09 November 2006

Lame Duck Sessions Need To Go

Colorado doesn't have lame duck sessions. The legislature doesn't pass laws between the election and the appointment of their successors. In parliamentary systems of government, the cabinet of the outgoing government becomes a caretaker government generally as soon as the election is announced, and certainly, after the election is over. Congress does have lame duck sessions where it conducts ordinary business after the election, but before their successors take office, but it shouldn't. The concept is fundamentally anti-democratic.

Lincoln Chaffee intervened to stop the latest ham handed effort of President Bush to appoint controversial John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador during the lame duck session, knowing that Bolton is doomed when the Congress takes office.

There is no reason that a Congress should have the power to approve nominations at all after an election and before the newly elected Congress takes office. Recess appointments can handle emergencies that come up in November and December, and would terminate in January. And, there is no reason that non-emergency legislation needs to be passed in this time period either. If the budget isn't done, perhaps they should have the power to pass a continuing resolution until the new Congress takes office, and if we are attacked, perhaps they need to reconvene to declare war, but that is it.

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