CFR.org just posted a “First Take” I did for them on the start of the 112th Congress. The piece argues that deficits and the debt will dominate the congressional debate in the months to come (I know, a novel idea!) and that foreign policy won’t provide much to fight about barring an unforeseen crisis.
Both parties have taken one potentially explosive national security issue--cuts in defense spending--off the table. Obama is unlikely to demand a vote on any controversial treaties after his bruising fight to secure passage of New START.
The White House has signaled that any Afghan drawdown that starts this summer will be small and slow, which will give Republicans little to complain about. The White House and Republicans might actually cooperate to pass several modest trade agreements that have been languishing.
A lot of good stuff is being written on the debt and deficit problems this week. Try here, here, here, and here. Bone up on the issues now and you’ll sound like a public finance economist by the time of the showdown vote.