Republicans have been raising the concern of a lame-duck session of Congress where the Democrats will attempt to shove Cap and Trade, Card Check, and other tired, statist policies down the American people’s throats. Although such new authorizations would be a slap in the face to a public that just issued a new governing mandate, this concern is misdirected and minuscule compared to an even greater lame duck challenge.
The radical policies the Lame Duck Democrats may attempt to authorize honestly have little to no chance of garnering 60 votes in the Senate, even in a lame duck session. I simply don’t foresee the more principled, moderate Democratic Senators like Evan Bayh caving in on Card Check or Cap and Trade; while others like Senator Ben Nelson will be too worried about their 2012 re-election bids.
Thus while the Lame Duck Authorizers aren’t too scary, make sure to beware the Lame Duck Appropriators.
Considering the “power of the purse” would be one of the only realistic policy avenues available to a Republican Congress with a defiant president of the opposite party, Lame Duck Democrats will understandably be fearful that a Speaker Boehner would lead the fight to de-fund their “crowning achievements” like ObamaCare, TARP, and the “stimulus”.
Of greatest concern here for both parties is the funding for ObamaCare, with the perceived success of the program hinging on a seamless launch in 2014, making next year’s implementation funding for the law a critical target for both its supporters and opponents.
Therefore be prepared that the same Democratic majority that has all year long abdicated their duty to pass a budget will use the lame duck session to appropriate as much funding as possible before they’re kicked out the door.
The problem for Republicans in fighting this funding is that citizens naturally aren’t as concerned about appropriating money for existing law, no matter how unpopular it may be. Although a clear majority of the public wants ObamaCare, the stimulus, and TARP winded down, the average person doesn’t realize existing laws can be de-funded and rather have the expectation that laws on the books will be carried out and funded.
Thus, motivating the public to stop appropriations is a far more challenging pursuit than for authorizations, making the current lame duck session more trying than currently being discussed.
Without a change in the public’s expectations on appropriations, Lame Duck Democrats will be allowed to skate on by as Lame Duck Appropriators. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to educate the public that de-funding is a form of repeal and that when Congress appropriates money for a policy that you reject, it is just as bad as them authorizing a policy that you reject.
The American people are on our side here, we just need to bring them to the table.
Alex Cortes is the Chairman of DeFundIt.org, an organization advocating for the de-funding of ObamaCare