It’s been a rocky year and a half for the American people, who have continued to suffer from high unemployment rates and a sagging economy. And rather than addressing these tough issues facing Americans, the 111th Congress has instead focused on controversial pieces of legislation, massive in size, dramatic in impact, and unfathomable in cost. With only a few full weeks of session scheduled before the end of the year, many Americans have begun breathing a sigh of relief that many of the most controversial pieces of legislation on Speaker Pelosi and President Obama’s agenda will most likely not have time to pass. Perhaps they shouldn’t breathe too quickly – discussions of a possible “lame duck” session have already begun to hit the airwaves.
A “lame duck” session of Congress occurs whenever one Congress meets after its successor is elected, but before the term of the current Congress ends. Historically, these sessions have been used to tie up loose ends. However, the word around Washington has been that congressional Democrats could use this time to pursue an aggressive and substantive agenda during a lame duck session before they lose a large number of seats in both the House and the Senate – and possibly the majority in one or both chambers.
The problem with a lame duck session is that it occurs after many members of Congress have been voted out of office or have retired. They are no longer held accountable for their actions by their constituents and can choose to enact legislation that they usually may not support. Top items in the lame duck session could be the controversial cap-and-tax plan, radical overhaul of our immigration laws, and massive new spending bills aimed at funding their liberal agenda.
Simply put, this is not the way to govern. Lame duck sessions should only be used to wrap up necessary business Congress was unable to complete – not to pass divisive and unpopular legislation that would dramatically alter the way our country operates.