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CONGRESS: GOP plans big early push

The New York Times: "In taking control of Congress on Tuesday, Republicans say they will quickly advance energy and health care legislation that stalled in the Democratic-controlled Senate as they try to make good on claims, and address doubts, that they can govern effectively ... Yet a sour note is possible on Tuesday as Speaker John A. Boehner seeks his third term as the House leader. Some disgruntled conservatives have said they will not back Mr. Boehner — he was embarrassed when a dozen defected two years ago — and a coup, while unlikely, would represent a disastrous beginning."

Indeed, Louie Gohmert on Sunday announced a long-shot challenge to House Speaker John Boehner.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to the Post’s Paul Kane: “I don’t want the American people to think that if they add a Republican president to a Republican Congress, that’s going to be a scary outcome. I want the American people to be comfortable with the fact that the Republican House and Senate is a responsible, right-of-center, governing majority.”

"Republicans plan to start with narrowly focused legislation, such as approving a long-disputed pipeline project and adjusting the federal health law’s requirement that companies provide health insurance for employees who work as little as 30 hours a week," writes the Wall Street Journal. "Bigger-ticket measures to reduce government spending and overhaul the tax code are expected to follow."

The New York Times offers up a profile of Rep. Steve Scalise, described as "a politician of relentless outreach in service of relentless ambition."

The Hill on the Republicans reports on the lawmakers who will vote against Boehner.

OBAMA AGENDA: Test drive

"President Barack Obama this week will test whether he still has the sway to keep Washington focused on his own priorities, even as a new Republican-run Congress descends on the Capitol eager to take him on," writes the AP.

The president will hit the road to test-drive his message before the State of the Union, writes Mike Memoli of the LA Times.

Writes the Washington Post: "The frustration and defiance of the nation’s police officers were on display again Sunday in New York City, where tens of thousands of them gathered for the funeral of the second of two officers who were slain at the height of the ongoing protests and scrutiny after several high-profile deaths of unarmed black males."

Former Obama economic adviser Larry Summers pushes for a carbon tax in the Washington Post.

Reuters: "Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that the United States might want to "re-examine" the timetable for removing the remaining U.S.-led coalition troops in the country by the end of 2016."

OFF TO THE RACES: Huckabee leaves Fox News, mulls 2016 campaign

Mike Huckabee is leaving Fox News to mull a 2016 campaign.

The Washington Post reminds of the political troubles Huckabee faced as a candidate in 2008, writing that, this time, he "would be dogged from the start by questions about his organizational and fundraising abilities."

From the Wall Street Journal: "Interviews with more than half of Democratic chiefs in Iowa’s 99 counties show a state party leadership so far reluctant to coalesce behind Mrs. Clinton. County Democratic officials also voiced qualms about Mrs. Clinton’s ability to win a general election and her fundraising ties to Wall Street firms and corporations, which remain a target of liberal ire."

(But an important point here: Iowa Democrats have EVERY economic/political incentive to want a Dem nominating fight.)

The Journal also writes that concern about his family is a major factor in Gov. Chris Christie's decision-making on a 2016 run.

Speaking of Christie, he embraced Jerry Jones in the owner’s luxury box after the Cowboys’ playoff victory over the Detroit Lions.

Bobby Jindal will meet with Iowa pastors on Tuesday, reports the Des Moines Register.

The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, on Ted Cruz: "He has become so identified with an ideologically extreme and politically impractical brand of conservatism that he has put off just about everyone else who may vote in the GOP primaries."

CALIFORNIA: The LA Times: “Four years after calling for "courage and sacrifice" to dig California out of the depths of recession, Jerry Brown begins an unprecedented fourth term as governor Monday amid an economic rebound that has delivered near-record job growth and a state budget surplus. Ironically, those good fortunes are among many forces that could undercut, or certainly test, the Democratic governor's ability to accomplish a series of goals that have been years in the making.”

FLORIDA: From the Miami Herald: "Florida Gov. Rick Scott will begin his second term Tuesday by striking a low-key, businesslike tone starkly different from the lavish celebration of four years ago that launched a rocky and mistake-prone first year in office."

MASSACHUSETTS: From the Boston Globe: "Edward W. Brooke, the Massachusetts Republican who was the first African-American to be elected to the US Senate since Reconstruction, died Saturday morning in his Coral Gables, Fla., home. ... Mr. Brooke served in the Senate from 1967 to 1979. Elected attorney general in 1962 and reelected two years later, he was the first African-American to hold that office in any state."


*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall talks to Larry Wilkins, the man who helped the 7 year old plane crash survivor when she knocked on his door. Tamron also interviews David Goodman from the New York Times about NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio and NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton’s announcement this afternoon, Dave Zirin from The Nation about Stuart Scott’s legacy, and in today’s Born in the U$A: Lauren Thom, founder and CEO of Fleurty Girl.

*** Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews the Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen, the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart, the Atlantic’s Molly Ball, the Wilson Center’s Aaron David Miller, MLK Biographer David Garrow, ESPN’s Sage Steele and NBC’s Ron Mott and Kelly Cobiella and the Weather Channel’s Mike Seidel.