Last Updated:November 17 @ 07:57 am

Lame Ducks are quacking, but what's getting done?

By Bobby Eberle

The lame duck session of Congress is back in business as legislators return from the Thanksgiving holidays. Taxes, spending bills, and a host of other issues sit waiting to be addressed, but what's actually getting done? As the nation braces for a potentially massive tax increase at the beginning of the year, it's time for Congress to stop the rhetoric and get to work.

Tops on the list of unresolved legislation are the tax increases that will go into effect if Congress does not renew the Bush tax cut legislation passed nearly ten years ago (2001 and 2003). As reported by FoxNews.com, "The cuts apply to rates on wage income as well as to dividends and capital gains. A failure to act would mean big tax increases for people at every income level."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has suggested that the Senate hold two votes: one on the Democratic plan confining the tax cut extension to the middle class, the other on Republican leader Mitch McConnell's plan to extend the cuts to everyone. If both are defeated, as anticipated, then the real negotiations begin.

"There will be bipartisan support in the lame duck to extend all the tax cuts for two or three years, and I think that vote will be had before the end of the year," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Sunday. "And if the president doesn't support that, I think he's running a risk of making the economy weaker."

Of course, Barack Obama still wants to push a jobs-killing tax increase on the top income bracket... those people who 1) already pay most of the taxes, and 2) create the jobs in this country. Does Obama really think that taking more money out of the private sector and funneling it to government programs is the answer? Of course he does. My question to Obama, "How's that stimulus bill working out for you so far?"

In addition to hammering legislation to stop the tax increases, Congress must also act on a "continuing resolution" to keep the government functioning. As noted in a story on FoxNews.com, the current funding for the federal government runs out on December 4. "Without a formal appropriation signed into law, the federal government cannot legally continue to operate." Look for a deal to be reached and not the drama of a government shutdown. Republicans will flex their new-found mucle regarding spending cuts and the size of government, but their real power comes in January.

On the issue of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, The Washington Times reports that Sen. Lindsey Graham said the Senate "likely doesn't have enough Republican votes during Congress' lame-duck session to lift the ban on gays serving openly in the military."

Mr. Graham's long-standing position has been that Congress should wait until the release of a Pentagon study on how lifting such a ban would affect the military and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and other Democrats pushed for the repeal before the November elections to appeal to their base.

U.S. military officials are expected Tuesday on Capitol Hill to discuss the findings of the study, followed by scheduled hearings Thursday and Friday.

Harry Reid has pressed for immigration legislation in the lame duck Congress. That will go nowhere. In addition, as noted in The Washington Times, Obama has claimed that "ratification of a new arms control treaty with Russia is so pressing that it must be dealt with by the lame-duck Senate." Considering that the Congress only has a short time, and the issue of the tax increases and the government funding must be addressed, don't expect any action on an arms control treaty.

Obama is still trying to raise taxes on the top income bracket. His reasoning? Obama says that America cannot "afford to borrow an additional $700 billion from other countries to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans." However, as noted by Reihan Salam at National Review Online:

The president is characterizing his stance as evidence of his commitment to fiscal restraint. But strikingly, he failed to note that the middle-income tax cuts will cost $3 trillion over the same ten-year period that he's using to yield $700 billion as the cost of the high-income rate reductions. One assumes that the $3 trillion will also have to be borrowed from other countries.

Of course, the "cost" never takes into account the fact that cutting taxes stimulates the economy and brings in more revenue.

Congress needs to get to work and prevent massive tax increases from going into effect. Maybe then, in the new Congress, we can address that fact that taxes are too high on businesses and individuals and that the rates need to come down. That's a real stimulus! All we are talking about right now is preventing a tax increase, and Democrats, who are still blind to what happened on Election Day, are fighting it.

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22 Comments

  1. Liberty4310Comment by Liberty4310
    November 29, 2010 @ 8:50 am

    Good analysis. Of all the potential items they can take up, there are really three that must be addressed immediately. You mentioned two: extention of the current tax rates for all and passage of a continuing resolution. The third is that they need to once again pass a temporary fix to the cut in Medicare and Tricare Doctor Reimbursements. Maybe the next Congress will come up with a permanent fix, right after they vote to repeal Obamacare!?

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  2. AlwaysRIGHTComment by AlwaysRIGHT
    November 29, 2010 @ 9:30 am

    Just further evidence that the democrat party has their collective head ! Btw, if it’s called “lame duck session” – how ’bout we implement a “lame salary” during this time period? I mean, c’mon, would your employer allow you to call Thanksgiving to New Year’s period “lame” and get next to nothing done?
    And another thing – when I say “next to nothing” what is actually even more appalling is what they choose to fixate on – increasing taxes and spending $44 billion for benefits for ILLEGALS! Is there any question at all that they still don’t get it? May I suggest prosecuting the democrat party for violating their oath and the constitution? Where in the constitution does it give them the authority to tax citizens and use the money for benefits for ILLEGALS?
    Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Rangel, Holder, and Obama should have their citizenship revoked, healthcare cancelled, pensions zero’d, assets seized, social security accounts closed, and be DEPORTED! These are the most pathetic corrupt SOBs our country has ever known!

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  3. onewildmanComment by onewildman
    November 29, 2010 @ 9:46 am

    AlwaysRIGHT, you are right on! They want to continue spending till the cows come home. They want to steel as much money from the rich and call it social justice. These liberals are the worst example of Americans, not a patriot among them. They care only about power and the control over my life and yours! I would be happy as a Lark if I were to see Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Rangel, Holder, and Obama all in the same Cell Block!
    IMPEACH OBAMA NOW!

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  4. frank1737Comment by frank1737
    November 29, 2010 @ 9:50 am

    The Democratic (Socialist) Party are nothing but a bunch of “TAX & SPEND INEPT IDIOTS”!

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  5. Larry D. BakerComment by Larry D. Baker
    November 29, 2010 @ 9:51 am

    Amen to AlwaysRIGHT. One difference in opinion. Let’s try the six above mentioned for TREASON, convict them; and hang them. When they are gone, there’s no chance of them coming back; and confusing the idiots who voted them in, to do it again. Let’s get rid of all the garbage, in DC.
    If we just deport them, we still have them around. Besides, who would want our garbage? Eliminate them all, and let “GOD” sort them out.

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  6. djtxComment by djtx
    November 29, 2010 @ 10:28 am

    Don’t sweat the tax hike and Don’t ask Don’t tell, when it is in the works that we will have nothing to eat! The Food Safety Modernization Act is up for a vote today, and if it passes, the centralized socialist Federal Government have total control over all our independent farmers and farm land, as well as mandating that the only seeds farmers can use are Monsanto’s (thanks to Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s (D-CT) husband who works for Monsanto.
    Don’t sweat the tax hikes and the DADT, when the Internet, which serves as our only method for preserving our freedom of speech because all other media are under the control of the White House, is comandeered by the centralized socialist Federal Government after the Obama-controlled FCC puts Net Neutrality into place during this Lame Duck Session.
    Don’t sweat the tax hikes and and DADT, when our top secrets are being leaked to Wiki Leaks through the assistance of the George Soros-sponsored organization Code Pink. Don’t believe a word Obama says about Wiki Leaks because his benefactor George Soros is behind these treasonous leaks of our national secrets.

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  7. ErnieLaneComment by ErnieLane
    November 29, 2010 @ 10:42 am

    This question goes from the premise that “things have to be done.”
    Other than purely “housekeeping” things like continuing resolutions or debt ceiling stuff, unless Congress is going to seriously cut spending, there is nothing they need to do.

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  8. JDZComment by JDZ
    November 29, 2010 @ 11:00 am

    It is pathetic isn’t it? The lack of leadership in our government at all levels is pathetic. Our Congress continues to show their disregard for the American people at large and our President and his administration continues to show their ineptness and and lack of leadership.
    These people, who live off of the taxpayers in this country, are a bunch of spoiled, politically motivated, overpaid politicians who have just had it too good for too long. Because of the way the gerrymandered districts are formed and the amount of money that comes into the system from special interest groups, it is very hard for the voters in this country to really hold any of these people accountable for their ineptness and politically biased actions. Look at California as an example of how the “system” is out of control. This state, in which I live, continues to re-elect incompetent and far left politicians even though it is obvious that they are ruining the state. Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Henry Waxman, etc. are the obvious examples.
    To me, if these people along with the Obama just quit being so politically correct and self serving, the government could deal with all of these issues easily and efficiently. Extending or not extending the tax cuts should have been dealt with months ago. They all knew that this was coming for years, why wait until the last minute?
    Instead of dealing with the issues that are important in an efficient manner, they always go to those that are “politically important” to them and therefore, put the American people down the priority list.
    Something has to change in Washington and it is not just the players. The “system” has to change and it is not going to happen until the American people at large decide that it is time to really make a “change”, and it is not the one that Obama ran on in 2008.
    We need some real leaders in the Whitehouse and in Congress. We need term limits. We need to change the politically motivated gerrymandering system. The control and influence of special interest groups starting with the public service unions has to be stopped. This incestuous relationship between public service unions has gotten so far over that it is helping to ruin the way the government is supposed to operate. The influence and effects of densly populated big cities that are dominated by the liberals has to be balanced in some way that is fair and rational for the country at large. Big states like California and New York have too much influence on the federal government at a cost to the rest of the country. For example, should all of us that pay taxes bail out California and New York who are in trouble because of the liberal leaders in those states?
    The 2010 election results was a start, but the system has been perverted, and that has to change. The elections in 2012 are critical just to get these issues on the table. Wake up America.

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  9. FlaJimComment by FlaJim
    November 29, 2010 @ 11:20 am

    A continuing resolution for the budget and extension of the current tax rates are all that need to be addressed by the lame duck congress. The GOP needs to block every other item that comes up until the 113th Congress convenes in Jan.
    If any in the GOP oppose this by siding with the enemy, they need to be added to the list of those who need to go in 2012 – along with the Dems who were nearly defeated earlier this mo.

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  10. DillComment by Dill
    November 29, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

    Did anyone happen to listen to BO’s speech today.
    He called for a freeze on CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES….Isn’t that a laugh? All the politicians will continue to get their increases as usual.
    “The rich get richer” you and I fend for ourselves.

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  11. TRUTHTELLERComment by TRUTHTELLER
    November 29, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

    Amen to that, FLAJIM.
    Bobby,
    Let them quack and sputter. Other than making the Bush tax cuts permanent and funding the Fed, nothing else needs to be done until 2011.
    Republicans should indeed, block everything else,
    even to the point of filibustering if necessary.
    Just like a close scoring game, with little time left, the winning team will run out the clock.
    These bums in the 2010 Congress need to be shut down, until the new Congress takes over.

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  12. GeriComment by Geri
    November 29, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

    I don’t see anything here in your newsletter about Obama and Hilary Clinton’s efforts to get a UN Nations Treaty approved by our Senate during this Lame Duck session. I think this is the most important of anything they are planning to do here. They want to get this done before our new Congress is seated in January.
    There are at least two UN Treaties being implemented that I know of. One is a UN Treaty for small arms control and another is the UN control of the High Seas. It has also come to my attention that Article VI of our Constitution states that “All Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the Supreme Law of the Land and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, …” The only thing standing in the way is our US Senate and if Obama signs this treaty and the Senate doesn’t stand in the way, it becomes the Law of the Land whether we the citizens agree or not. This is imminent threat to our sovereignty and our freedom. Obama is not concerned with winning an election in 2012. He is going to TAKE CONTROL Today if he can get away with it.
    Our Constitution doesn’t seem to have much respect or clout by the Democrat government that is in control now, but you can bet, they will use this Article VI.

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  13. wallybluComment by wallyblu
    November 29, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

    Simple, Stop the refundable tax credits.

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  14. Dingbat36Comment by Dingbat36
    November 29, 2010 @ 4:21 pm

    Not much is going to be done during the lame duck session……do not think for a minute that the Dems who have not yet lost their seats in the Senate don’t know exactly what will happen when 2012 rolls around. They can bluster all they want, it’s just a lot of talk. They know FULL WELL that the electorate may NOT be finished kicking people out of Washington………….not yet!

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  15. gregm1Comment by gregm1
    November 29, 2010 @ 8:40 pm

    “Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Rangel, Holder, and Obama should have their citizenship revoked, healthcare cancelled, pensions zero’d, assets seized, social security accounts closed, and be DEPORTED! These are the most pathetic corrupt SOBs our country has ever known!”
    Agreed with the sentiment, but is there any (practical) way to deal with the first 4 after their citizens-managers re-hired them … again?
    We citizens-managers in a lot of other congressional districts did our first part: firing our errant contract hireling representatives, particularly if they wanted rehire under the Democratic label (our second part is to hold their feet to our hot fire of feedback accountability for the next 2 to 6 years).
    “The Democratic (Socialist) Party are nothing but a bunch of “TAX & SPEND INEPT IDIOTS”!”
    Oooh, they’re not inept. In fact they are very much deliberate in their attempts to tax us, their bosses, and spend it on their communist buddies and ideals against our aggregate will.
    But, yes, is true, a lot of them are overt socialists, with their membership in their Progressive Caucus, and their real card-carrying membership in the DSA, the “Democratic Socialists of America.” That means that there are any number of publicly unadmitted true socialists in the Democratic party and RINOs in the Republican party.
    “Let’s try the six above mentioned for TREASON, convict them; and hang them. When they are gone, there’s no chance of them coming back; and confusing the idiots who voted them in, to do it again. Let’s get rid of all the garbage, in DC.
    If we just deport them, we still have them around. Besides, who would want our garbage? Eliminate them all, and let “GOD” sort them out.”
    No reason to essentially commit murder when they’re just doing what they’re wont to do. If those voters (aka hiring citizens-managers) are that much of a bunch of idiots, then they need to be enlightened by the rest of us—are we American conservatives afraid of the hard and sometimes painful work that it takes to substantively convince our neighbors, family, friends, and acquaintances across the country to get rid of the garbage on the next garbage day November 6, 2012?
    And are we that lazy to fail to keep up our fire of conservative feedback accountability, encouraging these erstwhile “idiots” to do the same on these errant contract hirelings between now and 2 / 6 years from now?
    God (no quotes) will sort it all out, including us conservatives.
    “do not think for a minute that the Dems who have not yet lost their seats in the Senate don’t know exactly what will happen when 2012 rolls around. They can bluster all they want, it’s just a lot of talk. They know FULL WELL that the electorate may NOT be finished kicking people out of Washington………….not yet!”
    So expect them to do like they did starting Jan 3, 2007–make hay while the sun shines with everything they’ve got.
    Our threats of our fire of feedback accountability is one of the best and easiest ways for us conservative Americans to not only hold our line, but push back as far as we can go also.

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  16. AMVoterComment by AMVoter
    November 29, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

    No compromises with the democrooks! The democrat party has become the party of anti-Americans, anti-working people. All they know is tax and spend!
    The fact that the democrooks kept Crazy Pelosi and Crooked Reid as their leaders just shows that they learned nothing from the midterms! The American people will vote out more of the fool dems in 2012 and Obama as well!
    Let all RINOS (that includes Graham and the Maine Commie twins) be on notice that we will be watching them very closely for the next two years too!

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  17. hoogleComment by hoogle
    November 30, 2010 @ 11:26 am

    Five things need to be changed:
    Lame Duck Sessions delayed one month
    Political Correctness phased out
    Congressional terms of office limited
    Illegals stopped from getting ANY aid
    Federal Reserve exposed and abolished

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  18. bobnipComment by bobnip
    November 30, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

    Bobby,
    You really don’t believe Obama cares whether or not his stimulus agenda works to improve the economy? He could care less whether revenue decreases and jobs are lost. In fact, he’s hoping that is the outcome! We need to look beyond the immediate affects to his long-range goal. And, that is to bankrupt America. Why would he want to continue the Bush tax cuts? It would set back his efforts even farther. Remember he has to accomplish all this before the 2012 elections. I believe he is hoping to stoke a revolution by the average American. The “Brown shirts” will squelch the uprising and establish Obama in a place of unquestioned power. Sound preposterous? Just think of the myriad of controls Obama is placing on us daily, taking away our liberty.

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  19. KeyesRonGOPComment by KeyesRonGOP
    November 30, 2010 @ 8:20 pm

    How about some statistics like:
    How many Businesses will be impacted by tax reduction, vs how many individuals will be impacted; and what are prospects of job growth for businesses vs individuals in the $250,000 and up category.
    So far it is all rhetoric with out data for citizens; OK, there is likely to be a congressional document that we can find. But data should be “transparent” as in all cases.

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  20. buzzmasterComment by buzzmaster
    December 1, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

    I don’t trust any lame ducks at any level of government, either party. This is when representatives and senators need to be sent on vacation, and kept working other times instead of going on vacation. Would a corporation allow an ousted member of the Board of Directors a lame duck session? Its bad for business and its bad in politics.

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  21. TRUTHTELLERComment by TRUTHTELLER
    December 1, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

    The big question in my mind now, since the anti earmarks bill was defeated, with at least six turncoat traitor Republicans joining in the continuation of the corrupt earmark practice, is:
    Do the present Republicans and the new Republicans coming into the House, have the will and the guts to really accomplish anything?
    Judging from this last vote, at least six think it’s business as usual. The six names of those turncoats were given last night on O’Reilly.
    We all should remember them, come 2012 and we all should let them know, that we will remember their cowardly vote.
    What makes getting our country back so difficult, is that obviously, we can’t trust any politician, Democrat, Republican, Independant, Blue Dog, et all.
    There is just so much money floating around in D.C. that they just can’t help themselves. Swilling at the trough is soo easy.
    Vigilance, folks. That’s what is called for. There are still many traitors and RINOs out there in the Republican party that can and will do us in, if we let them.

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  22. jcComment by jc
    December 4, 2010 @ 10:07 am

    There are the details and then there is the big picture. The lame ducks are going to push through as much of “their” agenda as possible. It is all about the destruction of our great nation. Right now the economy is being used as a tool for that destruction. Look to the history of other once great powers. It will be a hard road to come back from as so many people in our country have been “socialized” in schools from almost the cradle. I live in a liberal, entitlement driven state and it is something to behold. Socialism cannot coexist with freedoms. As the frameworks of our country’s destruction are being put in place by those currently in power, the lame ducks will be able to watch the unfolding of their masterworks before their eyes as they view from a comfortable, safe location and blame “true” Americans for what they themselves have done. The rest ia politically correct history.

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