Politics

Congress rejects Republican efforts to prevent congressional action during lame duck session

House lawmakers on Tuesday quashed Republican attempts to prevent Democrats from pushing through unpopular legislation during a “lame duck” session after the November elections.

In a vote of 236-163, the House rejected Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price’s resolution, pledging that Congress would not convene, except in the event of an emergency, between November 2, 2010 through January 3, 2011.

Democrats have ridiculed Republicans for their efforts, deeming them to be unreasonably hysterical. The Huffington Post reported Monday that one Democrat aide dubbed Price’s resolution, “The Republican Winter Vacation Act.”

Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen told reporters on a conference call last week that Price’s resolution was a lot ado about very little. “This whole effort to whip up hysteria as if there’s some secret plan to do stuff in the lame duck session is just nonsense,” Van Hollen said. “This is a scare tactic at its very worst, they are trying to spread the notion that there’s a plan to do major legislation in a lame duck session — there isn’t. There just isn’t.”

Price countered such sentiments on Tuesday.“The American people are fed up with the way Democrats are running the country,” he said in a statement. “Despite having total control over Congress and the White House, Democrats have delayed important debates in the hopes of using a lame duck session to avoid scrutiny of their job-killing plans. Most Americans oppose the idea of a lame duck session being used to override the will of the public. While Republicans have listened to the American people, Democrats chose to keep ignoring them by leaving the door wide open to a post-election blitz of deficit spending, job-killing liberal policies, and tax hikes on families and small businesses.”

In a poll Rasmussen Reports conducted from July 14-15, a majority of likely voters reacted unfavorably to passing legislation during a “lame duck” session.

The survey asked: “After the November election, there is a two month wait until newly elected members of Congress take office. Should Congress consider major new legislation during these months or should they wait until the newly elected members of Congress take office?”

Twenty-nine percent of respondents said “Congress should consider major new legislation during these months” while 65 percent said, “They should wait until the newly elected members of Congress take office.” Seven percent responded as “Not sure.”

E-mail Caroline May and follow her on Twitter