The Note’s Must-Reads for Monday, January 3, 2011

By Jayson

Jan 3, 2011 3:15am

The Note's Must-Reads are a round-up of today's political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at www.abcnews.com

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates and Desk Assistants JAYCE HENDERSON, JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ and MOLLY HUNTER

PRESIDENT OBAMA / ADMINISTRATION:
The Washington Post’s Peter Wallsten and Perry Bacon Jr.: “Administration’s search for NEC director has been politically touchy” President Obama is expected to name a new chief economic adviser as early as this week, but the months-long search process has proven difficult and politically touchy. LINK

Bloomberg’s Mike Dorning: “Obama Looks to Reagan Legacy as Way to Move Agenda in Congress As Barack Obama prepares to confront a strengthened Republican opposition to his tax, spending and immigration priorities when Congress convenes this week, his advisers are comparing him to another president who faced similar circumstances: Ronald Reagan.  LINK

CONGRESS:
The Wall Street Journal’s Patrick O’Connor and Janet Hook: “Congress Targets Spending” The Republican majority that takes over the House this week plans an ambitious drive to slash government spending by tens of billions of dollars in the next few months, a strategy that ensures that the capital soon will be consumed by intense debate over how and where to reduce the size of government. LINK

The  Hill’s Alexander Bolton: “Dems Down But Not Out: Senators To Watch In The 112th Congress” Democrats will control the Senate in the 112th Congress but lawmakers and aides expect a different power dynamic with Republicans in control of 47 seats. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will take a bigger role in crafting the floor strategy and freshman Republicans are poised to take over the role Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has played in challenging the Senate GOP leadership. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Kathleen Hennessey: “Tea Party Activists Keep Watch On Congress’ New Class” As nearly 100 new Republican lawmakers settle into their Capitol Hill digs this week, some will get a pop-in visit — before the boxes are unpacked and the phones start ringing — aimed at reminding them how they got there. "We want them to know that we know our folks helped them get elected and we're there for them," said Mark Meckler, whose group, Tea Party Patriots, is sending activists to visit lawmakers' offices hours after the swearing-in Wednesday of the 112th Congress. LINK

HEALTH CARE:
ABC News’ Sunlen Miller and Yunji de Nies: “Obama Signs The 9/11 First Responders Health Care Bill” While on vacation, from his beachfront rental home in Kailua, Hawaii, President Obama has signed the 9/11 responders bill.  The $4.2 billion bill passed unanimously in the final week of Congress’ session before lawmakers adjourned for the year. "I was honored to sign the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to ensure that rescue and recovery workers, residents, students, and others suffering from health consequences related to the World Trade Center disaster have access to the medical monitoring and treatment they need," Obama said in a statement released after the signing. LINK

Politico’s Kendra Marr: “House GOP Plans Two-Pronged Assault On Health Law” The New Republican-controlled House plans to schedule a vote to repeal the sweeping health care overhaul before President Barack Obama delivers his annual State of the Union address later this month, incoming House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich) said Sunday. “We have 242 Republicans,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” He added, “There will be a significant number of Democrats, I think, that will join us. You will remember when that vote passed in the House last March, it only passed y seven votes.” LINK

G.O.P.:
The New York Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer and Robert Pear: “G.O.P. Newcomers Set Out to Undo Obama Victories” Soon after the 112th Congress convenes Wednesday, Republicans in the House plan to make good on a campaign promise that helped vault many new members to victory: voting to repeal President Obama’s health care overhaul. LINK

RNC:
The Washington Times’ Ralph Z. Hallow: “RNC Sees Deep Red For 2012 Budget: Historic Debt May Sink Steele” The next chairman of the Republican National Committee will face a money-raising challenge of historic proportions. The unreleased official budget of the RNC reveals that the Republican Party's national governing body and premier fundraising apparatus begins the 2011-12 presidential election cycle more than $20 million in the hole. "A record for any year in the past 30 years," Maria Cino, a candidate for the RNC chairmanship and a former deputy transportation secretary, told The Washington Times. LINK

Politico’s Jonathan Martin: “Gentry Collins Drops RNC Bid” Former Republican National Committee political director Gentry Collins dropped his bid to become chairman of the RNC Sunday night, explaining in an interview that members of the committee preferred to have one of their own lead the party. Collins won the support of only three members of the 168-member committee and it was clear that he faced long odds heading into the final weeks before the party holds its vote for chairman. LINK

OTHER:
Newsweek’s McKay Coppins: “The Manchurian Candidate” The Huntsmans’ new home in the posh D.C. neighborhood of Kalorama is the prototype of pricey Washington real estate: a tall, boxy structure defined by red brick and right angles. Last spring, Bravo used the space to film its reality show Top Chef: Washington, D.C., but on a Sunday morning in mid-December, the spacious rooms on the first floor were largely unfurnished. “We’ve been living out of boxes for the last two years,” says Jon Huntsman Jr., who resigned the Utah governorship in 2009 to become U.S. ambassador to China. LINK

NY Daily News’ Glenn Blain and Kenneth Lovett: “On Second Day In Office, Cuomo Attends Church With Daughters And Sandra Lee” Gov. Cuomo got some spiritual backing Sunday as he set out to revitalize state government. The new governor began his second day in office at 9 a.m. Mass at Albany's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where he was urged to move forward with a sense of "evangelical daring" in his work to fix the broken state government. "We know they, over the next four years, will be deeply immersed in the work of evangelization by bringing about the transformation of our state and our society," Bishop Howard Hubbard said in his homily. LINK

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