Tales from the Trail

This lame duck sure can fly

December 21, 2010

Congress seems to work better under deadline pressure (like journalists).

Democrats are racing to cram as much through the post-election lame duck session as possible, before their majority turns into a pumpkin when Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in January.

HUNGARYRepublicans are grumbling about all the rush, but President Barack Obama went to their pond with some bread — tax cut extensions for the wealthy — so they aren’t quacking too loudly.

The lame duck session of Congress has produced — tax cut extensions have been signed into law, the repeal of “Don’t Ask , Don’t Tell” to allow gays to serve openly in the military will be signed into law tomorrow, and the START treaty is moving toward ratification.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he was “baffled” as to why Senate Democrats can’t wait a month, when MORE REPUBLICANS are seated, to take up START (we think the answer is contained in his question).

Democrats distributed a flier with pictures of prominent Republicans like former President George H.W. Bush, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who support START, and a lone picture of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in opposition. 

“The individuals in the first group have over a century of foreign policy experience between them, and have worked closely on U.S.-Russia relations for decades. On the other hand, Palin can see Russia from her house. Apparently, that’s good enough for many Senate Republicans,” the flier said.

Congress failed to pass any of the appropriations bills to fund the U.S. government for the year, but is expected to approve short-term funding until  early March.

“The lame duck has not been very lame at all. In fact it has been very productive,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said.

One person not yet doing a victory lap is President Obama, who is “superstitious” and wants to work on getting the remaining items through, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. “I wait to see the manifestation of the end of that superstition at its appropriate time.”

Photo credit: Reuters/Laszlo Balogh (wild duck flying over farm in Hungary)

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