Sen. Russ Feingold became Tuesday the first Democrat to denounce the lame-duck session, saying such work periods “are sometimes used to consider extremely controversial policies.”
“By allowing votes just after an election but before the newly elected Congress takes office, lame-duck sessions provide an opportunity to override the public’s will as expressed at the ballot box,” said the Wisconsin lawmaker, who is up for re-election this year.
“Rather than schedule a lame-duck session this year, Congress should complete its work before the upcoming elections,” he said in a statement.
Feingold, who has occasionally been a thorn in his party’s side, made noise on Monday by demanding the House take up legislation he sponsored abolishing automatic pay raises for Members of Congress. The Senate passed the measure last year, but House Democrats have failed to act and rebuffed Feingold’s most recent request.
The Senate is scheduled to convene for a lame-duck session on Nov. 15, two weeks after Election Day, with more work in store the week of Nov. 29 following a brief Thanksgiving recess. During the November stretch, Members might consider spending measures, a continuing resolution or omnibus appropriations bill, a conference report to the defense authorization and even energy legislation.
Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office declined to comment on Feingold’s opposition to the lame duck, while a GOP aide said the announcement “seems more like the desperate move of an endangered politician than a genuine effort.”
The House voted 256-163 Tuesday to dismiss a privileged resolution that would have banned a lame-duck session later this year.