By Ernest Istook
The lame duck Congress is a clone of Marvin K. Mooney. He’s the Dr. Seuss character who refused to leave.
Refusing to accept the voters’ record-low approval of Congress (13 percent according to Gallup) and refusing to accept their rejection by voters, those running the show are clinging to their last strands of power until the last possible moment.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) announced, “There is still Congress after Christmas. So if the Republicans think that because they can stall and stall and stall, that we take a break, we’re through. We’re not through. Congress ends on January 4th.”
The Democrat Congress that refused to do its work on time now blames the other party for resisting last-minute efforts to compress a year’s worth of work into the holiday period. Now while the public is distracted by visions of sugar plums, Congress is distracted by visions of sweet pork.
Thousands of earmarks totaling an estimated $8-billion are in the $1.2-trillion, 1,924-page spending bill which sponsors say must be rushed through to meet a Dec. 18th deadline. That deadline exists only because Congress ignored the original Sept. 30th deadline; and the date could be extended again to let the new Congress make better decisions. There’s nothing in that bill that couldn’t be resolved after the newly-elected Representatives and Senators take office on January 5th, dramatically changing the political makeup of each body.
The same artificial deadline is being used to rush the tax bill. It’s too late already to prevent higher withholding taxes in January because it takes so long for the IRS to adjust withholding tables. But since prevention of the automatic tax hikes can easily be made retroactive to January 1st, the justification for rushing is a false excuse. Why not let the new Congress handle it?
The real motive for haste comes from President Obama. He knows the incoming Congress would be less likely to accept his costly add-ons to the tax package, so he cut a deal with the outgoing Congress. We can do better if we’ll just be patient for the newcomers to be sworn in.
But the lame duck Congress is overstaying its welcome for more reasons than just money.
There’s the START treaty with its threat to America’s missile defense capability; the DREAM Act with its backdoor amnesty provisions; the push to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and all the other things being dragged out when most Americans are busier preparing for Christmas than watch-dogging Congress. Surprise packages abound under the Congressional Christmas tree.
As Dr. Seuss said of Marvin K. Mooney:
“Will you please go now!
The time has come.
The time has come.
The time is now.
I don’t care how.
You can go by foot.
You can go by cow.
* * *
You can go on skates.
You can go on skis.
You can go in a hat.
* * *
Don’t you know
The time has come
To go, go, GO!