If you thought the election year rancor and political mudslinging was over, think again. Late last month, Congress slipped out of DC without passing a budget, guaranteeing the House and Senate will be back in session after Nov. 2.
The problem is, despite the election results, newly elected House and Senate members won’t be seated until January. However, legislators turned out of office by the voters Nov. 2 remain in power until then. They are free to raise taxes and vote for unpopular programs such as cap-and-trade and card check – and they have nothing to lose. If a defeated senator or member of Congress wants to take a parting shot, the lame- duck session provides a perfect opportunity.
In fact, the lame-duck session could cripple our economy for years to come.
First, our federal budget deficit has escalated dramatically in the last two years. In 2006, borrowing to balance the federal budget surpassed $8 trillion, but in the last two years, it has swelled to $13.7 trillion. It is on its way to $19.6 trillion by 2015 if President Obama and the current Congress continue spending.
David M. Walker, who headed the Government Accountability Office under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, says that by 2040 our entire federal budget will go to paying just the interest on what we owe.
Second, union leaders are pressing Congress to pass card check. It would replace the secret ballot elections in union organizing campaigns with a system where organizers can pass out cards and watch while workers vote yes or no. Even former Democrat presidential candidate George McGovern, D-S.D., who had a perfect record of supporting unions, says, “We cannot be a party that strips working Americans of the right to a secret-ballot election.”