Congress’s Productive Final Weeks – The New York Times

Donald Ritchie, a former Senate historian, said pro-amendment reformers hope to put an end to the lousy legislation. They were largely successful until World War II required year-round legislation. In the decades that followed, Congress reconvened only intermittently to take urgent post-election actions, such as criticizing Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1954 and impeaching President Bill Clinton in 1998, or to address specific legislative debates.

Since 2000, however, the post-election period has increasingly become a supercharged fixed moment. The shift corresponds to growing partisan acrimony, which makes conventional policy-making more difficult and often causes Congress to delay more important work, including funding the federal government. government, until the last days.

“Everything is a fight to the end,” says Ritchie. “No one wants to give up an inch, so a lot of things are delayed or delayed until the end.”

The motive for action is even stronger when, like this year, one party is on the verge of losing unified control of the House, Senate and White House. Arguably the most effective lame duck session in recent memory took place after the 2010 election. Democrats have lost the House and the Senate majority is virtually untenable. As its control waned, the party led the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy towards gays, through tax cuts and a bill for post-date survivors. 11 September and emergency responders, and approved a nuclear weapons treaty with Russia.

The success of the bipartisan negotiations in the ongoing lame duck session will determine whether this is one of the most productive post-election periods in memory or just average.

After the passage of the bill on same-sex marriage and defense, other important legislative items are still pending, including additional aid to Ukraine and a bipartisan overhaul of election law that Donald Trump tried to exploit on January 6, 2021 to overturn his 2020 defeat.

With Republicans announcing they will shut down the investigative committee on January 6, the panel plans to issue its final report next week and vote on it. should refer to its findings to the Department of Justice for potential criminal prosecution.


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