Republicans' New Year's Resolutions: Repeal, Resist and Investigate

As power shifts in Congress, the GOP prepares its agenda.

Jan. 3, 2011 — -- President Obama returns from his Hawaiian holiday this week to a changed Washington where Republicans will control the House of Representatives.

In his weekly YouTube address, the president tried to extend an olive branch across the aisle.

"In a few days, a new Congress will form, with one house controlled by Democrats, and one house controlled by Republicans, who now have a shared responsibility to move this country forward," he said this weekend. "And here's what I want you to know: I'm willing to work with anyone of either party who's got a good idea and the commitment to see it through."

But don't count on a new era of bipartisanship any time soon. Congress's new Republicans and old Democrats are already at war.

Lawmakers sparred Sunday during talk shows about the national debt, for starters. Even as the debt races toward $14 trillion, some Republicans said they would oppose extending the debt limit beyond the current $14.3 trillion, although such a move could shut down the government.

Republicans are threatening to cut off the ability of the government to borrow money unless spending goes back to where it was before the stimulus and before the banking bailout.

"I'm not going to vote for a debt-ceiling increase unless we go back to 2008 spending levels," Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

One of the president's top economic advisers, Austan Goolsbee, said on ABC's "This Week" that not raising the debt ceiling would be "catastrophic" for the country and could make the country default.

Goolsbee called politicians who would vote against raising the debt limit "insane."

But one of the new breed of Republicans said the government should live on a budget as every-day Americans do.

"There's such a disconnect between this town and the rest of the world," said Rep.-elect Mike Kelly, R-Pa., who will take office with a slew of new Republicans coming to Congress for the first time later this week.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., chided Kelly, however, on the CBS program "Face the Nation" for being unrealistic.

"And this real-world stuff is going to get old really fast." he said. "This is now your job. Social Security does have to be paid for. Medicare does have to be paid for. But this idea like the real world. I don't..."

Kelly cut him off.

"You're very amusing," Kelly said. "You're very amusing. You have never in your life ... done anything on your own with your own skin in the game."

Health Care Revisited

The debt ceiling fight is on the horizon. More immediately, Republicans will start with health-care overhaul, signed into law last year after a bruising, lengthy legislative battle.

One of the first votes of the new Congress in 2011 will be an effort to repeal the health care bill Democrats passed in 2010. That repeal effort will likely fail in the Senate, which is still controlled by Democrats.

But Republicans will then try to starve the bill of money.

"'Obamacare' will bankrupt the country," Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said on CBS Sunday. "You'll continue to see us make that fight because that's what the American people want us to do."

Powerful Chairman

The third line of attack: investigations. The new Republican sheriff is Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who will chair the House committee in charge of government investigations.

Issa has said he's planning a barrage of hearings on everything from Medicare fraud to the government's failure to prevent the BP oil spill.

"The sooner the administration figures out that the enemy is the bureaucracy and the wasteful spending, not the other party," Issa said Sunday, "the better off we'll be."