Now that the Thanksgiving turkey has been reduced to a memory or a few dried pieces in the back of the fridge, we are able to feast on a new fowl (or foul) the Lame Duck. The so called “Lame Duck Session” is a great example of Orwellian new-speak. A lame duck conjures up images of a broken, feeble animal that has been rendered helpless and nonthreatening. The Lame Duck Session in America’s Congress has proven to be anything but harmless. Since it’s inception, the Lame Duck Session has proven to be one of the most dangerous times for America.
Maybe it’s just me, but inviting previously fired employees back to make key decisions for the company seems like a really bad idea. This is the sad reality that America faces each November. Disgruntled and unaccountable government, almost fired, employees are allowed to cast votes for which they will never be held accountable. A Denver Post article about Lame Duck Session abuses sparked my curiosity about the history of Lame Duck legislation. The examples of legislative overreach and abuse that I found in just a few short minutes of research are enough to warrant a nationwide call to end the practice.
Lame Duck Sessions became the law of the land with the ratification of the Twentieth Amendment under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in January, 1933. The original intent for the law was that it be used for emergencies and to tie up financial loose ends, not as a mechanism to subvert the will of the voter and pass legislation through the back door. Some of the stinkers that became law during Lame Duck Sessions are: Gas Tax, GATT, Health Care Reform, Department of Homeland Security, GM Bailout, Congressional Pay Raise, and Immigration Reform (97th Congress)- just to name a few. Congress has put the passage of The Dream Act, Food Safety Bill (note: this bill passed but there is controversy about the legality of funding), Climate Change Legislation, and the START Treaty on its 2010 Lame Duck Christmas list.
All of this controversial legislation could have been voted on during the regular session if the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate had the political will to do so. Instead, Americans are waiting on pins and needles to find out if their taxes will go up while our (choke) “representatives” try to ram through these unpopular bills.
Republicans looked into their crystal ball over the summer and anticipated the ugly scenario of the 2010 Lame Duck Session. The following video is an interview of Georgia Representative Tom Price (R) who introduced in August, a bill to hault the 2010 Lame Duck Session. Obviously, the bill failed to pass but the case he puts forward still holds true.
It is time to remove the “get out of jail free” card from our politicians. The people spoke in November. They voted certain politicians OUT of office. It is an abuse of power and the principles of representative government to allow them to rush through major pieces of legislation in the eleventh hour.
I’m done with turkey. I want duck on my plate for Christmas dinner, a nice, juicy lame one.