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Congress to tackle guns, money, Benghazi

What’s ahead this week on the Hill.

Just as soon as Barack Obama is sworn into office on Monday, lawmakers will get to work with an immeasurable agenda that ranges from gun control to disaster aid, a pay raise for bureaucrats and the Senate‚??s organizational rules for filibusters.

Because the filibuster rule could only be changed on the official first day of the legislative session on Jan. 3, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had to employ an unusual trick to make Day No. 1 last until after the inauguration on Jan. 22‚??that‚??s 19 days in human time‚??when Democrats could find time to get to the matter. Republicans are expected to block any changes to the historic tactic; it‚??s one of the few tools a minority has to exert any power in the upper chamber.

Reid has also pledged to bring up some form of gun control, but not the ‚??assault weapons‚?Ě variety, and the Senate is expected to vote on final passage of a massive Hurricane Sandy aid package criticized by some Republicans as loaded with massive pork spending unrelated to the disaster.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will finally make an appearance on Capitol Hill to give testimony on what transpired in Benghazi, first to a Senate panel on Tuesday then a House committee on Thursday.

RELATED: House GOP plays small ball with offer to raise debt ceiling

The House is expected to vote on a bill this week to reverse a pay raise for federal workers that was ordered by Obama as Republican lawmakers were in a deadlock with the president over fiscal cliff negotiations.

Senate committees will be preparing for a flurry of confirmation hearings to wade through Obama‚??s Cabinet picks to help him lead during his second term.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last week was the most recent official to resign his post; no successor has been named. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold confirmation hearing on Thursday for Sen. John Kerry to head the State Department.

Written By

Audrey Hudson is an award-winning investigative journalist whose enterprise reporting has sparked numerous congressional investigations that led to laws signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She won the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award for Public Service in 2009 for her report on dangerous drug experiments by the federal government on war veterans, which prompted internal investigations and needed reforms within the Veterans Affairs Department. The report also captured first place for investigative reporting by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a finalist of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Webby Awards for news and politics. Her breaking stories have been picked up and followed by major news publications and periodicals, including Readers Digest, Washington Monthly, and The Weekly Standard, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post. With nearly 20 years of experience in Washington as a newspaper reporter and as a Capitol Hill staffer for Western lawmakers, she will now lead Human Events‚?? coverage of energy and environmental issues. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades -- on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court. Audrey‚??s email is AHudson@EaglePub.Co