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.