Lame-Duck Congress Throwing in Towel
WaPo relegates to page 4 a report from Jonathan Weisman that the Republican leadership is going to abdicate responsibility and “run out the clock” on their remaining weeks in office.
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.”
Well boo frickin’ hoo. Aren’t these guys still being paid? Didn’t these guys run two years ago promising to achieve certain things for their constituents? And, given that the party is about to go into the minority, wouldn’t it behoove them to get stuff done while they still can?
Too tired?! From what? Aside from covering up scandals and wasting a lot of taxpayer money, it’s not as if they’ve worked all that hard.
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.
That will mean this Congress will have spent the least time in session of any in at least half a century, according to Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, congressional historians and the authors of “The Broken Branch,” a critical look at recent Congresses. In the time they have met, lawmakers have failed to approve a budget resolution or pass at least eight of the 11 annual spending bills.
Perhaps a rebate is in order?