ShareThis Page

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.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me