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‘Lame Duck’ Congress 2006 [Flashback]

An opportunity to compare and contrast, via the archives of the Washington Post:

Lame-Duck Congress May Run Out the Clock

GOP Leaders Plan Quiet 1-Week Session

By Jonathan Weisman
Sunday, December 3, 2006

Congress will convene on Tuesday for what some fear will be the lamest of lame-duck sessions, and GOP leaders have decided to take a minimalist approach before turning over the reins of power to the Democrats. Rather than a final surge of legislative activity, Congress will probably wrap up things after a single, short week of work. They have even decided to punt decisions on annual government spending measures to the Democrats next year.

"There is a lot of battle fatigue among members, probably on both sides of the aisle," said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), usually a reliable conservative firebrand. "Contrary to popular belief, members of Congress are human beings. They have a certain shelf life and a certain amount of energy to be drawn on. We’re tired."

Before the midterm elections, GOP leaders had dismissed the Democrats’ "do-nothing" label for the 109th Congress as political posturing, promising that a robust post-election session would put the accusation to rest. Instead, Republican lawmakers will have met for one week in November, devoted almost exclusively to leadership elections for next year, and one week in December, largely to pick committee assignments, move offices and pass a measure to keep the government operating through February

In other words, the still Republican-controlled Congress met for a grand total of two weeks after the 2006 elections. Two weeks.

To be sure, Congress will do something this week. Lawmakers have routinely extended a number of business tax breaks every year or so, including a tax credit for research and development and a break for hiring welfare recipients

Beyond that, there is little in the offing. Anguished over the Democrats’ victory on Nov. 7 and the tumult that has followed, GOP lawmakers want to get out of town. One senior Senate Republican aide called hopes for substantive legislation "delusional."

Why do the Republicans give up where the Democrats just get started? And keep in mind that the Republican losses in 2006 were relatively typical for a midterm election. The American voters have just rejected the Democrats in an historic landslide.

Much of the problem is as prosaic as office space, GOP aides said. Lawmakers were forced to vacate their offices on Friday, and few of them want to hang around Washington with no place to sit. Retiring House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) got angry during a meeting of committee chairmen, demanding to know how he was supposed to complete work on the business tax extension bill without an office, according to one GOP aide present in the meeting.

Have any Democrats have their offices taken away from them during the current ‘lame duck’ Congress? If not, why not? In fact, they seem to still be very much in charge.

And attendance is expected to be light. House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-Calif.) may be crucial to passage of [an] offshore-oil-drilling bill, since he had led the charge to broaden the Senate’s approach. But he may not have his heart in it, GOP leadership aides conceded. He was defeated on Nov. 7.

Contrast this attitude with the just un-elected Democrats who have rammed any number of highly unpopular pieces of legislation. Why is there such a difference in attitude?

Besides, with committee assignments, chairmanships and ranking Republican posts up for grabs next week, there will be campaigns to run, presentations to make and alliances to form. Legislating may be far down the list of priorities.

Why aren’t the current crop of lame duck Democrats concerned about forming "alliances"? Why is there no ‘off switch’ on their legislative ambitions?

Even the firebrands have turned into coldhearted realists.

"If we had a chance to make law before the Democrats took over, I’d be interested in sticking around. If we have the opportunity just to make a point, only to see the Senate stop it, I’m disinclined," Pence said. "The time for Pyrrhic victories has passed."

The Democrats live for Pyrrhic victories. In fact, the more Pyrrhic they are, the more they like them.

They don’t see any victory as ‘too costly.’ See, for instance, ‘healthcare reform.’

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “‘Lame Duck’ Congress 2006 [Flashback]”

  1. Mithrandir says:

    Loser Mentality

    This is why I don’t trust the G.O.P. It is their typical “We’ll get ’em next time!” approach to everything. They LIKE BEING IN THE MINORITY! All that legislation, bah! too much work, we’re tired.

    Health Care, Internet Control, Gays in Military, T.S.A., Wall Street take over –We will reverse that! How about, doing something the liberals have to reverse once in a while?

    Has the G.O.P. gotten rid of:
    ~Funding for public t.v. and radio
    ~Affirmative Action
    ~Department of Education
    ~Department of Energy
    ~School breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, snack, tea & crumpets program (state or family responsibility not federal government)

    Is the G.O.P. going to DO anything of substance, or just play the victim to Democrat actual governing?

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