Bastard Duck Congress

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on December 21, 2010

Last week the Washington Post had an interesting article last week on the history behind the 20th Amendment. That amendment was designed end so-called lame duck sessions. Legislators and legislatures at the time believed that moving the date for installing a new Congress to early January would mean that defeated incumbents wouldn’t be doing any more law-making. Without modern air travel, there really wasn’t enough time after an election for western lawmakers to make the trip to Washington, do a lame-duck session and then get back home in time for Christmas.

Modern air travel has made those daunting logistics rather easy to overcome.

Hence, we have an illegitimate Congress passing a raft of legislation that would outrage the media if Republicans were doing it.

The DREAM Act? Mercifully dead.

The Bush tax cuts? Thankfully extended – but a move that should’ve been made either before the November election or after the new Congress was seated.

The new START Treaty? It looks right now like the go-along, get-along Republicans in the Senate – several of whom are lame ducks – will pass this fatally flawed treaty. One can only hope that President Obama will keep his word (HA!) to aggressively pursue missile defense – even as the Russians threaten to pull out of the treaty when we do.

The Food Safety Act? It’s not so much about food safety as it is about raising the barriers to entry for small family farmers.

The Omnibus Spending Bill? Thankfully, it bit the dust. But someone, somewhere needs to kill the ethanol subsidy. The unholy alliance between the environmental left and the farm states has made an absolute mess of things. Need I say that when you’ve lost Al Gore…

I’m hopeful in the next Congress, Republicans in the House will demonstrate they “got” it. Based on how the Senate GOP has been behaving (badly), it appears they still haven’t got it.


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December 2010



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