Last Tuesday’s election was a loud rebuke of the tax-and-spend governance our country has endured for the last few years. The change of power in the House, as well as greater equalization in the Senate, are clear signals that Americans want fiscal responsibility, smaller government, and a departure from the hyper-partisanship displayed by the majority in achieving its goals.
The change that Tuesday promised will come in January, when the new Senators and Representatives take their seats. Before this happens, however, the nation faces a last ditch attempt by the ruling party to push expensive and contentious bills through congress in a lame duck session. Among them are the Card Check, Renewable Energy Standards, and other major legislation for which the electorate has so recently shown its distaste.
While it is not unusual for lame duck sessions to deal with routine, noncontroversial bills, or to legislate in times of national emergency, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid are convening congress with the explicit intention of ramming their noxious initiatives through while they still have the votes to do so. They are relying upon the votes of their colleagues who will not be returning next year due to massive public distaste for these very schemes. These defeated representatives are the walking dead, rising once more from the political graves they dug for themselves to feast upon the tax-dollars of the living. On November 15th, less than two weeks after their “demise,” they will return for the lame duck session becoming known as the “Zombie Congress.”
The coming Zomb-gress raises the danger that Americans could awake on Thanksgiving morning facing a newspaper full of putrid laws, thinking “didn’t we kill these bills on November 2nd?” Fortunately, the outlook isn’t all bad. The Senate has enough pro-business, small government votes to hold out against the hordes via filibuster, if necessary. In the words Sen. Jim DeMint: “we shouldn’t let a flock of lame duck legislators – who’ve been rejected at the ballot box and can never be held accountable again – to burden our children with a mountain of new debt.” In addition, a lame duck will have the unintended consequence of giving Republicans an opportunity to extend the Bush tax cuts for households of all incomes; this is one of the few remaining issues of the year that enjoys vast public support, and should be done as soon as possible.
Whatever the final outcome, it is clear that Tuesday’s fight is by-no-means over, and that the American people must remain vigilant in the coming weeks.
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