A new year, a new Congress and a new set of problems will greet those returning to Washington from their holiday vacations. With the first tranche of bailout money overallocated by the Treasury Department and scant improvement in the housing market, there´s no chance of 2009 getting off to a slow start. While there are just three official hearings scheduled, observers of the Hill anticipate action on some or all of the major issues: a stimulus package, the housing crisis, appropriations and regulatory restructuring.

Monday

The House Financial Services Committee is holding an afternoon hearing on the effects the ponzi scheme perpetrated by investor Bernard Madoff could have on regulatory restructuring. Witnesses have yet to be announced. This is the first hearing about the Madoff scandal on the Hill, but Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Penn., who is chairman of the financial services subcommittee on capital markets, announced in mid-Dec. that he would lead an inquiry into the scandal once Congress officially convened this year.

Tuesday

The new Congress will officially convene. Incoming senators will not yet have their committee assignments.

At 2pm, Dan Iannicola, Jr the deputy assistant secretary for financial education at the Treasury will speak at a meeting of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy.

The Federal Reserve Board will release the minutes from its Dec. 16 Federal Open Markets Committee meeting.

Wednesday

Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., will preside over a hearing on the priorities for the incoming presidential administration´s use of the bailout money starting at 10am. No witnesses have been announced yet.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will speak to the Economic Club at noon at the J.W. Marriott. He´ll be reviewing the past six months´ worth of actions the Treasury has taken on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and will also offer "a look ahead," according to a spokeswoman. His talk is officially titled the "Role of the GSEs in Supporting the Housing Recovery."

Thursday

The Fed will release its latest statistics on consumer credit.

Friday

The Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the Federal Housing Administration´s oversight of lenders. Witnesses haven´t yet been announced.