Nov 15, 2010

Hobbled Democrats and eager Republicans enter lame-duck session today

From a Boston Globe report at the link below:

It's still seven more weeks before the Republicans' dream election becomes a reality, but change already is in the air as lawmakers return Monday for a post election session of Congress.

More than 100 freshmen, 90 percent of them Republicans, arrive on Capitol Hill to be schooled on the jobs they will assume when the next Congress convenes in January.

The report says lame-duck sessions are usually unpopular and unproductive, and that's more the case this year.

Republicans are looking ahead to January, when they will take back control of the House while many Democrat lawmakers and staff are more focused on cleaning out their desks and looking for new jobs.

That doesn't mean the lame-duck Democrats won't be busy. Democrat leadership in the House will see to that as they plan last-minute legislation.

Congress must act before year's end on expiring Bush-era tax cuts to protect millions of people from significant tax increases. Lawmakers have failed to pass even a single annual spending bill this year, so they must now act to keep federal agencies financed and avoid a government shutdown. They also may shield doctors from a crippling cut in Medicare reimbursements.

Democrats still have large majorities until January and it will be interesting to see how much they can get done.

Congress will be in session for a week, break for Thanksgiving week and then return on Nov. 29, staying until lawmakers either complete their work or give up.