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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

West: Don’t forget about keeping Congress

The results of the November 8 elections will not only determine who lives in the White House, it will also decide the composition of Congress. There are only a handful of possible outcomes: A majority of Congress will be held by either the Republicans or the Democrats, or the majority will be split with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a Democratic-controlled Senate. Each of these scenarios has its own possibilities and challenges given the consequences of a Trump or a Clinton presidency. Putting aside the intrigue and significance of the presidential election, let’s focus for a few minutes on Congress.

For starters, don’t forget about the post-election lame duck session. We join with other voices decrying the illegitimacy of a lame duck session of Congress. Except for dire emergencies, we cannot imagine a circumstance where senators or representatives should make decisions that are binding on the very people who just voted to remove them from Congress. Nevertheless, Congress has manufactured an emergency by failing to fund the government beyond December.

So, the first order of business for the lame duck session is to pass a funding measure that resists the temptation to spend more money than is needed to keep the federal government open.

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