The upcoming lame duck free-for-all

John Fund sees it coming,
The Obama-Pelosi Lame Duck Strategy
Union ‘card-check,’ cap and trade, and so much more.

Democratic House members are so worried about the fall elections they’re leaving Washington on July 30, a full week earlier than normal—and they won’t return until mid-September. Members gulped when National Journal’s Charlie Cook, the Beltway’s leading political handicapper, predicted last month “the House is gone,” meaning a GOP takeover. He thinks Democrats will hold the Senate, but with a significantly reduced majority.

The rush to recess gives Democrats little time to pass any major laws. That’s why there have been signs in recent weeks that party leaders are planning an ambitious, lame-duck session to muscle through bills in December they don’t want to defend before November. Retiring or defeated members of Congress would then be able to vote for sweeping legislation without any fear of voter retaliation.

How bad?

  • New taxes,
  • Card Check (the measure to curb secret-ballot union elections)
  • Senate ratification of the New Start nuclear treaty,
  • a federally mandated universal voter registration system to override state laws,
  • a budget resolution to lock in increased agency spending

And, as if that weren’t enough,

Then there is pork. A Senate aide told me that “some of the biggest porkers on both sides of the aisle are leaving office this year, and a lame-duck session would be their last hurrah for spending.”

But wait! There’s also energy (in addition to cap-and-trade)

Mike Allen of reports one reason President Obama failed to mention climate change legislation during his recent, Oval Office speech on the Gulf oil spill was that he wants to pass a modest energy bill this summer, then add carbon taxes or regulations in a conference committee with the House, most likely during a lame-duck session. The result would be a climate bill vastly more ambitious, and costly for American consumers and taxpayers

Doug Mataconis thinks it’s unlikely the Dems would go for really broke (they’ve already gone for broke, as we can see).

However, if the Democrats really believe that they will lose control of either houses of Congress, I’m with Fund – they’ll certainly go for scorched earth. The only question is what items from the menu above they will push, once the November elections are over.

After all, once they do and the chickens come home to roost, Obama will blame the Republicans.

We’ll find out soon enough.


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