As the election cycle concludes, people may feel this is the end of a hotly contested political battle, but it is only the beginning for lawmakers, those staying for another term in Washington and those freshmen who have been elected and are now seeking change. Those who have lost their seats now enter into an unfamiliar phase called lame duck. Lame Duck is the nickname given to the sessions of Congress that occur between November 6th and January 20th. This is sure to be a very tense period because of the critical state of our economy. It is also the time in which new leadership is elected in both chambers and new members of Congress are sworn in.
The Lame Duck session provides a balance between the major issues facing the entire country and those smaller issues that certain corporations and industries want to see passed. The big issues in this particular session are going to be the fiscal cliff, the impending expiry of tax cuts, sequestration and military spending. A major issue which only came up a short time ago is a potential FEMA grant bill, which is sure to be brought up as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Not only will the issue of extra grants be raised, but we’ll likely see legislation on climate change with these sorts of natural disasters being more and more common. With a divided Congress, there is sure to be gridlock on a host of issues, whether they are the major or not.
Although our civic duty to vote is now over, and though we are handing over our trust to the lawmakers to see that this country gets back on the road to recovery, it is critical that the public still remain engaged with their leaders to ensure we see real reform. The lame duck session will hopefully be a step in that direction, but only time will tell.