The Hill

By Amie Parnes – 01/05/14 06:00 AM EST

President Obama returns to Washington on Sunday hoping to build momentum for a thick agenda that didn’t go very far during the first year of his second term.

The president will have has hands full: Right off the bat, he’ll be faced with questions about the rollout of ObamaCare and a major address on the NSA in the middle of January.

He’ll also be making a big push to extend federal unemployment benefits as the White House seeks to make income inequality a major issue in this year’s midterm elections.

After a rocky 2013 that saw his poll numbers sag, Obama will look to re-launch his second term during a State of the Union address later this month that will set the tone for the midterm elections.

White House officials acknowledge there’s much to do on the heels of the president’s two-week vacation in Hawaii.

The president’s advisers hope comprehensive immigration reform, perhaps Obama’s number one goal of his second term, can still be in play in 2014.

“It remains a top, top, top priority,” a White House official said.

And Obama’s most pressing concern is to retain the Senate. Republicans believe they can win the six seats they’d need to take over the upper chamber, something that would force Obama to play defense in his remaining years in office.

To bolster the chances for Democratic Senate candidates and Obama’s agenda, White House aides are looking to tap into the themes of fairness and equality—which they believe helped Obama win the presidency twice.

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