Taking the Lame Out of the Duck

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Lisa Mascaro writes in the LA Times that Democrats are lowering their sights for the lame duck session:

Gone is any hint that Democrats will try to ram through the rest of the ambitious legislative goals President Obama outlined two years ago when he took office with a Democratic majority in both chambers. No one, for example, is talking about a controversial bill to reduce global warming pollution with a cap-and-trade system.

Still, Democrats are intent on closing out the 111th Congress with a few final strokes that could provide a fitting coda to what historians have called one of the most productive sessions in a generation. Despite electoral losses that handed control of the House to Republicans and diminished Democrats’ majority in the Senate, Democratic leaders are pressing an agenda that would extend middle-class tax cuts, fund the government and perhaps repeal the ban on openly gay men and women serving in the military.

I never believed for a second that Democrats could pass cap-and-trade, immigration reform, or card check during the lame duck session. It was a fantasy. If they couldn’t do it during the regular session, what made anyone think they could do it during a lame duck?

Frankly, if they can pass a tax plan and repeal DADT, I’d consider that a pretty productive lame duck session. I’d even propose a deal that a few moderate Republicans might be open to: extend all the Bush tax cuts for three years in return for passage of the funding bills, including DADT repeal. If Democrats managed to do that, and possibly get Senate approval of New START too, it would go a long way toward showing that they haven’t been entirely cowed by their “shellacking.”

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