5 Issues Democrats Need to Ram Via Congress in Lame-Duck Session

Democrats are in a mad scramble to push by way of unpopular laws earlier than the clock strikes midnight on the 117th Congress.

The lame-duck session is the interval between November’s congressional elections and the convening of the brand new 118th Congress on Jan. 3.

With some Republican assist, Democrats within the Senate handed the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, which might repeal the 1996 Protection of Marriage Act and orders the federal authorities to acknowledge same-sex marriages. 

However that’s not all.

The laws has vital implications for spiritual freedom. It awaits passage within the Home, the place Democrats nonetheless have a slim majority till the brand new session. Republicans will maintain a equally slender majority within the Home subsequent yr.

Jamming by way of controversial laws by way of Congress throughout a lame-duck session is a troubling apply to start with. It’s turning into more and more widespread to convey up extra hotly contested laws that didn’t have an opportunity of passing when weak legislators needed to face an election—and the voters.

Democrats are so involved with “democracy” that they’re scrambling to go off the outcomes of final month’s elections, it appears. As is commonly the case, the Left cares little concerning the correct functioning of presidency when its priorities are at stake.

The Washington Submit editorial board known as on Democrats in Congress to make this lame-duck session a “mighty one.” Think about how The Submit would describe the scenario if it had been Republicans searching for to push a conservative agenda by way of.

Along with “the Respect for Marriage Act,” listed below are 4 extra of probably the most controversial items of laws being thought-about by the present lame-duck Congress:

‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

On Thanksgiving, President Joe Biden mentioned that he needed Congress to cross an “assault weapons” ban through the lame-duck session.

“The thought we nonetheless permit semiautomatic weapons to be bought is sick,” Biden mentioned at a Thanksgiving Day press occasion in Nantucket, Mass. “Simply sick. It has no socially redeeming worth. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it, besides revenue for the gun producers.”

He then mentioned that he would attempt to “do away with assault weapons.”

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What precisely Biden means there’s a bit exhausting to decipher. If the purpose is actually to ban “semiautomatic” weapons, that would come with many rifles and handguns. As Rep. Mark Alford, R-Mo., famous on Twitter, semiautomatic weapons comprise about half of all gun gross sales within the U.S.

There are lots of, many causes to have semiautomatic weapons. Not that Biden or his fellow Democrats need to acknowledge that.

Regardless of Biden’s name for an “assault weapons” ban, it appears high Democrats within the Senate aren’t positive they’ve the votes to cross the laws. The Home of Representatives, managed for a number of extra weeks by Democrats, handed gun management laws in July, however the invoice stalled within the Senate.

“I’m glad that President Biden goes to be pushing us to take a vote on an assault weapons ban,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., mentioned on CNN. “The Home has already handed it. It’s sitting in entrance of the Senate. Does it have 60 votes within the Senate proper now? Most likely not, however let’s see if we will attempt to get that quantity as near 60 as attainable.”

Even when Democrats within the Senate all vote in favor of the laws, they’d nonetheless want at the least 10 Republican votes to beat a sure GOP filibuster.

Electoral Rely Act

Democrats wish to change the Electoral Rely Act. This 1887 legislation laid out the process for counting Electoral Faculty votes following a presidential election. It grew to become a hotly contested problem following the 2020 presidential vote.

The legislation was the results of the 1876 presidential election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden, through which 4 states despatched Congress competing units of Electoral Faculty votes. 

Right here’s how my colleague Fred Lucas described the Electoral Faculty Act, which was meant to make clear the method:

To provide Congress a way for settling the matter, the 1887 legislation required a joint session of Congress to rely the Electoral Faculty votes from every state and stipulated that the vp, as presiding officer, would certify the outcomes.

Nevertheless, if an objection to the rely is said in writing by a Home member and signed by at the least one senator, the joint session would briefly adjourn, and each the Home and the Senate could be required to debate the objection for 2 hours. The chambers would vote on the lawmakers’ objection earlier than reconvening within the joint session.

There have been bipartisan talks to take away that energy from Congress. Some Democrats, nevertheless, need to see extra widespread adjustments to the U.S. voting system to successfully federalize the method.

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“The naked minimal, completely; however we have to go additional than that,” Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., mentioned of reforming the Electoral Rely Act. “We have to have a look at the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act.”

The John R. Lewis Development Act would, amongst different issues, enhance federal veto energy over state election legal guidelines by way of the Justice Division.

Omnibus Spending Invoice

The Biden administration is seeking to drastically enhance federal spending by way of a large omnibus invoice through the lame-duck interval. The administration requested for greater than $47 billion to be spent on help to Ukraine, COVID-19, and different initiatives.

As Matthew Dickerson, federal price range skilled at The Heritage Basis, defined in The Each day Sign, that stage of spending within the lame-duck interval is irresponsible at a time when the U.S. economic system is experiencing the very best inflation price in a long time. (The Each day Sign is the media outlet of The Heritage Basis.)

“This supplemental spending request for Ukraine help and COVID-19 funding is greater than a complete yr’s value of normal appropriations for the departments of Agriculture and Inside mixed,” he wrote.

Dickerson wrote that the Ukraine spending—which already exceeds the spending on the U.S. Division of Homeland Safety this yr—deserves a radical debate and examination by the brand new Congress.

Passing such a serious piece of spending laws in a lame-duck session previous a shift in partisan management of the Home in January could be an unprecedented transfer, in response to Eric Teetsel, Heritage’s vp of presidency relations.

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“Since 1994, management of the Home has modified fingers in 4 midterm election cycles (1994, 2006, 2010, and 2018). By no means earlier than has the outgoing Home majority handed an omnibus appropriations invoice through the lame-duck session following the election,” he wrote.

Amnesty for Unlawful Immigrants

Congressional Democrats are searching for to codify the Deferred Motion for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which would supply amnesty for unlawful immigrants who got here to the U.S. after they had been youngsters.

DACA was initially enacted in 2012 underneath President Barack Obama by govt fiat—the “pen and cellphone” presidency at work. It was struck down by a federal decide in 2021 and might be blocked by the Supreme Court docket, too. Democrats at the moment are again to pursuing a extra conventional path of passing a invoice by way of Congress. (You understand, that quaint course of as soon as described in “Schoolhouse Rock!”)

At a Nov. 16 occasion on Capitol Hill with a bunch of Senate Democrats, Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., known as for passing an amnesty program for unlawful immigrants.

“I name on my Republican colleagues to hitch Democrats and assist us shield our Dreamers,” Schumer mentioned. “It’s merciless and inhumane to maintain hundreds of thousands in limbo. Senate Republicans have to work with us on this extensively supported coverage so we will attain an settlement that may shield households and strengthen our economic system.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. and Home Judiciary Committee chairman, has additionally been engaged on DACA laws.

Right here’s how Dan Stein, the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, described the Nadler initiative to double down on DACA:

Nadler’s plan will not be solely to codify DACA, which has about 600,000 enrollees, but in addition to increase that amnesty to an estimated 4.4 million unlawful aliens. In different phrases, what’s being bought as a small repair would really change into the most important amnesty in historical past—far exceeding the quantity of people that had been legalized because of laws handed in 1986.

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