Looking Ahead to the Lame Duck Session
The time Congress meets between a general election and the inauguration of a new president is referred to as a “lame duck” session. This year, the House and Senate have a full plate, especially with the current continuing resolution (CR) funding the government set to expire on December 9.
A CR is a piece of legislation that funds the government, usually at the previous year’s levels until Congress can agree on a regular appropriations bill. Using CRs to fund the government deprives Congress of much of the power of the purse the framers of the Constitution set out in Article 1. While I don’t usually support CRs, I’m in favor of honoring President-elect Trump’s request that Congress give him a chance to weigh in on FY17 spending. I am optimistic that a CR until March will allow Congress time to work with President Trump to implement many of the reforms and priorities he ran on, especially defunding, repealing and replacing Obamacare. Another benefit of having the CR end in March will provide us the opportunity to have "two bites" at the budget apple, in March and again in September for the next fiscal year.
A process known as budget reconciliation allows certain laws to move through the Senate with only 51 votes. That’s how Democrats passed Obamacare in 2010 without a single Republican vote. During his campaign and since his victory, President-elect Trump has spoken about changes most of us agree should be made like repealing and replacing Obamacare, reforming the tax system, increasing border security, creating jobs and much more. Some of these goals can be achieved through the budget reconciliation process.
I believe a vote for the continuing resolution during the lame duck will be a vote to empower President Trump when he enters office.
I also expect important defense legislation that is good for area bases and a waterways development bill that prioritizes widening and deepening the Port of Corpus Christi and maintains the Intercostal Waterway will come up in the lame duck.