The lame-duck session: Keep the GOP’s powder dry
Duck hunting season begins this week on Capitol Hill — lame duck, that is. The first test of newly empowered Republican leaders, who next year will shepherd congressional majorities in both chambers, will be to stand firm against any frivolity from soon-to-be minority Senate Democrats and in-name-only Republicans in both houses.
Historically, lame-duck sessions are notorious for self-serving legislation if not disastrous swan songs from lawmakers heading for the door. Heaven knows what nonsense disillusioned Democrats (or some Republicans) will try to push through.
On must-pass measures both fiscal (the appropriations bill) and military, close attention must be paid to any add-ons, especially new legislation that the next GOP-led Congress will have to swallow. On the other hand, some tax breaks set to expire at year’s end must be addressed.
Then there’s President Obama with his pen and phone, suggesting unilateral action on wholesale amnesty for illegal aliens. This is not what Americans voted for on Nov. 4.
“He will poison the well, and there will be no chance for immigration reform moving,” says House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
There’s also the president’s pending replacement for Attorney General Eric Holder. Forcing an unpopular nomination now would ignite a firefight.
Fortunately, observers expect a short-lived lame-duck session. What the GOP does — and doesn’t do — will set the stage for the next Congress.