The Lame Duck Waddles into Town
With a historic midterm election behind us, there’s now just over a month before the 118th Congress gavels in on January 3. The period between elections and the start of a new Congress is often a slow time in Washington.
Sometimes, however, Congress meets during this transitional period in what’s known as a lame duck session. These lame duck sessions are, more often than not, uneventful procedural gatherings.
But other times, significant work gets accomplished during the lame duck. As The Washington Post notes, “After Democrats lost the House in 2010, Congress passed a slew of major legislation before Democrats ceded the chamber to Republicans: a bipartisan tax deal, a bill aiding 9/11 first responders and legislation repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
This year’s lame duck session looks to be a busy one as well, as there are some absolutely essential to-dos to accomplish before Congress flies out for the holidays.
First, Congress has to pass a spending bill to keep the federal government funded. Should the current funding expire without new spending authority in place, the country will have to endure yet another full or partial government shutdown.
Second, Congress needs to pass this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, the yearly legislation funding the military. Despite the growing partisanship in Washington, the NDAA is one area where Republicans and Democrats have always worked together to get results – an NDAA has been passed every year for decades.
But even more may be in store. From legislation to protect same-sex marriage to efforts to reform the Electoral Count Act and strengthen our election certification systems, this lame duck is sure to be stuffed with plenty of action.