Watch Out for the Lame Duck Session

By Tony Perkins

Hundreds of concession speeches have been made since last week’s elections — but don’t waste your time waiting on the Democratic Party’s. If Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) comments are any indication, the Left isn’t conceding a thing about the walloping liberals took at the hands of unhappy voters.

In an almost comical interview, the House Minority Leader still can’t come to grips with America’s rejection and insists that last Tuesday’s losses were in no way a referendum on her party. “I do not believe what happened the other night is a ‘wave,’” Pelosi said. “There was no wave of approval for the Republicans. I wish them congratulations, they won the election, but there was no wave of approval for anybody. There was an ebbing, an ebb tide, for us.”

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Like President Obama, the California Congresswoman is drowning in her own delusion. The two sides might disagree on what to call last week’s results, but the message was clear: Americans are tired of the failed policies of the Obama administration. But that doesn’t mean the GOP has a free pass. Last week’s results were a warning to every Republican in Congress that the majority of voters who took the time to engage in the political process want limited government that honors the Constitution.

If anyone understands that, it’s the class of freshmen members streaming into the Capitol for orientation. In trailers across the House and Senate courtyards, last week’s winners are setting up shop for a crash course in Hill life. Fortunately, one lesson they’ve already learned is what voters want. Let’s hope that rubs off on the current members, who are buckling down for a busy few weeks of tying up loose ends.

As we know from past years, liberals are famous for kicking explosive issues into the lame-duck sessions when accountability is at its lowest. And if past lame-duck sessions are any indication (see: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and START Treaty), conservatives will be scrambling to block an onslaught of bad bills that bitter Democrats try to leave as parting gifts for the new Congress.

If the election won’t keep the President’s party in check, maybe their favorability rating (or lack thereof) will. At 36%, the public’s approval of the current majority is the lowest since Gallup starting asking the question! No doubt that would dip even lower if Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and company tried to use the lame duck to squeeze unpopular bills through the chamber before the clock runs out on the Democrats’ majority.

FRC will be watching to make sure the legislative calendar isn’t stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey with radical judges, key nominations, and bad bills like ENDA. With the government’s funding set to expire in December, we’ll push members to pass a responsible stopgap measure (that includes pro-life policy provisions) until the new leaders arrive in January. Congress should also exercise its oversight of D.C. and respond to the legalization of marijuana, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, and a Council vote that stripped protections for local religious schools.

Last but not least, it’s critical that Congress keeps the heat on the Pentagon in the Defense bill to clarify the protections for religious expression and speech. If conservatives can do that, then America might just survive one more Senate session under Democratic control.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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