Hoping This Duck Won't Turn Into A Turkey

[ Posted Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022 – 15:40 UTC ]

That is a rather convoluted headline, but I had to work the word "turkey" in there somehow, so I apologize. But the thought is real -- the lame-duck session of Congress has a lot to get done in a very short period of time, and if it doesn't succeed on multiple fronts it will set the stage for future chaos. The time to act is now, because the consequences of not acting would be severe.

There are two critical things the lame-duck Congress must achieve, as well as a number of other issues it would be nice to see some progress on. The Senate actually started with one of these, by advancing the Respect For Marriage Act past a filibuster attempt with an impressive 62-37 vote. They still have to hold a final vote on it, and then send it over to the House but it is looking like this will be the first thing accomplished in the lame-duck session. It should rightly be seen as a rebuke of the Supreme Court's radical overreach, so it is important.

The two critical things to get done are to protect the economy and protect democracy from the forces within the Republican Party who actively want to destroy both. We are currently not bumping up against the debt ceiling, but we will at some point in the next two years (likely some time next year). This would give Kevin McCarthy a hostage to hold over President Joe Biden and the Democrats, which Republicans are already gleefully anticipating (although they haven't coalesced around exactly what they would demand in order to release the hostage). This is playing with fire, because if the United States did default on its debt even for a short period it could throw the entire globe's financial stability into crisis. But McCarthy and his MAGA members simply do not care.

This makes it imperative that McCarthy be denied any chance for such brinksmanship. And the way to do that would be to raise the debt ceiling now to a level that would last through the end of Biden's first term. That is the minimum Congress needs to achieve, but there are more sweeping solutions to the problem as well -- they could either raise the debt ceiling so high it wouldn't even be a political issue again for 100 years (raise it to ten quadrillion dollars, say), or they could just implement the most obvious solution of all and abolish the entire concept of a debt ceiling. Congress could pass a bill that simply says "the Treasury is permanently empowered to borrow anything it needs to pay for the budgets Congress passes," and the problem would be solved forever.

The second must-pass item is the reform of the Electoral Count Act that has been working its way through both houses. The Senate version is slightly weaker, but will likely be the only thing they'll accept, which is good enough (at this point). The law on presidential elections is convoluted and insufficiently precise, which is exactly what Donald Trump tried to exploit after the 2020 election. Changes must be made while Democrats still control both chambers, because Republicans are never going to pass anything to rein Trump in when they retake the House. America cannot go through another constitutional crisis just because a 150-year-old law was badly written. Mike Pence and a lot of Republican state-level officials refused to go along with Trump's scheme, but that's no guarantee of the same outcome the next time a crisis hits.

Reforming the basic election law should have been achieved by now. It shouldn't have had to wait for the lame-duck session. But as usual it got bogged down in the Senate and remains undone. This and the debt ceiling are the two highest-priority things that absolutely must be accomplished before the end of the year.

There are other important things Congress could do, as well. They could lock in military funding for Ukraine, before the Republicans take over the House. McCarthy is already being pressured by some in his caucus to either halt this funding or at the very least use it as leverage to negotiate other things with the White House. They see it as another hostage, in other words. But if long-term funding was locked in before McCarthy takes over, it would deny him this leverage at least until the budget battles began.

Personally, I would even urge Congress to shoot for the moon and make another attempt to reinstate the Voting Rights Act. It's worth a try, since it is so incredibly important (and would be another rebuke to the Supreme Court, as well). You might think Republicans would automatically block it once again, but there's a possibility that Democrats could entice some Republicans to vote for it. Almost all the midterm GOP candidates who bought into the whole Big Lie about stolen elections lost, showing that when candidates get too extreme on voting and elections conspiracy theories, the public rejects them. Democracy itself was a lot bigger deal to the voters than anyone (except perhaps Joe Biden) predicted. Passing the Voting Rights Act would allow moderate Republicans to show that not only did they reject all the Big Lie nonsense but that they were actually working to strengthen voting rights instead of denying voting rights to as many (Democratic) voters as they can. It's a longshot, sure, but it'd certainly be worth a try -- and, at the very least, it would put Republicans on the record once again as voting against securing voting rights for all Americans.

Other people have more suggestions for what could be accomplished in the lame-duck session, but there's not going to be a whole lot of time. If the Republicans don't go along with raising (or abolishing) the debt ceiling, it is going to have to be passed as a budget reconciliation bill (which will only need 51 votes) -- which is going to consume a lot of Senate time. So after Congress all goes home to eat some turkey with their families, they're really going to have to hit the ground running when they return to Washington afterwards. There's a lot to get done and very little time in which to do it.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


22 Comments on “Hoping This Duck Won't Turn Into A Turkey”

  1. [1] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Good ideas, all!

    Except I’d bet money that our fucking DINOs Sinema and Manchin aren’t remotely interested in either the Electoral Act nor the VRA. That’s OK, it just means that we have to watch the GQP House implode under the weight of it’s crazies over the next two years, watch Trump trash the Repug’s chances and then run as an independent and it will be clear that Repugs cannot govern and that Facism ain’t so appealing, either.

  2. [2] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows the Democrats are about to get Uber Nuclear Biblically shellacked..:D


    Would you happen to have at least one other pair of brain cells to choose from? The pair you picked (assuming you had a choice) didn’t do so hot this election.

    In other words is two brain cells your FLOOR or your CEILING?

  3. [3] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Oh for heavens sakes. I just hope it doesn't turn into turducken

  4. [4] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Now I lay me down to sleep
    And dream that Donnie starts to tweet.
    For if he does, by ‘24…
    The House majority flies out the door!

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    Hoping This Duck Won't Turn Into A Turkey

    Speaking of turkeys.. :D

    This is playing with fire, because if the United States did default on its debt even for a short period it could throw the entire globe's financial stability into crisis. But McCarthy and his MAGA members simply do not care.

    Just as Democrats don't care when they have control and they want THEIR agenda items to pass..

    The point???


  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:


    Putin will extract what he can from the newly unified West and thence stand down. It's not 2014 anymore and nowadays ivading Ukraine has too little upside versus too much downside.

    What was that you were saying about "brain cells", MC?? :D


  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:


    Police Officer Jordan Jackson
    Bellevue Police Department, Washington
    End of Watch: Monday, November 21, 2022

    And remind the few...
    When ill of us they speak..
    That we are all that stands between..
    The monsters and the weak...

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:
  9. [9] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    You’ll notice (or not, if your two brain cells are otherwise occupied :D) that YOU brought up the subject of two brain cells, not I.

    Which REFLECTS facts IN EVIDENCE, to wit: Boring and repetitive (a souped up Don Harris and equally useless,) unable to defend the GQP — whataboutism is conceding the point, duh and many of your assertions (e.g. Biden’s Supreme nomination was racist(!) and hating Cheetogod is hating America*)

    My Ukraine prediction was based on my pre-war assessment of the pros and cons of actually invading and that’s how I called it. Why should I feel bad about being smarter than your hero/Trump’s handler Putin? I am 100% Ukrainian-American — my family tree goes back to Ellis Island, full stop) and I’ve followed the situation all my life. I know my DNA is fighting and dying over there and the only consolation to all of this is that Europe will LIVE and Putin/Trump’s handler will NOT.

    *Seig Heil! Jetzt geh schnell zur Hölle, die Faschisten!

  10. [10] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Way to employ ALL of your available brain power on this one!

  11. [11] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Speaking of Ukraine, I never got a response back from you, Elizabeth Miller, so have you gotten over your Rooskie Propaganda it’s the West’s fault silliness?

    And may I also assume that I don’t need to sketch out what a Ukrainian victory scenario will look like?

  12. [12] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Yeah, I think after you get booted out of Weigantia, when you set up a new account to get back here in place of #Michale you should go with #TwoBrainCells. Truth in advertising.

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    You’ll notice (or not, if your two brain cells are otherwise occupied :D) that YOU brought up the subject of two brain cells, not I.

    And YOU brought up the subject of horrendously WRONG predictions..

    So what's yer point??

    At least *MY* wrong prediction didn't result in tens of thousands of dead...

    I'm just sayin'.. :^/

    Yeah, I think after you get booted out of Weigantia,


    And that is the ONLY way you will EVER win a debate against me, son... :D

    I mean, CW has given you all sorts of advantages, basically tied both hands behind my back and Misery-hammered a foot..

    And yet you STILL lose!!! :D

    How funny is that, eh?? :D


  14. [14] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    How am I doing, Kick?

    Hosanna, Oh Queen of Snark! Hosanna in the Highest!

    I can never exceed (or even hope to approach) Your evisceration abilities, but I am starting to warm to the idea of #TwoBrainCells sticking around here. Because even this Loud and Proud Libtard occasionally feels the urge to club a defenseless baby seal.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Jeezus, MC...

    Do you check with Kick before you take a pee?? :eyeroll:



  16. [16] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Will Donnie run back to Twitter since it will all but put the last nail in Truth's coffin if he does?

    Trump's name is tied to Truth social, his brand... is he going to make it a failure like everything else he's ever put his name behind?

    The irony alone is worth his staying at Truth! Of course it will be like when he addressed the United Nations... he doesn't get why people are all laughing at him.

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, I guess we're back to mocking names for people, eh??

    'S ok.. I kinda missed Dementia Senile Biden.. :D


  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:


    Deputy Sheriff Christopher Taylor
    Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, Florida
    End of Watch: Tuesday, November 22, 2022

    And remind the few...
    When ill of us they speak..
    That we are all that stands between..
    The monsters and the weak...

  19. [19] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:



    Naw, thanks for your concern but I pee quite well ALL BY MYSELF! I am not a Facist like you…which means I make ALL KINDS of decisions without needing a Cheetogod to tell me what to do — Sieg Heil!

    Thing of it is, Kick OWNS your ass. Kick is simply INSPIRATIONAL to me because she’s so much better at OWNING YOUR ASS than I.

    So before you bail out of here — once the GQP House shitshow starts I want to learn from the Queen of Snark.

    Hosanna! Hosanna you in the Highest, oh Queen of Owning #TwoBrainCells! Hosanna!

  20. [20] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    I’m quite pleased that non-Facists retained the Senate so we can get some Judges approved. IWhile I wished that the House also stayed in Democratic hands there is a silver lining:

    Let’s see how Trumpanzie Repugs “govern.” And please please please let Donnie tweet, I BEG you my old College Roomie, Elon!

  21. [21] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Guaranteed Democratic Trifecta come ‘24!

  22. [22] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Go, Trump go!

    Go, Trump go!

    Go, Trump go!

    Go, Trump go!

    Haha ;D

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