02.17.2016 0

The Republican recovery starts with no lame duck session after November

By Dustin HowardDuckHunt

If the message isn’t clear enough coming from Republican presidential primary voters, let’s be clear. Voters are angry with Washington.

The candidates who are succeeding are doing so by repudiating Washington, and their anger has not been quenched. Every vote in the GOP primary for Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson and the now vanquished Carly Fiorina are no confidence votes from the electorate.

If those in Washington, D.C. are to ever rebuild the bridges that currently smolder, they must first evaluate what started the fire — undemocratic edicts from the Bush and Obama administrations, and bad last minute deals that they hate.

That is why if Congress wants to rebuild trust with the American people, then a lame duck session with President Barack Obama is an awful idea.

The notion of an outgoing Congress and President selecting another Supreme Court nominee, radically altering the rules that govern our international trade policy, budgeting massive amounts of debt and even releasing tens of thousands of convicts retroactively will damage the already frayed fabric of our nation. Specifically, Republican voters will not forgive the Republican politicians who allow this, nor will they trust their imminent replacements.

There is nothing democratic about those who have been rejected binding the newly elected, and those who elected them, to so many unpopular policies. Any replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia put forth by President Obama would permanently restructure the court. Ramming through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and thus allowing the President to build his legacy on the backs of American workers who will lose their jobs, again, will do permanent harm with the electorate.

Pushing through one last borrowing binge to fund priorities that the voters are rejecting is crazy. In a time of escalating crime rates, releasing hardened inmates into the population early to inflict murder and mayhem is even worse. Does Congress have to “get things done” so badly that it continues in a political suicide pact? No.

None of these policies should be implemented, and certainly not during a lame duck session of Congress.

Instead of allowing the current President to control this destiny, it makes much more sense to allow the choice of the voters in 2016 to sort out these issues. A short term, six month continuing resolution in September is the last, best hope that the current Congress has to demonstrate to their voters and the world that they are willing to stop President Obama from inflicting yet more harm on the American people.

Employing the “prevent defense” to run out the clock on the current administration’s agenda is the best recompense Republican leaders in Congress can offer. Many of the current crop of leaders will return to fight another day. For the scores of elected officials that will not return, they should serve their states and districts first, not the desire to put one more bullet point on their résumés.

To Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s credit, he has taken this stance on replacing Justice Scalia saying, “The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

It would be wholly prudent for Congress to apply this logic to the rest of the aforementioned issues, and allow the 2016 electorate to have its say. Foregoing the ritual of bad lame duck legislating is the best way to do that, and to show the voters the deference they have been denied.

Dustin Howard is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.

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