The Lame Duck Season

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While Republicans are also confident cap and trade will not be passed in its full form, they do hope to win some smaller victories on energy issues. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), for instance, is expected to follow up on his promise to call for a suspension of EPA regulations on greenhouse gas producers — including coal — for two years to give energy industries time to perfect clean technologies.

Any chance of either Republican or Democratic success during the lame duck period, however, has several unavoidable and seemingly insurmountable roadblocks. For Republicans, passage of any favorable legislative items, even with Democratic support, may still run into a presidential veto, with little to no chance for an override.

For Democrats, any passage of the remnants of their cherished legislative agenda is not likely to reach the White House for a presidential signature, but will die, instead, on the Senate floor. Democrats, already one vote short of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, will see that number increase with the addition of Illinois Senate Republican Mark Kirk, who will immediately fulfill the remaining 60 days left in Democrat Roland Burris’s term.

However, Republicans may be able to count on new allies in the remaining moderate Democrat senators, such as Nebraska’s Ben Nelson and Montana’s Jon Tester.

But Republicans cannot quite yet rest on these assumptions. 2010 has proven to be a very unconventional year and months still remain on its calendar. Perhaps between upcoming legislative breaks, Republicans will find respite in the congressional attention provided by the separate corruption cases of two of the most longstanding Democratic representatives, Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Maxine Waters (D-CA), whose trials are scheduled to be held November 15 and November 29, respectively.

Speculation aside, at least what we can assume is that any real and meaningful legislative ventures will begin in earnest come January 3, 2011, when new House Speaker John Boehner announces the introduction of the Republican legislative agenda and political concerns officially shift over to the Democratic side of the aisle.

Frank Crimi is a freelance writer living in San Diego, California. You can read more of Frank’s work at his blog, or contact him at

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  • Lawrence Kohn

    The most important concern is preventing a vote on the START treaty which significantly disadvantages the US vs Russia. This may be Obama's only chance to get it through the Senate.

    • Justin Moore

      Another great place to start would be the allowance of expiration of the bush tax cuts. If everyone from the bottom up is going to suffer, I think it is time the top down suffers as well. We are all in the same boat together, and it should not float by throwing some overboard and leaving others to escape scott free…

  • sflbib

    There are 41 republicans in the senate who should bork any new legislation during the lame duck session.

  • Wesley69

    The START treaty requires a 2/3rd's approval so it will go down to defeat.

    Republicans picked up Obama's seat and Mark Kirk, I believe, will be seated immediately. That will make 42 Republicans. If Republicans hold their ground, the Dems with 58 will not be able to stop a filibuster.

    Unfortunatley, there is no checks in the House. The comforting fact is that all bills must pass both houses in identical form. That is where it should break down.

    No Cap & Trade. No Card Check. No Dream Act. Then January comes and we are in better shape to stop Obama's transformation.

    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Thomas Jefferson

  • Wesley69

    Reid must be stopped in his efforts to add measures that should be voted on independently to the Defense Reauthorization bill.

    Reid is betting that by reintroduce both the DREAM Act, (fast-track undocumented aliens to legal citizenship), and the repeal of the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

    Henry knows the only way to kill the Dream Act and the Gay Okay Act is to vote against the Defense Reauthorization bill. He believes Republicans will not filibuster it , because if they do, defense suffers. Reid, you evil Wiesel!!!!

    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Thomas Jefferson

  • Bob Johnson

    wow you people are idiots.