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Congress: GOP says jobs focus is coming 'soon'

“The Republican Party won dozens of elections last fall after claiming Democrats had focused too little on creating jobs, but now GOP lawmakers stand accused of the same thing,” the AP writes. “Republicans are using their new House majority to push for a repeal of President Obama’s health care law and for restrictions on abortions, and to highlight other social issues important to their most conservative supporters. Examples include limiting jury awards in medical malpractice cases and expanding the District of Columbia’s school voucher program. Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who oversaw GOP House campaigns in past years, defended the early focus on health and abortion. ‘These are commitments we made’ during the fall campaign, he said, adding that a heavier emphasis on jobs is coming soon.”

“Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl plans to announce his 2012 intentions in February, and a decision by the Arizona Republican to retire could ignite a heated race for his No. 2 slot while unleashing significant changes within the GOP leadership,” Roll Call writes.

AP

Republican Marco Rubio speaks after winning his Senate bid in November.

Roll Call: A year ago, then-candidate Marco Rubio received a megastar welcome when he was introduced by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) as a keynote speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference annual gathering in Washington, D.C. But when CPAC kicks off next week, Florida’s freshman Senator plans to be miles away from the gathering — with Lincoln Day dinners in Miami-Dade and Pinellas counties as the top priorities on his February calendar. The invitation to address the widely covered conservative meeting is far from the first request Rubio has turned down; it is part of a calculated effort to stay out of the national spotlight as much as possible."

AP

Republican David Rivera is shown speaking to supporters in Coral Gables, Fla. in November.

“Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) is facing heightened criticism Friday after the Associated Press reported that the freshman lawmaker paid himself more than $60,000 in unexplained campaign reimbursements during his time in the state Legislature,” Roll Call writes. “Specifically, the Associated Press found that Rivera, who was already facing a state criminal investigation of his finances, didn’t report any details for more than one-third of the expenses for which he reimbursed himself. He simply called them ‘campaign expenses,’ according to the AP review.”

Republicans aren’t the only ones with an ethics problem. “Rep. Gregory Meeks is the subject of a congressional ethics probe centered on his financial-disclosure forms, which have been rife with omissions, The [New York] Post has learned. The investigation by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is ongoing even as the panel's leadership changed with the new Congress, a source told The Post. The lapses in the Queens Democrat's annual financial filings include his failure to reveal at least one of his wife's sources of income -- a teaching job at Queens College, The Post has learned.”

“Senate Republicans are divided over whether to demand a balanced-budget amendment from the White House as a precondition for increasing the national debt ceiling,” The Hill reports.

Glad that’s settled… Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) “settled a suit against a Capitol Hill cafeteria that he filed after he damaged his tooth biting down on an olive pit in a sandwich wrap in 2008,” the New York Daily News reports, adding, “On Friday, the two sides settled for an undisclosed amount, that was supposed to reflect the out-of-pocket damages Kucinich had to pay for his woes.”