Free Markets, Free People

Lame ducks, last hurrahs, Congress and card check

It appears that Congressional Democrats are finally at the “acceptance” stage of the grieving process over their upcoming losses in Congress.  And the reality of those losses is propelling some to look at the lame duck session of Congress as the last opportunity to pass some of their and their clientel’s most desired legislation.

For instance:

In the House, Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters last month that for bills like "card check"—the measure to curb secret-ballot union elections—"the lame duck would be the last chance, quite honestly, for the foreseeable future."

And you can count on them pulling out all the stops to do so.  The same goes for the Senate:

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, chair of the Senate committee overseeing labor issues, told the Bill Press radio show in June that "to those who think [card check] is dead, I say think again." He told Mr. Press "we’re still trying to maneuver" a way to pass some parts of the bill before the next Congress is sworn in.

Of course they are – the handwriting on the wall is in seemingly permanent marker.  What they’re doing, frankly, isn’t surprising or unusual.  But it could be very damaging.  John Fund quotes Jay Rockefeller as saying, “I’ve got lots of things I want to get done”.   The lame duck also said:

"It could be a huge deal," he told Roll Call last month. "We could get the country on a sound long-term fiscal path."

Which Fund opines, undoubtedly means new taxes in exchange for extending some (but not all) of the Bush tax cuts.

But wait there’s more.  Fund lists a few probable lame duck priorities for the Democrats:

Senate ratification of the New Start nuclear treaty, a federally mandated universal voter registration system to override state laws, and a budget resolution to lock in increased agency spending.

Then there is pork. A Senate aide told me that "some of the biggest porkers on both sides of the aisle are leaving office this year, and a lame-duck session would be their last hurrah for spending." Likely suspects include key members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Congress’s "favor factory," such as Pennsylvania Democrat Arlen Specter and Utah Republican Bob Bennett.

And finally:

President Obama failed to mention climate change legislation during his recent, Oval Office speech on the Gulf oil spill was that he wants to pass a modest energy bill this summer, then add carbon taxes or regulations in a conference committee with the House, most likely during a lame-duck session.

That’s a very ambitious and, frankly costly and destructive lame duck legislative agenda.

Whether or not they can get all those balls in the air remains to be seen. Blue Dog Democrats, who face the toughest races of all, may not be as easily gulled into supporting any of these items given the fallout from health care reform.

But that probably won’t stop Pelosi and Reid – of Obama – from pushing the agenda since they have to be aware this is likely their last chance to do so.  And they proved with health care that they’ll throw anyone under the bus to get what they want.

To include the American people.

~McQ

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19 Responses to Lame ducks, last hurrahs, Congress and card check

  • These destructive people have the murderous zeal of Bolsheviks and the brains of toads. That bug-eyed Speaker and sad sack Senate majority leader are bad enough. But they don’t control the national security apparatus of the United States. Obama has his hands in that and his methods have become unsound, assuming that there was a minute when they were sound.

    • Methods. Unsound.

      And yet, as if he can’t quite help himself, out comes this astonishingly crude remark. As reported in the New York Times, he was asked about “the anxiety of many Israelis who feel that he does not have a special bond with Israel.” Obama replied — get ready for it: “Some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion.”

      • Which only further highlights Big O’s utter ignorance of the region.  One of Israel’s biggest secret allies during the last 40 years was named, ironically, Hussein.

  • Pitchforks, tar and feathers comes to mind if a lame duck Congress does this.

    • Really?  That’s lenient compared to what they would really deserve (and maybe get if they push it too far)

    • Absolutely.

      Sad thing, though, is that the majority of those worthless crooks will be reelected.  How stupid are we???

  • What they will do legislatively as lame ducks must be balanced, of course, with what they are doing administratively. Like not enforcing the provisions of the Motor Voter law that rid the voting rolls of the dead, felons, and those who have moved elsewhere.

    “We have no interest in enforcing this provision of the law. It has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it.”

    Who needs ACORN when you control the Justice Department?

  • We have devolved into government by deception and deceit.  We get 2500 page bills that no one understands but are full of hidden, damaging provisions.  We get outright lies as to what is in a bill, what it will cost, and what it will really do.  Based on that, I really expect the Democrats are floating these massive proposals so they can actually get only a couple through and we will all breathe a sigh of relieve they didn’t get them all through.  But, the damage from the the couple they do get through will be huge.

    • “We get 2500 page bills that no one understands but are full of hidden, damaging provisions. ”
      Like for example the racial/gender quotas in section 324 of the new Finance Reform bill?

      • sigh – I hate being slysdexic – Title III -  SEC. 342. OFFICE OF MINORITY AND WOMEN INCLUSION

        • Looker, Don’t worry – the people hired by those offices will spend most of their time looking at porn anyways.

          • Ah, a variation on the Kagan counter to  the McConnell opening!  Cleverly played!

  • I’m inclined to believe this is nothing more than a maguffin. Or maybe some red meat to get Democrats into the voting booth in November. While Pelosi might have the power to push these things through the House, Reid doesn’t have absolute control of the Senate. Imagine you are a Democratic Senator up for re-election in 2012. There you are looking at a series of very unpopular votes in the full knowledge that the next House will be run by Republicans. (and at its most optimistic the Rs might have a 50 or 60 seat majority) Are  you really going to be willing to take one for the team? Or won’t you be looking to position yourself for 2012?  And how sympathetic are you going to be to Harry Reid if he loses in Nevada?
    I think this is more shit thrown against the wall to distract us from deficits and oil well blow outs. It’s summertime in DC and usually nothing much happens anyway. That’s typically a description of summertime DC because the politicians are all back home. Today it’s a description of summertime DC 2010 because the administration isn’t accomplishing anything. And the pundits can’t really write or speak about that.
     

    • The key here is that the Dems can run however they like…and then once they see the results decide what to do in the lame duck. So, if they lose badly – hell yes, they will pass whatever they want. And they can rely on the MSM to make sure this is all forgotten in 2 years.
      I think we should not have lame-duck sessions. After the election is over, the new members are seated automatically – isn’t this what they do in the UK?

      • Them and what cloture in the Senate?
         
        This is where the hardball “let’s do this without the Republicans” comes back to bite them. They need to peel away at least one Republican and keep every last Democrat in the Senate, the majority of which is not facing the end of their term. Also, it isn’t that much time, and actually trying to peel away an R in the Senate will take time to wheel and deal, and recall from the Health Care debacle that wheeling and dealing isn’t necessarily free either because you start losing Democrats. For the final nail in this coffin, Democrats being seen to pass visibly unpopular legislation in a lame duck session will rebound yet again on Obama who still needs some sort of public approval to do his job. They can’t afford to put it all on the line and just go for it anyhow figuring they’ll just trade Obama’s approval for the rapid passage of his entire agenda because that will completely solidify Republican opposition and that scenario is all loss for them.
         
        Without cloture in the Senate, this is hot air. Even with cloture in the Senate it would still take only one moderate Democrat to say this is too much. And that isn’t as unlikely as it sounds, because, again, as we saw with the Health Care bill, when every last Senator is the “last vote for cloture” they all start trying to cut deals. And there just wouldn’t be time for that. Or it would take only one moderate D to notice they can be a hero back home by gumming up the works.

        • PS: If they thought they really had the power to push a bunch of things through quickly, they would have already. In fact they thought they did have that power, but when it cost them nearly every bit of political capital (if not more) they had to pass health care, they learned better.

          • I am actually not well informed on the workings of the Senate – maybe I need to review my schoolhouse rock – but that makes Scott Brown’s victory key…
            Can’t they do the nuclear option or handle the senate like they did with healthcare?

  • RAHM EMANUEL told POLITICO’s … business leaders should be grateful for his support on at least a half dozen counts: … his rejection of calls from some quarters to nationalize banks during the financial meltdown

    This is an invocation of a “political Stockholm Syndrome“.
    Sort of like saying you should thank the gunman, after the police take him out, for not blowing your head into the next county.