Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Time To End Lame Duck Sessions Of Congress For Good

So I'm reading an article in the Washington Post on Saturday that implies lame duck sessions of Congress “were supposed to be a thing of the past.”

The author is referring to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified on January 23, 1933. Though the Amendment does not speak to lame duck sessions of Congress, many, at the time, and scholars even today, think the 20th Amendment was the “silver bullet” to end was has become a dangerous event. This revolved around the fact it simply took a long time for members of Congress, especially from western states, to travel back to Washington. It seems no one could predict mass air travel, where it can be done in hours, not days.

As the Post points out, some seriously bad legislation has been foisted on the American people courtesy of lame ducks. One last “screw you” to the American people from a usually defeated group of congresscritters.

Sadly, as much as people think the 20th has the key, it's real purpose was to move the date of the presidential inauguration from March to January, noting that a Presidents term would expire at noon on the 20th of January. It also requires Congress to meet at least once a year [Wouldn't it be a blessing if they ONLY met once a year?] and the meeting must start at noon on the 3rd day of January.

The 20th also discusses various scenarios should a President die before their term expires, and how things should be handled. No where is there guidance concerning a lame duck session of Congress.

I guess at this point, for clarity, I should point out that “lame duck,” in this context, refers to an outgoing Congress. Every two years we have an election for our Representatives to the House. When Congress comes back into session in January, the newly elected [or re-elected] Congressmen and women's term’s start, and a new Congress begins.

The problem is, of course, what happens between the elections in November, and the start of a new session in January. Those two months have historically been a time for some serious chicanery, with some of the most damaging, and controversial legislation being passed, usually after the party in power has suffered a defeat [because of the very policies they still try to cram through] and they see this is one last chance to jam through very unpopular legislation. There should be a law against this. As in a “we are going to throw you in jail” kinda law, but that's another discussion for another time.

While the democrats are by far the worst abusers of this, it must be pointed out that Republicans have been known to take advantage as well. In 1988, after losing seats in the House, Republicans took advantage of their larger, lame duck majority, to vote to impeach Bill Clinton.

Looking back though, no Congress in memory has tried to use their lame duck session as has the current 111th Congress. Having a huge majority in the House, and an all but filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, democrats, enabled by the usual establishment Republican suspects [RINOs] have come back after one of the most resounding defeats in quite some time, to try and cram through every radical, unpopular, far left legislation possible.

What they are doing, in the light of one of the greatest political realignments in at least 100 years, is nothing less than a big “screw you” from a bunch of sore losers. It's quite immoral.

The American people told Congress [and the President] as Sarah Palin would say: “Not no, but HELL NO!” to their entire agenda. And yet, they continue to ram things like pork laden tax bills, and the highly controversial repeal of “Don't ask, don't tell” down America's throat.

They aren't done though, with just a few weeks left, in what has been nothing less than a four year reign of terror from democrat control of Congress, these immoral bastards want to destroy America's ability to defend itself by ratifying the START Treaty, a seriously flawed affair, and further weaken the nation with mass amnesty for illegal aliens. The democrats have dressed this mass amnesty up in a pretty bow and called it the Dream Act, but it is a nightmare for American sovereignty. Since there is no way in hell the Obama regime will ever secure the border, the Dream Act is a big old welcome mat for endless illegal immigrants to come here and claim amnesty.

No one is against LEGAL immigration, but we are talking about people who have been checked out and deemed having something to offer. These immigrants WANT to be Americans. They come here, assimilate, and become some of our greatest Americans. They have a great appreciation for the American experiment.

Illegals, on the other hand, have little respect for America or the American people. More often than not, they want to act like they are still in their home country, while demanding the rights of a United States citizen.

Often they bring with them radical ideas of how America's government should change to accommodate them. Many actively lobby for a socialist/communist form of government, which of course is why democrats, who ALSO want to turn America into a communist Utopia, embrace these illegals, and constantly scheme and plot. They see them as future democrat voters who will help them reach their ultimate goals.

But I digress.

The point is, these lame duck sessions, especially when one party or the other suffers stinging losses, and has “unfinished business” can be quite dangerous to our Freedom, Liberty, and in the current situation, national security, and even national sovereignty.

Reflecting on all of this, I think it's time to finally do what the authors of the 20th Amendment were hoping to do, eliminate lame duck sessions forever.

The 28th Amendment would be a very straightforward, no nonsense deal. Now we know the President, as the nation's leader, is a must have. There's a reason why both the outgoing and the new incoming Presidents share a stage at the inauguration. It's more than a symbolic gesture to the peaceful transition of power we enjoy as Americans. There must be continuity of government. Someone must be President up until the second we have a new one sworn in.

On the other hand, the nation can operate without Congress, for a time. Some might say the nation is actually safer when Congress is NOT in session. Modern history shows Freedom and Liberty most certainly are!

Even the Constitution, when it speaks to this, only requires Congress meet once a year. So clearly, not only can America survive without Congress for the two months between the November elections and the new session in January, we'd all be better for it, especially after seeing what dangers are presented by the current Congress. I mean they are unfolding before our very eyes.

After much consideration, here is my modest proposal:

Sessions of Congress shall expire at 12:01 am, on the date of the general election to elect the new Congress. [which occurs every two years] The only reason for members of Congress to be in D.C between November and January will be to either pack up their stuff and leave, or measure for new drapes.

Now should there be a national emergency [a legit one] the President would have the power to call a special session of the NEW Congress, and have that Congress sworn in, before the customary time. This would do two things. It would provide for the co-equal branch of government [the Legislative Branch] to weigh in on serious matters of national importance, while insuring some “emergency” wouldn't be declared as an excuse to bring back the “old guys” and engage in some legislative tomfoolery.

This would be a simple Amendment for the American people to understand and get behind. No “wiggle room” and no chance for abuse by either the Executive, or the Legislative branches of government.

As the Washington Post article points out:

The trouble with lame-duck sessions began in 1801, when the outgoing Federalists used their last days in power to help appoint a bunch of judges. It flared up again in 1922, when President Warren Harding and the lame-duck Republicans tried to ram through unpopular legislation after their defeats.

The lame duck issue has been a problem for at least 209 years. I think this is a situation that is long overdue for correction.

Let's all get behind my proposed 28th Amendment, and do what it takes to make the elimination of the lame duck Congress the law of the land. Your Freedom and Liberty will thank you for it.

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