August 23, 2010 Print
Capitol Building - CitizenLink

Democrats Look to ‘Lame-Duck’ Session to Pass Unpopular Bills

by Catherine Snow

With just 70 days remaining until the 2010 midterm elections, congressional Democrats appear to be preparing for the worst – the possible loss of their majorities in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. Regardless of the electoral outcome, the American people should also be preparing for the worst – the “lame-duck” session.

The lame-duck session comes after an election and before newly-elected officials are sworn in.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calf., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have signaled they will call a lame-duck session between Nov. 2 and Jan. 3.  The defeat of the “No Lame-Duck Session” resolution, offered by Republican Study Chairman Tom Price of Georgia, confirmed their plan.

Many polls indicating that the prospects of the Democrats retaining control of one or both chambers are growing dimmer by the day. Yet, recent comments by leading Democrats show not a contrite spirit over the public’s sound rejection of mounting taxes and government takeovers.

Rather, Democrats continue to display a brazen disregard for the will of the people.


Despite the reality that they could receive “pink slips” from American voters, Democrats continue to tout plans to serve up more “change”:

  • Sen. Reid told liberal activists, “Frustration with the Democratic Party was a major theme during the four-day event, where progressives voiced their loss of patience with those in power for not doing enough to make major policy changes…We’re going to have to have a lame-duck session. So we’re not giving up.”
  • Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Senate Budget chairman, said this Lame-duck session could be “one of the most significant lame-duck sessions in the history of the United States.”
  • Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D- W. Va, told reporters in June: “I’ve got lots of things I want to do” in a lame-duck session.
  • Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chair of the Senate committee overseeing labor issues, said during the Bill Press radio show, “to those who think [card check] is dead, I say think again. We’re still trying to maneuver a way to pass some parts of the bill before the next Congress is sworn in.”
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said when asked about the session, “I’m not going to make any announcement today what we will be taking up in terms of timing, but we will be taking them up.”  Nadeam Elshami, Pelosi’s spokesman, said “We’ve dealt with major issues (this session) and will continue to deal with our work. And, we will not take scheduling advice from Republicans. Simple as that.”
  • Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., who staunchly supports the gay agenda, said, “I’m more hopeful about the lame-duck session. I have faith that we’re going to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
  • Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters in July that “the lame-duck (session) would be the last chance, quite honestly, for the foreseeable future,” to pass Card Check – a union priority.

Surprising everyone, liberal Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis. –who is in a tough re-election battle – came out against the lame-duck meeting.

“By allowing votes just after an election, but before the newly elected Congress takes office, lame-duck sessions provide an opportunity to override the public’s will as expressed at the ballot box,” he said. “Rather than schedule a lame-duck session this year, Congress should complete its work before the upcoming elections.”


Among the most significant bills deliberately not addressed prior to the General Election:

  • DISCLOSE Act: President Obama reiterated last week his desire to see the DISCLOSE Act passed. “(Companies) can buy millions of dollars worth of TV ads — and worst of all, they don’t even have to reveal who is actually paying for them. A group can hide behind a phony name like Citizens for a Better Future, even if a more accurate name would be Corporations for Weaker Oversight.”
  • “Cap and Trade” Bill: A June 28 article in The New York Times declared, ‘‘many expect the final energy or climate bill to be worked out during the lame-duck session between the November election and the start of the new Congress in January.”  Receiving pressure from liberal activists, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed that Congress could pass a modest energy bill this summer, and then add carbon taxes or regulations in a conference committee with the House during a lame-duck session.
  • Gay agenda: The Human Rights Campaign sees the window closing on its priorities and has launched a website to push the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”(DADT) and passage of the so-called Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA):

Congress must vote on pro-equality legislation this term. Contact your senators and urge them to repeal DADT. You also need to contact your representative and senators and urge them to pass an inclusive ENDA this year. We need you to meet, call and write now. The clock is ticking. The Countdown begins now.”

Rep. Price said Americans should know where elected officials stand on the issues before going into the voting booth, but their trust has been repeatedly broken in this Congress.

“Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid have delayed dealing with a number of far-reaching and controversial issues until after Election Day; precisely so Democrats do not have to reveal to the electorate their support for more trillion dollar deficits, tax hikes on families and small businesses, and a job-killing national energy tax,” Price said. “Our system of government rests upon the consent of the governed, but it is quite clear that Democrats no longer have Americans’ consent.”


Read the “No Lame-duck Session” resolution.

Read the Aug. 10 article, “Democrats Vote Down Ban on Lame-duck Session of Congress.”

Read, “Gibbs suggests climate measures could be added to Senate bill.”

Read, “Charlie Cook to Dems: You know you’re going to get totally destroyed in November, right?”