On Monday, Democrats will trickle back into their offices to take a long last look around. For more than 60 members, the lame-duck will be their swan song. But before they join the unemployment lines their party never managed to shorten, the fading majority has big plans for its Capitol farewell.
The leadership that couldn't pass a budget in two years is pushing to pass a lot more. With only 10 days at work in November, Democrats are stuffing the agenda fatter than a Thanksgiving turkey. According to reports, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have batted around a thick menu of legislative options, including tax cuts, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Defense Authorization, child nutrition, amnesty for illegal immigrants, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), judicial confirmations, health care hearings, and even a global push to overturn pro-life laws.
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But even in the majority, it won't be easy to binge on bills. Time is tight--and so are House Republicans, who are heading into this final session in the minority with less incentive to compromise. While tensions are probably highest in the debates over homosexuals in the military and President Obama's tax hikes, there's plenty of drama to go around. Democrats have at least three congressional hearings on the schedule with major implications for pro-family groups. Hoping the noise over big ticket items will drown them out, liberals are bringing Robert Chatigny (serial rapist sympathizer) back up for consideration in the Judiciary Committee. You may remember that Chatigny--who was nominated to the Second Circuit Court not once, but twice by President Obama--has a record so horrifying that even Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) refused to vote for him. Among other things, Chatigny is on the record defending a man that violently raped women and murdered eight. "[He] is the least culpable of the people on death row," Chatigny insisted. "He should have never been convicted." On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will decide if his empathy for cold-blooded killers makes him worthy of promotion to one of the country's most powerful courts.
Later in the week, the most important man that you've never heard of--Robert Berwick--will have his first sit down with the Senate Finance Committee about his radical plans for health care. Berwick, who the President entrusted with $962 billion dollars, heads up the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid--a job he was never approved by Congress to do. Instead, the White House, sensing that his pro-euthanasia socialist views would pose problems even for his own party, made Berwick a recess appointment. "There are a lot of questions that he'll need to answer next week," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Not the least of which should be his fondness for rationing and death panels. Also buried deep within the Senate docket is a hearing on "Human Rights and the Law," which will be a regurgitation of the debate over CEDAW, a rabid anti-life treaty that claims abortion is a universal right. Among other things, the administration would use its ratification to strong-arm other countries into overturning their pro-life laws. Conservatives will have to be on guard next week, else Speaker Pelosi will achieve at least one goal: leaving the House an absolute mess.