to President Obama to pass comprehensive tax reform.

Here are three ways Republicans plan to use their new majority in Congress:

1) Get President Obama to Listen

McConnell said that Senate Republicans will be, “working longer. We’ll be working harder” to outline a bold agenda to send to the president’s desk.

He insisted that he does not have any “personal difficulties” with Obama, that he “doesn’t have any fundamental problem with negotiating with the other side.”

But McConnell said he views the midterm elections as a reason for the president to start taking heed of more policy proposals and bills from a Republican Congress. He said he has been “perplexed” by the president’s reaction to “what can only be described as a butt-kicking election.”

“I don’t know what we can expect about reaching bipartisan agreements,” he added.

First on the list for Republicans, McConnell said, should be tax reform.

“If the president wants to make the country more competitive, the single best thing he could do would be comprehensive tax reform.”

2) Show the country that the GOP can govern

At the gathering, former Florida governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush was adamant about Republicans demonstrating a new kind of legislative maturity.

“They should lead. They should take the things that are possible to achieve. They should try to forge consensus with Democrats in the Congress, and they should start passing bills,” he said. “We don’t have to make a point any more as Republicans.”

When discussing immigration reform, Rob Portman said that Republicans, “have to legislate on areas where there’s agreement.”

“There’s no way to work around the President of the United States,” McConnell added. Yet he told the audience that, “there’s a core of Senate Democrats who don’t like dysfunction,” a small group that remains eager to participate in a more fraternal legislative body.

3) Think broad and specific when proposing an agenda

Paul said defense spending is the top financial priority of the federal government.

“I’m for spending whatever it takes to defend our country,” he noted. “I have five year budget plans that get rid of the military sequester.”

He pointed to policy in Iran as a clear way to act in a practical, bipartisan way.

“The sanctions have brought them to the table,” he said.

Alas, Paul concluded: “We do nothing rational in Washington.”

Ryan’s discussion of tax reform included an array of particulars he believes Congress should expect the president to act on. He took the stage in a brusque manner, declaring the most recent Republican-led tax proposals were “blown up” by Obama.

“We’re just going to do a clean one-year deal,” he said. “We were going to produce certainty for business…This just adds more uncertainty to the business climate.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Staten Island grand jury hearing testimony in the summertime chokehold death of Eric Garner is expected to vote on whether to charge NYPD cops as early as Wednesday, ABC News has learned.

That vote could be delayed. The grand jury could very well want more legal information or to hear from more witnesses. The grand jury is in total control of this closed-door process.

There is no word on when an announcement of the decision will come, though officials are expecting it by the end of the week – perhaps as early as Wednesday. The case is being watched closely since the grand jury in Ferguson last week declined to indict a Missouri cop who shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown, touching off violence and protests.

The grand jury has focused on, among other things, the conduct of Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen in a video using a chokehold to bring Garner to the ground after confronting him for selling loose cigarettes. The move was termed a chokehold by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton – a move specifically banned by NYPD policy as well as by police regulations around the country.

Pantaleo’s lawyer, Stuart London, expects the special grand jury to vote whether to indict on Wednesday.

Pantaleo testified last month. “My client was gratified that they took the time to listen to everything he said and he knows his future is in their hands,” London said.

Pantaleo’s partner, Justin D’Amico, testified after being granted immunity from prosecution.

The NYPD had no comment on Tuesday, but Bratton said in response to a question about possible protests from this case that “people have a right to march and protest. If they engage in actual criminal activity like vandalism and crime, they will be arrested quite simply.”

Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, during an unrelated news conference, would not discuss the grand jury’s work, but said, “Regardless of what the decision is, I expect there will be some demonstrations.”

Pantaleo is on suspension and was stripped of his gun and badge, pending the outcome of the case.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker John Boehner said most of his fellow Republicans accept the political reality that their hands are tied — for now, at least — in how they respond to President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

“Frankly, we have limited options and limited abilities to deal with it directly,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told ABC News at a Capitol press conference Tuesday.

He declined to say whether a government shutdown is off the table, but he presented a plan to avoid one during a closed-door meeting Tuesday as House Republicans met to discuss whether to approve a spending bill to keep the government running after Dec. 10.

Several lawmakers told ABC News the speaker’s plan would allow members to cast a vote of disapproval on the president’s executive order, but to move ahead with a short-term funding bill next week. The two-part plan would allow Republicans to vent, but to avoid a politically-damaging government shutdown.

“I think they understand it’s going to be difficult to take meaningful action as long as we’ve got Democratic control in the Senate,” Boehner said.

But Boehner insisted no final decisions had been made on how to proceed on the government spending bill.

Even though he declined to answer on camera whether a government shutdown remained an option, aides said Boehner and Republican leaders would avoid the option at all costs.

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US Congress(WASHINGTON) — Retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann is saying goodbye to Congress in the most contemporary of ways — through listicles, tweets and videos, including one that involved her rapping.

Bachmann, R-Minn., looked back this week on her eight years in Congress in a BuzzFeed post titled, “16 Things I’ll Miss About Being in Congress,” with GIFs, pictures and YouTube videos from the Capitol.

Bachmann, a conservative who made a feisty run at the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, also used the listicle to take some jabs at her opponents. She says she’ll miss “friendly chats” with Democratic House leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi alongside a photo of the two congresswomen with their backs turned to each other.

A photo of Bachmann and Vice President Joe Biden is accompanied with a caption that says she’ll miss “access to some of the greatest minds.”

But her most striking farewell so far may be a video of her rapping along to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” which she called “speech prep with my staff.”

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US Senate(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is making yet another legislative push to reform the way the military handles sexual assault cases by removing the chain of command from the prosecutions.

Joined by a bipartisan group of her Senate colleagues on Tuesday, Gillibrand announced that she and other senators are asking for the adjudication measure to be voted on as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act this month.

“We will continue to fight to strengthen our military because it’s our duty in our oversight role. It’s Congress’ responsibility to act as if the brave survivors of sexual assault are our sons, our daughters, our husbands and our lives who are being betrayed by the greatest military on earth,” Gillibrand said.

“The military has not been able to demonstrate that they have made a difference and they need to be held to the scrutiny and that standard this year,” she added. “The DOD has failed on this issue for 20 years and the scandals of the last 12 months show that they still don’t get it.”

Former Air Force Chief Prosecutor Col. Don Christensen joined the senators in advocating for a change in procedures, noting that “the system is set up for failure.”

This renewed push comes less than a year after Gillibrand’s measure failed in the Senate, falling five votes shy of the 60 votes needed to clear the first procedural hurdle.

Gillibrand’s proposal currently has the support of 55 senators including prominent Republicans like Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Ky.

“To me I’ve never quite understood why you would have to report something to your boss. If you had a problem at work, if you were in a corporation, you would not report to your boss, you’d go to the police,” Paul said. “In the military it’s a little different but you still wouldn’t want to go to your boss directly or you wouldn’t want your boss to be making the decisions, particularly if your boss was buddies with the person who was the perpetrator. You would want it to be people you don’t know outside the chain of command.”

Later this week, the Department of Defense is expected to release last year’s figures for the number of sexual assaults in the military. Additionally, the Pentagon will release a report commissioned by President Obama about how to deal with sexual assault within the military ranks.

Gillibrand says she has spoken with Obama about the possibility of issuing an executive action to implement her measure. When asked whether she would consider placing a hold on the upcoming secretary of defense nominee in order to advance her proposal, Gillibrand said, “I will think about it.”

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama intends to nominate former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter as the new secretary of defense, ABC News has confirmed. A formal announcement is likely to come by the end of the week.

If confirmed, Carter would replace Chuck Hagel, who announced last week that he was stepping down as defense secretary.

Sen. John McCain, who will become chairman of the Armed Services Committee, says he does not anticipate Carter will face a tough confirmation fight to be defense secretary.

“He’s not controversial,” McCain, R-Ariz., told ABC News Tuesday. “He’s qualified and he’s the last man standing, but he’s been around long enough to know he will have little or no voice in the crucial decisions on national security.”

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the outgoing chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told ABC News that Carter was “highly qualified.” He said confirmation hearings should begin immediately.

McCain said he wouldn’t object to the hearings starting before Republicans take control of the Senate next month. But he said the hearings would likely focus less on Carter’s qualifications than on Obama’s strategy on ISIS.

McCain, who has been one of the loudest critics of the president’s foreign policy, said that it barely mattered who the president selected as his fourth defense secretary, because all decisions are made inside the West Wing.

“All decision making is amongst a handful of people in the White House who only have one thing in common — that they don’t know anything about the military,” McCain said.

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Angela Weiss/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Senate confirmed a producer of the soap opera The Bold and The Beautiful on Tuesday to serve as ambassador to Hungary — and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is not pleased with the decision.

Prior to the vote, McCain went on a tirade about how Colleen Bell, a soap opera producer and bundler for President Obama’s campaigns, is “unqualified” to represent the United States as an ambassador to Hungary.

“We’re about to vote on a totally unqualified individual to be ambassador to a nation which is very important to our national security interest,” McCain said on the Senate floor. “Her qualifications are as a producer of the television soap opera The Bold and The Beautiful, contributed $800,000 to Obama in the last election and bundled more than $2.1 million for President Obama’s re-election effort.”

“I am not against political appointees…I understand how the game is played, but here we are, a nation that is on the verge of ceding its sovereignty to a neo-fascist dictator getting in bed with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin and we’re going to send the producer of The Bold and The Beautiful as the ambassador,” he continued. “I urge my colleagues to put a stop to this foolishness. I urge a no vote.”

Regardless of McCain’s urging, the Senate confirmed Bell to the ambassador post with a vote of 52-42.

McCain’s displeasure with Bell’s qualifications stems from a contentious confirmation hearing last February where multiple ambassador nominees bungled questions from senators. In her questioning with McCain, Bell struggled to name the U.S. strategic interests in Hungary.

After McCain’s rant on the Senate floor, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., defended Bell, saying she is “intelligent,” “successful” and “knows how to make friends.”

“You would think this is the first time that any president nominated someone that’s a political appointee. Just because somebody is a producer of a very popular show that doesn’t disqualify them. It’s ridiculous,” Boxer said on the Senate floor in response to McCain. “I could point out people you supported senator who perhaps didn’t work at all, so let’s be clear here. She’s an intelligent woman. She knows how to be successful. She’ll do a good job and she’ll do very well I think in this position because I know her well and she knows how to make friends and she’s not angry.”

In addition to Bell’s confirmation, the Senate approved Noah Mamet to be the next ambassador to Argentina. Mamet also had faced scrutiny at the same confirmation hearing as Bell when he admitted he had never set foot in Argentina.

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