Duck or Bull, Democrats

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Republicans are speaking as if they are already in power. Apparently, they don't know the meaning of Lame Duck. Do you? If not, "The description of 'lame duck' is often applied to politicians who are known to be in their final term of office, when colleagues and electors look toward a successor. It is also sometimes used to describe office-holders who have lost an election but have not yet left office. " However, it doesn't mean those in their final term roll over and play dead. It can mean the exact opposite.

Democrats, upon their return to the Lame Duck session, will enjoy for more than another month, a 58 vote majority in the Senate and an enormous majority in the House of Representatives. What will they do with that power over during their lame duck session, act like lame ducks, or exit like charging bulls? We shall see. Certainly, their base would love to see the running of the bulls. But, do they have he heart?

A number of legislative measures can and will come before the Lame Duck session, not the least of which will be the expiring Bush tax cuts. The Democrats have the power to prevent the Congress from going home for their traditional Thanksgiving Break, preserving precious time to exercise their still large majority in Congress. Will they do it? If they choose to, Democrats can exert some powerful political and legislative force before Jan. when Republicans take over the House. Here are some of their options, but will they exercise them?

Tax cuts. Democrats can spend the entire Lame Duck session trying to pass Middle Class tax cuts, and shaving 700 billion dollars off the deficit and debt by sticking to their original proposal of denying tax cuts to those making a quarter million dollars a year in income, or, half million for a married couple. That puts Republicans in the position of rejecting Middle Class tax cuts and trying to defend adding $700 billion dollars over the next 10 years to the national debt. Will Democrats do it? Should be a no-brainer, politically speaking. But, will they do it?

New Start Treaty. Democrats can force action and a vote or filibuster by Republicans on the new START Treaty which was voted out of Committee on a bi-partisan basis. Republicans will be want to force Democrats to act like Democrats. Democrats could choose to act like bulls instead. The Treaty will reduce the number of deployed nuclear weapons in U.S. and Russian arsenals. It allows U.S. inspectors to monitor Russian nuclear weapons. It has already been more than 285 days since U.S. on-site inspections of Russian nuclear weapons and facilities were suspended when the previous START Treaty expired. The treaty has the overwhelming support of military leaders and national security experts of both parties, including current and former commanders of U.S.nuclear weapons, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, and many others.

Democrats can force the vote on this issue, forcing Republicans to make a choice: Protect America or play politics with America's security. Will they do it?

Cobell Settlement. Just one vote stands in the way of ending the 14-year-old lawsuit, brought by Elouise Cobell, that forced the federal government to acknowledge that it had failed to adequately manage or account for huge sums of money that it owed individual Native Americans. Plaintiffs estimated that the government owed them about $47 billion. Last winter, Cobell settled the case for $3.4 billion, a small fraction of that amount.

Yet Native Americans still haven't received the money. In an unusual move, the settlement agreement requires that Congress specifically authorize the settlement before it becomes final. So far the House has passed the settlement twice but the Senate has failed to act. Democrats could assert in action, their claim to be on the side of the regular Americans by forcing a vote on this issue in the Senate. Will they do it?

Bush's Endless War Policy. A bill was introduced in the House by Congresswoman Barbara Lee to repeal the 2001 Authorization of the Use of Force that has been used to authorize military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, drone attacks on Pakistan and Yemen, torture, illegal detention, and much more. Democrats could force a vote on that bill in the Lame Duck session with a majority to pass it. Though it would not likely be taken up in the Senate afterward during the Lame Duck session, it would put the bill before the Senate next year, again, forcing Republicans to filibuster the measure and defend this authorization that has led to so very much shame and international embarrassment and ridicule toward America as a result of torture, rendition horror stories, illegal detentions, and bypassing the Constitutional provision that stipulates the Congress, not the President, shall declare war and invade other nations voluntarily.

Democrats could be bulls on this issue and force Republicans in the New Congress to defend Bush's war policies. Will Democrats act like bulls or lame ducks?

Estate Tax. With the Middle Class struggling and anxious about their uncertain job and income futures as well as massive growing national debt, Democrats could reinstate the Estate Tax, or Inheritance Tax, which creates government revenues, thereby lowering the deficit and reducing pressure to increase taxes. The estate tax affects the wealthiest in America, and can be modified to insure against harming small businesses and family farms by exempting them. Reinstating the Estate Tax is a net gain for America's working middle class by decreasing deficits and reducing the need to increase taxes on the Middle Class. Will Democrats champion this Middle Class benefit, or limp away like lame ducks crippled by last week's elections which have NO FORCE OF LAW until January?

2011 Budget. For the first time since 1974, Congress has failed to pass a budget. This is a tremendous opportunity for Democrats in the Lame Duck session where they have the power to halt a Continuing Resolution to fund government without a budget, and force Republicans to a vote on a budget. But, here's where Democrats true potential power could arise. If Democrats proposed a budget that was devoid of earmarks and pet projects of both Democrats and Republicans, they would force Republicans to either pass it, or, reject the very principles Republicans ran their campaigns on.

Rand Paul ran on ending earmarks. Now that he has been elected, but, not yet seated, he is saying he will fight for and defend earmarks for his State of Kentucky. Democrats have a unique opportunity here both politically and in terms of championing one of the key fundamental objections of Independent and Tea Party voters. Do they have bull balls to pull that one off, or plucked flight feathers of lame ducks?

Some Republicans are talking as if Democrats are ancient history and they can just kowtow to Republicans or get the hell out of the way. However, the reality is, the American people elected Democrats to act in their best interest every day, and that includes every day through this Lame Duck session. We are a nation governed by the rule of law, and the law states that Democrats shall retain their huge majorities in the House and Senate until January 3, 2011. Will they throw it away like lame ducks, or take the bull by the horns and seize this opportunity to score some victories for the American middle class they say they care so much about?

Duck or Bull, Democrats. It is your choice.


Certainly did a good job of outlining the economic killing agenda of the Democrats here. My personal concern is not over Democrats anymore, but, the Republican majority next year. Sounds like they want to spend my tax dollars investigating Democrats for two years and ignore the end times for America we voters love so dearly.


Actually, thanks for the comments. Yeah, I read that about Issa wanting up to 4 investigations a week, was it? I think he is on the right track on some of those investigations, but, there are certainly bigger and more immediate challenges to be dealt with by members of Congress. That's not to say one committee can't conduct investigations while the rest of Congress conducts other business. My fear is that the investigations devolve into political games, instead of discovering actual detriments and resolving them on behalf of the American people.

this posting is very true i think people try to ruin it for eveyone else in the gov. they dont care because they arent going to have to deal with it.

One thing I'll never understand is why when politics fail the taxes need to be adjusted so the taxpayers can take the fall. How is it my fault that others made mistakes? Even if I voted for them I surely didn't say go and bankrupt the country... neither did they ask me if they should do it.

Fotos, one of the few things the President's Commission on debt and deficits agreed upon, was that our tax system is in more dire need of reform and overhaul than a spoiled child is in need of a good spanking. See my latest article on the Debt Commission.

Thanks for your comments.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on November 10, 2010 4:39 PM.

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