Congress will kick off the 113th session this week with consideration of a $50 billion measure intended to offer relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy, but loaded with pet pork projects including money for museum roofs and funding for Alaska fisheries.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) is hoping to amend the legislation to strip spending not specific to that disaster when the bill comes up for a vote on Tuesday.
The Senate won’t be in session this week but returns on Jan. 21 to face a full agenda of new appointees for President Barack Obama’s cabinet and lesser administration positions.
The confirmation process is expected to be rocky for former Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican who has been nominated to lead the Pentagon. The Democratic-led Senate is expected to be a little friendlier when it combs over the confirmation of fellow Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
John Brennan, who has been nominated to head the CIA, must also endure the Senate confirmation process.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has tendered her resignation; however, Obama has yet to name a replacement. Washington is also still waiting to hear who will replace Lisa Jackson, outgoing administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Obama has nominated Jack Lew, his own White House chief of staff, to replace outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
Top officials who are expected to stick out Obama’s second term include Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
However, whispers around the Capitol are that the next round of resignations will include Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.