Happy new year!
–Politico surveys RNC members and finds a majority opposed to Michael Steele remaining at the helm. Gentry Collins, who made quite a splash with his very public resignation from the RNC, has dropped his chairmanship bid. It never really got off the ground and Reince Priebus still looks to be leading the pack. The first debate is today at 1 p.m. ET.
–Ambassador Jon Huntsman, the GOP up-and-comer turned Obama administration official, declined to rule out a 2012 presidential run in a chat with Newsweek, but James Fallows points out why this is nothing more than slow news week absurdity.
–Pete Davis gives a quick overview of the looming budget battles sure to be the early focal point of the 112th Congress. The debt ceiling vote and the budget battle come as a new GOP House vows to cut spending at every turn. Obama’s State of the Union will likely set the tone.
–With the realities of governing nigh, House GOPers soften their position on winding down government involvement in mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie.
–Norm Ornstein on busted state budgets and Medicaid.
–Newly sworn in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo fires the opening salvo in his anticipated battle with the public workers unions. The salary freeze isn’t a surprise (Cuomo said he’d seek one all along), but it’s worth watching how much resistance labor mounts.
–MPR walks up Tim Pawlenty’s January book tour, his first chance to emerge from relative obscurity in burgeoning ’12 field.
–Vegetables: the actual text of the FCC’s net neutrality order.
–Side dish: Goldman puts $500 million in Facebook.