According to Newsweek, the White House plans to aggressively enforce environmental regulations as they anticipate efforts from Republicans to strip authority from the EPA. Compromise on renewable energy standards is possible, but the posturing between Rep. Joe Barton, the chairman of the energy committee, and the administration, may make this terribly difficult. The GOP plans to hold high profile hearings examining the alleged "scientific fraud" behind global warming, a sleeper issue in this election that motivated the base quite a bit.
In December of 2009, Congress agreed to raise the debt limit by $290 billion. Two months later, it added $1.9 trillion worth of financial give to avoid having to vote to increase the limit again before the election. At $14.9 trillion, with deficits increasing, the administration will ask Congress to extend the limit in early 2011, probably after the State of the Union. (There is a chance that Congress could sneak the vote in in 2010 to avoid the much harder task of increasing it in 2011.) Either way, expect an energized Republican majority to vigorously attempt to limit the size of the increase, which is based on Treasury projections. Failing to increase the debt limit would not necessarily lead the nation to default on its obligations, as the Treasury can take drastic (but legal) action to avoid increasing the debt in the near term. But it can't stop-gap without harming confidence in the economy itself.
Alan Simpson, the co-chair of the President's debt commission, has said that the midterm elections could be "disruptive" to the work of his commission, which will recommend a series of spending cuts, means testing schemes and revenue raisers to put the country on a path toward reducing the percentage of debt relative to gross domestic product. The recommendations are due on December 1. A 7/9th vote of the commission would send them directly to Congress.
The three main entitlements, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid eat up all the revenue that the government takes in yearly. Everything seems to be on the table. A coalition of 50 House Democrats and some Republicans want to dramatically cut the defense budget, which exceeds $700 billion. That's a non-starter for the White House, but Obama specifically instructed commissioners to consider "everything." That's one reason why Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has prophylactically and fairly boldly attempted to trim the defense-industrial behemoth.
As Republicans campaigned on spending cuts, they refused to identify where and how they'd do it. (Sen John Cornyn and Boehner have both said that the debt commissions recommendations will be a starting point, essentially punting on this hardest of questions.) Obama's past few budgets have included some give, anticipating that he might have to cut non-domestic discretionary spending in future years, But Republicans will draw a much lower line. Pence, a leader of the Republican Study Committee and potential presidential candidate, made it clear before the election that he would countenance "no compromise" on such matters. Pence might not be around, though: He is said to be contemplating a step away from the leadership ranks in order to prepare said presidential bid.