Politics

GOP Lawmakers Prepare for Battle Over Stimulus, Leadership Post

The freshman class of new lawmakers will hit the ground running in Washington, D.C., this week as they experience orientation into the hallowed halls of Congress with plenty of drama waiting for them.

House Republicans are going through a power struggle. Two GOP leaders -- Whip Roy Blunt and Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam of Florida have both stepped down from their posts. But despite losing more than 20 seats in the House in the Nov. 4 election, Minority Leader John Boehner is vowing to fight to keep his spot as the top Republican in the House.

He's got a serious challenger in California Rep. Dan Lungren, however. Lungren says it's time for a shake-up since the American people clearly don't want any more of the status quo.

"We need to show the American people, We hear you. We understand you're disappointed. We're disappointed too," Lungren said. "We're going to do the unconventional. We're actually going to make ourselves uncomfortable because we're fighting for you back here in Washington, D.C. Until the American people believe we're their fighters we're not going to be their leaders."

Over on the Senate side, Tuesday is judgment day for Sen. Joe Lieberman. Fellow Democrats are furious that the Connecticut senator actively campaigned for Republican Sen. John McCain in McCain's bid for the White House.

Lieberman will make his case this week that he should remain chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, but the Democratic caucus is unlikely to appreciate his case, and he could have his chairmanship pulled out from under him by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Lieberman also faces the possibility of being kicked out of the Democratic caucus. Republicans say they'd be happy to welcome him to their side of the aisle.

That situation will play out as Democrats are also fighting Republicans to get a stimulus package passed.

"Now, last month there was an apoplectic seizure over the notion that consumer spending was down. Well, you know what? Consumer spending is not going to go up if people are out of work. You've got to put people back on the payroll. That's when you get consumer spending to drive the economy again," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., in pushing the package on "FOX News Sunday."

President-elect Barack Obama has said if Democrats don't get that package passed this week, it will be his No. 1 priority when he takes office.

But it's clear Obama will face opposition this week as the existing Congress -- headed into a lame duck session -- still contains enough Republicans to stop a stimulus plan.

"First of all, where does the money come from?" Sen. Jon Kyl asked on Sunday. "Washington doesn't grow money on trees. It gets it from the American people. And when you take it from families, when you take it from small businesses, you're taking money right out of the area that we need -- where we need production, that creates jobs."

Dorgan said that jobs will be created if the government funds big projects.

"There is a time when you have to make significant investments, and those investments would produce assets -- building roads, building bridges, building schools, libraries, repairing all those things. All of that puts people to work immediately," he said.

FOX News' Shannon Bream contributed to this report.