5 Bills Democrats Want to Ram Through Congress in Lame-Duck Session

Democrats are in a mad scramble to push by means 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 non secular 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 slim majority within the Home subsequent 12 months.

Jamming by means of controversial laws by means of Congress throughout a lame-duck session is a troubling practice to start with. It’s changing 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 Put up editorial board called on Democrats in Congress to make this lame-duck session a “mighty one.” Think about how The Put up would describe the scenario if it had been Republicans searching for to push a conservative agenda by means of.

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

‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

On Thanksgiving, President Joe Biden stated that he wished Congress to go an “assault weapons” ban through the lame-duck session.

“The concept we nonetheless enable semiautomatic weapons to be bought is sick,” Biden said 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 stated that he would attempt to “eliminate assault weapons.”

What precisely Biden means there’s a bit laborious 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 numerous, 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 prime Democrats within the Senate aren’t certain they’ve the votes to go the laws. The Home of Representatives, managed for just a few extra weeks by Democrats, passed 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., said 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? In all probability not, however let’s see if we are able to 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 present Congress a method for settling the matter, the 1887 legislation required a joint session of Congress to depend the Electoral Faculty votes from every state and stipulated that the vice chairman, as presiding officer, would certify the outcomes.

Nonetheless, if an objection to the depend is asserted in writing by a Home member and signed by at the least one senator, the joint session would quickly adjourn, and each the Home and the Senate can 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 remove that energy from Congress. Some Democrats, nevertheless, need to see extra widespread modifications to the U.S. voting system to successfully federalize the method.

“The naked minimal, completely; however we have to go additional than that,” Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said 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, improve federal veto energy over state election legal guidelines by means of the Justice Division.

Omnibus Spending Invoice

The Biden administration is trying to drastically improve federal spending by means of a large omnibus invoice through the lame-duck interval. The administration asked for greater than $47 billion to be spent on assist to Ukraine, COVID-19, and different initiatives.

As Matthew Dickerson, federal price range professional at The Heritage Basis, defined in The Day by day Sign, that degree 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 Day by day Sign is the media outlet of The Heritage Basis.)

“This supplemental spending request for Ukraine assist and COVID-19 funding is greater than a whole 12 months’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 12 months—deserves an intensive debate and examination by the brand new Congress.

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

“Since 1994, management of the Home has modified palms 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 offer amnesty for unlawful immigrants who got here to the U.S. once they had been kids.

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

At a Nov. 16 occasion on Capitol Hill with a gaggle of Senate Democrats, Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., referred to 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 said. “It’s merciless and inhumane to maintain hundreds of thousands in limbo. Senate Republicans have to work with us on this broadly supported coverage so we are able to attain an settlement that can 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 is just not solely to codify DACA, which has about 600,000 enrollees, but additionally to increase that amnesty to an estimated 4.4 million unlawful aliens. In different phrases, what’s being offered as a small repair would truly grow to be the biggest amnesty in historical past—far exceeding the quantity of people that had been legalized because of laws handed in 1986.

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