Topic of the Week: Lame Ducks

There’s been a lot of talk about the actions of both the lame duck Congress in Washington D.C. and the lame duck session of the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly, from Congress’ push to extend the Bush tax cuts to the legislature’s push to get state employee union contracts approved.

I’ve seen it opined that lame duck legislators shouldn’t be working after they’re voted out of office, and so I’d like to hear what you think…should inauguration day be moved closer to election day, or vice versa?


Related Articles

9 thoughts on “Topic of the Week: Lame Ducks

  1. As long as the dates are set as they are, the legislators have every right to finish out their mandate and terms of office. Granted, a LOT of the things that have been brought up in these post-election sessions should have been dealt with earlier, but there is no reason why the CURRENT AND SITTING legislative body should be made to stand down until the new body is sworn in.

  2. Agreed they were elected and their term is not over yet. That said I’ll never understand why the tax deal didn’t come up before the election.

    1. Republican support for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires would have been a winning issue for Democrats if they had brought it up prior to the election.

      1. Probably – but the class wars, us against them, zero-sum game garbage bores me and is generally dishonest. Usually effective, but dishonest. Ranks right up there with “think of the children” and “our enemies are everywhere, stock up on plastic & duck tape” stuff.

  3. You know where I stand on this since I’ve mentioned it in another post (and I’d guess that might have even spurred this topic).

    My problem with it is that to a large part, there’s no accountability. Fundamentally, it’s the same issue as with “walking out the door” pardons by governors & presidents.

    For the most part, historically a sense of decency has been enough to keep things in check. The political environment has become so bitter that I don’t think we can trust either side.

    If anyone has a convincing argument for why we have such a space between election & taking office for the state, I’m all ears.

    1. Every two years 435 representatives are elected to office along with 33 senators. Time is needed between election and assumption of duties to accomplish three things:
      1. Certification of the election and allow for recounts
      2. Hire staff and move to DC
      3. Transition the old out of power

      I wish to note one more thing: If all bills have to be voted on before the election takes place, you can imagine the pressure on the re-election process to accommodate the vocal majority in the home state with a politician’s vote. We would truly face the
      tyranny of the mob in an election with everyone ginned up to ‘win’.

      1. As usual, a thoughtful & insightful reply – thanks. I’ll grant #1 & 2, but not #3. If you lost – get your @ss out. No reason it has to take any time at all.

        I’m looking at “major” legislation passed by this Congress. Between Aug. 10 and the election, only one thing was passed, on Sept. 27. I’m just not sure I’m quite getting your point on why the pressure would be so different than it is now. I’ll admit that generally, I’m pretty cynical about our lawmakers. I don’t believe they do a hell of a lot of work or much good for that matter. The have months and months to work. I don’t see how they can’t set up a reasonable schedule to wrap up their normal sessions prior to elections.

        1. For item 3: What do you think will happen if 468 congressmen and their staffs leave the building on November 5th? Phones? Constituent messages and action items? Committee assignments? In process documents? Security responsibilities?

          I know that not all incumbents would be voted out; however, exits require planning. I was a core team member on facility moves (internal and external) and one cannot simply walk away in 24 hours and have another team sitting there ready to begin.

Comments are closed.