After Rahm Emanuel resigned his position as White House chief of staff and announced his intent to run for mayor of Chicago, it seemed his bid would be challenging as he would face a number of other contenders. The New York Times indicates, however, that the flood of people interested in succeeding Mayor Richard Daley has trickled, but that Emanuel continues to face a number of other challenges, most notably reacquainting himself with the ins and outs of Chicago politics.

Among the many controversial debates awaiting congressional newcomers is that of an earmarks ban. This week, both the House and Senate Republican conferences will be voting on whether they should impose a ban on earmarks — special projects to which congressmen appropriate funds in spending bills. The vote will likely be one of many issues that signal a divide between veteran Republicans, establishment Republicans, and those of the Tea Party caucus.

The mainstream news has been relatively quiet in the last month about a recent and significant Chinese investment in South Texas oil. But Tom Pauken, chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission, has expressed concern about long-term effects of such deals on the U.S. economy and possible threats to Texas.

Following the results of the midterm elections, Nancy Pelosi declared her intent to maintain a leadership role in the U.S. House of Representatives, though in a different capacity during the 112th session of Congress — as House Minority Leader. However, Pelosi’s pursuit of the coveted position will be challenged by North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler, who contends that while he does not believe himself to have a chance to secure the position, he has elected to vie for it in order to make a statement against Pelosi’s leadership.

As predicted, the DREAM Act is at the top of the “To-Do” list for the Lame Duck session — a period ranging from November 15 to the swearing in of new congressmen on January 3. Virtually the pet project of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also stated her support for voting on the DREAM Act during the lame-duck session, revealing that the chances of passage in the House of Representatives may be high.

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