The Lame Duck That Will Not Die

Here’s what Harry Reid said yesterday.

“There’s still Congress after Christmas,” Reid said. “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.”

Almost nobody believes Reid. But it doesn’t matter. The fact that this partial-birth abortion of a lame-duck Congress has continued this far into December without doing the two things the American people actually want – namely, maintaining the current tax rates and getting a resolution to fund the federal government into next year – is all the evidence you need to damn Reid and his insane counterpart in the House as the leaders of the worst Congress in American history.

The worst? A strong statement, you say? Well, this isn’t yours truly talking – it’s the American people. Gallup’s latest numbers indicate that the congressional approval rating is now just 13 percent. That’s an all-time low; the previous worst was 14 percent in June of 2008 – when the same two mouth-breathers were in charge of the same Congress.

The American public has gotten rid of dozens of these people in the latest elections, but they simply don’t care. As our Mark Zelden noted months ago, they now have nothing to lose – and in the past when Democrats have had a chance to exact revenge on the American people for their electoral defeat they’ve been relatively merciless…

In the aftermath of the 1980 Reagan landslide, Democrats suffered massive losses and control of the US Senate for the first time since the 1950′s. Confronted with the realization that their control of the legislative branch was coming to an end and an activist Republican Administration was coming in January of 1981, President Carter and the Democrat leadership in Congress went on a legislative spree that is unprecedented in sheer scope and size.

Legislation passed at the end of 1980 included two major bills with little or no debate that continue to cause problems to this day.

The first was a major land grab in Alaska, more commonly know as the “Alaska Lands Bill” that saw the federal government take control of millions of acres of land and prevented drilling in some of the most productive oil and natural gas deposits in the country. This is causing enormous headaches today as we rely too heavily on foreign sources of energy when we could provide much higher percentages domestically, especially in Alaska.

The second major bill was the Superfund environmental legislation (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act {CERCLA}) that implemented major taxes on energy producers and spawned a wave of litigation around the country. Superfund is a ticking time bomb today as the taxes to pay for the fund have expired but the cleanups in many areas of the country have yet to take place.

But this lame duck makes 1980 look like a Swedish massage. Reid and Pelosi are still trying, with some success to pull a mountain of bad legislation down on the American people – the DREAM Act, Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell, the START treaty, Michelle Obama’s food tyranny, and on and on.

And the two things they were supposed to do in the first place, they’ve cocked up.

Reid inherited a tax bill which, while it was anything but perfect, was at least relatively clean; it essentially maintained the Bush tax rates except for the estate tax, which it restored at 35 percent instead of the 55 percent that was going to kick in, it extended unemployment benefits and it gave a two percent break in the payroll tax. You could disagree with those elements, but at least they were understandable.

Reid then took a relatively simple piece of legislation and proceeded to lard it up with $55 billion worth of excrement. Says Fox News

Among the extra provisions are a tax credit for biodiesel, a tax credit for ethanol, extensions of tax credits for energy-efficient homes and appliances, and credits for training mine rescue teams. 

It would allow millions of dollars worth of expensing for film and production companies doing work in the United States, give breaks for the rum trade in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, provide incentives for investment in the District of Columbia and provide other benefits for the battered Gulf coast. 

The 45-cent-per-gallon ethanol subsidy alone, extended through 2011, was estimated to cost about $5 billion. The issue is of particular interest to lawmakers from Midwestern states with grain crops.

But Reid was just getting started. After ruining the tax bill, he then rolled out a 1,924-page omnibus spending bill that pours an estimated $1.1 trillion worth of gasoline on the deficit fire. Included in the bill is $8 billion in 6,488 earmarks. And worse, crappy Republican senators like George Voinovich, Bob Bennett, Thad Cochran, Kit Bond, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and even Scott Brown are talking about voting for it.

Because if it or some other spending bill doesn’t pass, the government shuts down on Saturday.

If it does pass, the bill will lock in all federal discretionary spending through the end of the next fiscal year in September. It’s designed to keep the incoming House GOP majority from making the spending cuts the American people elected them to make.

It’s an embarrassment. These people are an embarrassment. And this is the shameful end to the worst Congress in American history.



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