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Editorials

Quack! Lame-duck dance

| Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, 7:57 p.m.
In this Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, file photo, an American flag flies over Capitol Hill in Washington, as lawmakers return from a 7-week break.
In this Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, file photo, an American flag flies over Capitol Hill in Washington, as lawmakers return from a 7-week break.

The “business” that occurs during lame-duck sessions of Congress is an affront to the representative government upon which our country was founded.

Legislators riding out a term after losing an election or retiring — or those re-elected who won't be held accountable for their actions for another two or six years — should not be deciding issues as important as Defense Department funding, a new Internet tax proposal or a $5.6 billion bailout of coal miner pensions.

Yet those issues and others may be voted on in the weeks between the November elections and when the new Congress takes over in January — the so-called lame-duck session, according to an analysis by The Heritage Foundation. As the authors point out, “lame ducks are coming to be known as the period when the real work is done.”

Important and/or controversial votes should be taken well before lawmakers become “lame” and lose accountability to the voters. Tackle emergencies or pressing issues as they arise after Election Day — but leave the big-ticket items for the next president and new Congress. That was the way things used to be before leaders from both parties saw the advantage of delaying votes until the lame-duck session.

Voters need to raise their voices and tell Congress to stop tactical maneuvering designed to dodge accountability. It's time to put the “lame” back into “lame ducks.” A representative government demands it.

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