09.14.2012 1

We Must Avoid A ‘Lame-Duck’ Session of Congress



2013 RE: Absent swift action, Congress will face what House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-SC) has repeatedly dubbed the “mother of all lame duck sessions.” Mr. Clyburn and his partisan colleagues are publicly discussing how to use this post-election session of Congress to raise taxes, cut defense, and blame it all on congressional Republicans. Congressional leaders recently announced they agreed to pass a six month continuing resolution (CR)

ACTION: Conservatives must oppose any Republican efforts to go along with Democrat’s plans to force spending and tax votes in a December Lame-Duck Congress. We urge all organizations and individuals concerned about the Constitution and the size of the federal government to issue op-eds, alerts, blog posts, releases, and other communications warning about the implications of waiting to act on appropriations, taxes and the defense sequester. Time is short, therefore please do not delay.

ISSUE-IN-BRIEF: On January 1, 2013 America’s economy will hit a fiscal cliff, created in part by the so-called Budget Control Act (BCA). Ironically, in a lame-duck session, lawmakers will face similar pressure to cut an unprincipled and counterproductive deal on expiring tax cuts and forthcoming defense sequester.

A “Lame-Duck” Means Taxpayers are “Dead Ducks” Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who is charged with electing Democrats to the Senate, sees leverage in a lame-duck, and said publicly she is willing to hit the “fiscal cliff” if her Republican colleagues do not accept massive tax increases on small businesses, family farms and other hardworking families. Senator Murray’s strategy is a replay from August 2011, when the Budget Control Act forced lawmakers to choose between raising taxes or putting America’s security at risk. Because of the BCA, some Republicans are now openly weighing tax increases on a fragile economy to stave off the looming defense sequestration.

A Horrible History of “Lame-Duck” sessions: Congress has a history of using the lame-duck session to violate discretionary spending caps. In 2000, lawmakers not only broke the caps imposed by the 1997 Balanced Budget Act, but both parties colluded to exceed President Clinton’s reckless $625 billion budget request by another $10 billion. Congress has a history of punting tough decisions to a lame-duck. In 2004, fearing political embarrassment, lawmakers delayed a vote on increasing the nation’s debt ceiling; of course, one week after the election the debt ceiling increased by 11% even though no lawmaker spoke in favor. Congress has a history of planting Christmas trees during the lame-duck. In 2006, lawmakers struck a deal on a host of provisions, including tax extenders that have become a vehicle for market-distorting renewable energy credits that were extended and expanded in President Obama’s 2009 stimulus.

Congressional accountability has a history of disappearing during the lame-duck. Major issues that would usually be hotly debated are swiftly decided with little input from citizens who just participated in an election. In 2010, the Senate ratified the New START Treaty despite opposition from ten senators-elect. Despite the 71-26 vote, ratification would have been unlikely just five weeks later when the duly elected senators were sworn in. Lawmakers also repealed the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that session.

Congress Should do its Job and go home until 2013! Rather than repeat lame-duck history and fall into a political trap, lawmakers should do what is necessary to avoid a lame-duck session—Congress should pass a six month clean continuing resolution to avoid a government shut down and go home until 2013. Do not let liberal Democrats in the Senate undue the coming election through a “Lame-Duck” session. A newly elected Congress will have the moral authority as duly elected new representatives of the people to pass laws extending pro-growth tax cuts and providing for necessary defense spending.

For Additional Information on the so-called “Lame-Duck” session please click on the links below:

William Wilson, President, Americans for Limited Government
Lewis Uhler, President, National Tax Limitation Committee
Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring
Duane Parde, President, National Taxpayers Union
Mario H. Lopez, President, Hispanic Leadership Fund
Brent Bozell. President, Media Research Center
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
C. Preston Noell, President, Tradition, Family, Property
Kay R. Daly, President, Coalition for a Fair Judiciary
Seton Motely, President, Less Government
Alfred Regnery, President, The Paul Revere Project
Andrea Lafferty, President, Traditional Values Coalition
Morton Blackwell, Chairman, The Weyrich Luncheon
Peter Thomas, Chairman, The Conservative Caucus
James Martin, Chairman, 60 Plus Association
Amy Kremer, Chairman, Tea Party Express
Richard Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com
Rev. Lou Sheldon, Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition
Edwin Meese III, former Attorney General
James Miller III, former Reagan Budget Director
Gary Marx, Executive Director, Faith & Freedom Coalition
Susan Carleson, Chairman & CEO, American Civil Rights Union
Bill Pascoe, Senior Vice-President, Citizens for the Republic
Tom Winter, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, Human Events
Andresen Blom, Executive Director, American Principles Project
(All organizations listed for Identification purposes only)

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