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In the nearly two months since the November midterms, the conventional wisdom has centered on the idea that President Obama's agenda will be largely protected from an influx of Republicans by the Senate's arcane rules and his own veto pen. With 47 members in the 112th Congress, the GOP will lack a majority, let alone a supermajority, to pass the legislation they'd need to pass to undo Obama's accomplishments and blunt his progress -- as if he'd sign those bills anyway.

But Republicans are all too aware of this conundrum, and have been looking for ways around it. What they found is an obscure authority provided by a 1996 law called the Congressional Review Act. It provides Congress with an expedited process by which to evaluate executive branch regulations, and then give the President a chance to agree or disagree.

House Republicans will have carte blanche next year, and will be able to pass as many of these "resolutions of disapproval" as they want. The key is that a small minority in the Senate can force votes on them as well, and they require only simple-majority support to pass. If they can find four conservative Democrats to vote with them on these resolutions, they can force Obama to serially veto politically potent measures to block unpopular regulations, and create a chilling effect on the federal agencies charged with writing them.

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Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL), who is leaving Congress after a failed run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, has an interesting suggestion for moderate Democratic politicians in the wake of the party's near-total wipeout in the South: Forget the Dems, run as an independent.

As The Hill reports:

Southern voters "see the Democratic Party as a liberal institution that wants to spend their money recklessly, that doesn't honor their social values and that has a very different view of the world," said Alabama Rep. Artur Davis (D).

"It's hard for local Democratic candidates to break clear of that," Davis added. "Some [of those candidates] who are thinking about competing in the South may have to look at running as Independents."

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by Marian Wang ProPublica, Dec. 27, 2010, 10:11 a.m.

Some struggling homeowners are currently getting a temporary reprieve [1] from foreclosure sales and evictions during the holiday season, but that doesn't mean [2] all foreclosure cases have stopped moving through the courts -- and it doesn't mean we're done covering the developments in the foreclosure scandal either. Here's where things stand:

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The Republican National Committee chairmanship race is on -- and so are the recriminations on race, Jonathan Martin reports.

When Steele officially launched his re-election bid earlier this month, he said of the contest: "Who you elect as our next Chairman will speak volumes about our willingness to truly be the party of Lincoln."

This line was immediately attacked by a Steele detractor, committeeman James Bopp of Indiana: "This is the threat he has made by playing the race card - he will smear the RNC by saying we are all racist by not voting for him."

Now Bopp is jousting with a Steele-supporter, Idaho GOP chairman and Steele-supporter Norm Semanko, who is calling the blanket anybody-but-Steele campaign launched by Bopp and others "hateful."

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Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) amped up his rhetoric on the dangers of government spending and debt yesterday, telling host Chris Wallace, "I told you the other evening, if we didn't take some pain now, we're going to experience apocalyptic pain."

Coburn was on Fox News Sunday, and Wallace described him as something of an "alarmist" when it comes to the debt and federal spending. Coburn agreed: "I think within 3-4 years, if we have not done the critical changes that we have to make, I think the confidence in our economy and our currency will be undermined significantly. And that may scare some folks -- it's not intended to."

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RNC Race Up For Grabs The Washington Post reports: "Uncertainty reigns in the race for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee despite the election being less than a month away. Conversations with a number of strategists close to the RNC - and its 168 voting members - suggest that none of the six candidates in the running are anywhere close to securing the 85 votes needed to claim the chairmanship."

Obama Pays Christmas Visit To Hawaii Marine Base Reuters reports: "President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle took time from their Hawaii vacation to drop by a Marine Corps base on Saturday, where they greeted service men and women during Christmas dinner. Obama, who has otherwise kept a low profile during the 11-day family holiday and stayed almost completely out of public view, visited the same base last year and the year before on Christmas Day."

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