Pro-liberty Congressman Thomas Massie recently took to the pages of Cincinnati Inquirer to warn about the dangers of the lame duck. You can read read all of Rep. Massie’s op-ed here, with experts below:
The main business of the lame-duck session will be an omnibus spending bill that will fund every branch of the government. Although it will be over 1,000 pages long, congressmen will have only hours to read this budget-busting legislation that will fund virtually the entire Obama agenda until Sept. 30, 2017. This is no way to run things. Instead, the House and Senate should follow what is known as “regular order.” Each year, both the House and Senate should pass the 12 separate appropriations bills that together fund the government, and send them to the president for a signature. These 12 bills fund each of the executive branch agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of the Interior. Incredibly, Congress hasn’t passed all 12 bills on time since 1994. In spite of Speaker Paul Ryan’s promise, this year Congress once again failed to follow regular order. The House passed only five of its appropriations bills, while the Senate passed only three. None were sent to the president. Instead, a “continuing resolution” was passed to fund the government until Dec. 9. The result of this can-kicking maneuver is a government funding crisis just before Christmas, necessitating the lame-duck session. Calling it the “Zombie Congress,” former Senator and Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint explains the danger of lame ducks: “With no electorate to appease, the newly politically ‘deceased’ members have no incentive to restrain their more base urges to feast upon the hard-earned tax dollars of the living.”
With no accountability to voters, Congress ignores budget caps and passes disastrous bills during lame-duck sessions. Past examples include the flawed “Superfund” environmental cleanup program, the 2008 auto industry bailout, and the “fiscal cliff deal” of 2012, which contained one of the largest tax increases ever. Rumored potential items for this year’s lame duck include the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, an internet sales tax, and consideration of Merrick Garland for the U.S. Supreme Court. It is simply wrong to consider any of these matters during a lame-duck session. All who value the rule of law, transparency and our Constitution should oppose this upcoming dangerous lame duck.