There have been several press accounts lately outlining Democratic plans to hold off on taking difficult votes before November, and then to have a robust “lame duck” session in November and December, where they can get the rest of their liberal agenda and pork passed.
I couldn’t think of a worse idea for America.
Not only are cap and trade, card check, and ratification of the START being thrown around as possibly getting legislative action during the lame duck , there will also be a need to wrap up the appropriations process, the process that determines $3.6 trillion worth of federal spending every year.
A better idea for America, and Americans’ pocketbooks, is instead to look at the 2006/2007 transition as a model. By the time the 2006 elections rolled around, only two appropriations bills (those funding the departments of Homeland Security and Defense) had become law, and the rest of the federal government was being funded through a continuing resolution (CR), which maintains the level of spending of the previous year.
The original plan was that the still-Republican-controlled Senate would drop an “omnibus” bill containing the outstanding appropriations bills in a conference report to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act of 2007 to complete the spending process.
However, Senator DeMint blocked that process from moving forward, and another CR had to be passed on December 9.
At the time, DeMint was chided. Pundits and fellow Republicans speculated that Reid and the Democrats would just pass their own omnibus in January, with even more spending and earmarks than the Republicans had in theirs.
However, the CR expired on February 15, and Senate majority leader Harry Reid passed a CR for the rest of the fiscal year. The end result? 10,000 less earmarks than the year before, and only a 2.4% increase in discretionary spending from FY2006 (the year before that saw a 4.98% increase).
Conservatives shouldn’t let liberals use a “lame duck” session as their last chance to pass liberal policies. They should instead follow the example of Senator DeMint and others and use the time to block big spending bills. Congress may have a lot on its plate for the lame duck session, but it should vow to leave wasteful pork off the menu.