(02/07/13) - Gun violence, immigration, the fiscal mess.
All those issues were on the table in Virginia - where the Democratic members of the House of Representatives are meeting for their annual legislative conference.
The leaders of the House Democratic Caucus are telling their members at the conference to think big, and think outside the box. And Rep. Dan Kildee, who's here with his colleagues for the first time, couldn't agree more.
"It's jobs, it's getting wages back in the direction they need to be, and creating economic security," he said.
Kildee says he's hopeful House Democrats can come up with specifics to do that when they wrap up their three-day legislative conference on Friday.
"Those are the big questions we need to focus our attention on and not be drawn in to these small, tactical fires that we need to continually put out - some of which are self-inflicted," he said.
Those "fires" include the fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling, and now the sequester - when mandatory cuts to federal programs go into effect on March 1.
President Obama addressed that with the House Democrats over lunch Thursday.
"I am prepared, eager, and anxious to do a big deal, a big package that ends this 'governance by crisis,'" he said.
Then, there's the issue of gun control, which these Democrats vow to make a priority. Kildee is on the Gun Violence Task Force.
"I think there's a real readiness to do the things that make sense, that are practical common sense fixes," he said.
Vice President Biden spoke solely about gun violence when he addressed the caucus Wednesday. Biden said he'd like to visit cities where it's a problem.
"Folks, you agree with me, I'm sure, enough is enough is enough. We have to stand up. I don't want to hear about 'we can't take it on because it's too politically dangerous,' the world has changed, the American public has change," he said.
The House Democratic Conference concludes Friday with a keynote speech from former President Bill Clinton.
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