Free Markets, Free People

Kill the lame duck

You know, I got to thinking about the fact that many of those who will be deciding on legislation in the lame duck session of Congress were summarily kicked out of their seats by voters on Nov. 2nd.  While it may not be “the law”, I suggest that the voters who ousted these Representatives and Senators do not consider the person currently occupying the seat in the lame duck Congress to represent them.  After all, that’s why they voted in the majority to get rid of them.

So why are they then allowed to retain their seats until some future arbitrary date?  How can they, as soon to be ex-members voted out by their constituents, represent anyone?  Now I understand that some are retiring that that’s a bit different.  But leaving defeated members in their seats is an invitation to mischief.  For instance, Bob Bennett, a Republican Senator who was defeated in the primary is in the Senate today saying he’d probably vote for the DREAM act if it comes to the floor as a stand alone bill.  It is precisely that sort of prior voting that has Bennett seeking employment on K Street.

Orin Hatch, on the other hand, has a date with the voters in 2012 and, after previously supporting it, is running from the DREAM act as hard as he can.  He’s still accountable to them.  Bennett is accountable to no one.

As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of lame duck Congressional sessions.  And I think my reason is valid.  Nothing says seating a new Congress has to be put off until the following year (and if there is anything, it can be changed).  I think the decision of the voters should be final and quickly implemented. 

It would save us all this drama and nonsense going on now.  It would quickly allow the new majority to begin working on its priorities.  And it would get the dead-wood ex-Congresspersons to hell out of DC or at least off to a different part of it.

A lame duck Congress just has too much of an ability to do precisely what this one is attempting – pass party priorities that are not popular with the voters but for those who’ve been voted out of office, carry no penalty for supporting them.  It’s a can’t lose for ideologues such as Pelosi and Reid who can push their agenda and count on certain votes that perhaps weren’t necessarily votes they could count on before.

It makes no sense to me.  But then there are a lot of things about government that make no sense.

Kill the lame duck.



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10 Responses to Kill the lame duck

  • Still seat them in January, but, recess before the election and do not return until then. 2 months less mischief every two years. I would also think that can be accomplished via rules change.

  • That is the best idea I’ve heard in a long time. I n the mean time can we declare anything they pass as null and void? Just a thought.

  • Yeah, all Article 1, section 4 of the Constitution has to say is:
    “The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.
    The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.”
    Originally, time had to be allowed for messages and people to travel by horseback, but nowadays you can travel across the continental US in a day, if you’re willing to fly.  We could certainly cut down the time between elections and the new Congress being installed to a couple of weeks.  In a nod to the original schedule above,  hold elections on the first Tuesday of November and convene the new Congress on the first Monday in December.

  • I think that Metzger has a good idea.  Perhaps throw in a condition, such as “the Congress may be recalled during the ‘lame duck’ session by the president with 2/3 of both houses concurring”.  That way, if there is a serious emergency that requires quick Congressional action, this can be accomplished.

    Although, it’s rather hard to think of ANY emergency that wouldn’t be made worse by Congressional action!

  • The problem with killing the lame duck session is that it is one of those nasty political things that both parties support. Because both parties have used it in the past and want the ability to use it in the future.

    Sometimes I wish we could just hang them all and then vote in a new bunch, I bet then we would see all sort of  institutional reform.

  • Speaking of lame ducks…………..Obama epic epic cave in to the GOP on tax cuts

    Pretty bitter pill to swallow for Pres. “I won” and his starry-eyed worshippers

  • Yeah, I heard this on a panel discussion a few days back.
    Seems like a bonnie idea to me.  I like Metzger’s variation (sounds like a violin piece), too…!!!

  • The problem isnt that it takes so long to seat a new Congress (it is a legacy of a reality long gone – moving household and staff from western NY or PA no longer takes 2 months), rather that the sitting Congress continues to fiddle.  There is an echo-chamber inspired arrogance endemic within ALL elected Congressional members that gives them the misbegotten believe that they have to finish all that important legislation that they were too chickensh!t to tackle during regular hours.

  • Also the flaw in Term Limits.
    I prefer an on-off system.  A system that forces politicians to sit out from office periodically.  No more than 8 years of elected service in a 16 year period or some such law.  The prospect of returning offers some motivation to not leave playing games.