OVERNIGHT MONEY: Republicans gear up for busy Congress

GOP lawmakers will focus on near-term issues, including their options for legislation to raise the debt ceiling and extract spending cuts from Democrats. 

Beside the debt ceiling, they will discuss a plan for replacing scheduled spending cuts and the government funding that is set to run out at the end of March.

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Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress earlier this week that the nation faces a possible mid-February deadline to raise the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling. 

There are plenty of other issues, including the hot topics of gun control and immigration. 

The annual retreat comes as congressional Republicans face pressure from business groups and President Obama, and even some in their own party, to avoid another protracted battle over the debt ceiling with a looming second credit downgrade and possible damage to an economy that has yet to reach a breakneck speed. 

Republicans will bring in a bevy of speakers to the Kingsmill retreat to chat about the issues. 


WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR

Mayors meeting: About 300 mayors are meeting in Washington for their winter talks that will be highlighted by appearances by congressional leaders and Obama administration officials. 

Vice President Biden will make an appearance on Thursday to talk about the White House's push for deficit reduction, sequestration cuts and measures to spur jobs and economic growth. Other issues topping the agenda are gun control and school safety, Hurricane Sandy response, immigration and the threat to tax exempt municipal bonds.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) will chat with the mayors about the issues. 


ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Initial Claims: The Labor Department releases its weekly filings for jobless benefits.

Mortgage Rates: Freddie Mac is releasing weekly data on fixed-rate mortgages, which have been hovering around historic lows.  

Housing Starts-Building Permits: The Commerce Department releases its December report on the number of residential units under construction along with building permits, which allow work to start and are a forward-looking indicator of where the sector is headed. 


WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— Fed's Beige Book reports 'modest or moderate' growth across US
— Business Roundtable backs Medicare privatization
— House will vote to reverse pay raise for federal workers
— Obama waives Helms-Burton sanctions against Cuba
— GOP puts forward schedule to get budget done ahead of deadline
— Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley to pay $557M over shoddy foreclosure practices
— Builder confidence remains steady in January
— House Dems offer bill to abolish debt limit


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