House Republicans Could End Lame Duck Sessions

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 29 2010 11:17 AM

House Republicans Could End Lame Duck Sessions

Little-noticed over the holiday week: Rep. Lynn Jenkins tweeting this promise.

I will re-introduce the End the Lame Duck Act to prevent power grabs as we've seen at the end of this session.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


Jenkins linked to a story by David Farenthold explaining that the 20th amendment was supposed to end lame duck sessions by truncating the life of expired Congresses to January, when they had been returning until March. It didn't end lame duck sessions; it just made them not worth doing in the era before airplanes. And then it got easier to travel to and from Washington and the lame ducks became ways for the exiting Congresses to get work done.

In July 2010, like she said, Jenkins introduced legislation to prohibit lame duck sessions . The key bit:

(a) Mandatory Sine Die Adjournment- Except as provided in subsection (b), if the House of Representatives stands adjourned on the date of the regularly scheduled general election for Federal office during a Congress (beginning with the One Hundred Tenth Congress) pursuant to a concurrent resolution providing for the adjournment of the House, the House shall be considered to be adjourned sine die.

(b) Permitting Reassembly in Case of National Emergency- After the date described in subsection (a), the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Majority Leader of the Senate, or their respective designees, acting jointly after consultation with the Minority Leader of the House and the Minority Leader of the Senate, may notify the Members of the House and Senate, respectively, to reassemble if they determine that the existence of a national emergency warrants it.

That bill got only 20 co-sponsors, but let's see what happens when a new Republican Congress gets a look at it.



David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


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