Sunday, November 14, 2010

Opinion: What should the focus of the upcoming lame duck session of congress be? Why?

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/11/obama-passing-start-a-priority-for-lame-duck-session.html

http://www.npr.org/2010/11/11/131252273/congress-braces-for-hectic-lame-duck-session


Congress Braces For Hectic Lame Duck Session
by Liz Halloran

Congress returns Monday for a lame duck session that will provide Democrats their final taste of Capitol Hill dominance before Republicans take over the House and expand their Senate minority caucus in January.

But with the controlling party limping back after an Election Day thrashing, it remains unclear whether Democrats will decide to close out the final four weeks or so of the 111th Congress with a bang or a whimper.

"There is so much uncertainty going on," says Sam Rosen-Amy of the nonprofit OMB Watch, which tracks federal budget policy and spending. "I have no idea what might happen."

The uncertainty is especially strong with Republicans suggesting they'll block any measure lacking a strong consensus and Democrats in a quandary over their leadership and tone going forward.

The Fate Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
What is guaranteed: Congress will have to quickly decide what to do about Bush-era tax cuts scheduled to expire at the end of the year. Members must also deal with a dozen current-year spending bills that they have yet to pass more than a month into the 2011 fiscal year.

What is far less clear is whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, other Senate Democrats and the White House will go to the mat on issues that include a high-profile measure that would end the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on openly gay Americans serving in the military.

"Clearly the president and his staff realize that if we don't get don't ask, don't tell repealed now, it will be a very long time before we have the opportunity again," says Aubrey Sarvis, an Army veteran and head of the pro-repeal Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

The issue took on new relevancy this week when a leaked Pentagon study due to President Obama on Dec. 1 suggested that there would be little risk in repealing the measure, which Congress passed in 1993. The Supreme Court on Friday declined a Republican gay rights group's request to stop enforcement of the ban while a lower court reviews its constitutionality.

Latino activists are also watching to see whether the freshly re-elected Reid will make good on his win-or-lose campaign promise to pursue a measure that gives children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship through education and military service.

And other pending measures also hang, but barely, in the lame duck balance — including one that would set renewable electricity standards and another that would provide new bargaining rights to police and firefighters.

All hinge on the question of whether Democrats return to Capitol Hill on Monday defeated or defiant.

The Bush-Era Tax Cuts
The brief session is expected to be dominated by debate over the fate of the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, which disproportionately benefited higher income taxpayers.

Democrats have argued that the cuts, which expire at the end of the year, should be extended only to families earning less than $250,000. Resurgent Republicans, who will take over the House under presumptive Speaker John Boehner, want all the cuts made permanent — at a cost that OMB Watch has estimated at more than $5 trillion, including debt serving and related costs, over the next decade.

Republicans have yet to put forth a plan to pay for the high-income tax cut extension.

The tax-cut prospects became increasingly muddied in recent days by competing accounts of where Obama stands on the issue. The White House, which has opposed extending the cuts to people who earn more than $250,000, has attempted to beat back a report in the Huffington Post that quoted top Obama adviser David Axelrod as suggesting that the president had stepped back from that position.

"We're willing to discuss how we move forward," Axelrod later said in an e-mail to the National Journal, "but we believe that it's imperative to extend the tax cuts for the middle class, and don't believe we can afford a permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthy."

The coming debate has also been complicated in recent days by deep cuts proposed by the heads of Obama's bipartisan deficit commission.

"The new report," says Rosen-Amy, the OMBWatch federal fiscal policy analyst, "is going to retrench partisans on both sides."

Control Of Spending
The nation's fiscal year began in October, but the government is currently operating under a congressional resolution that continues funding of the past year while a dozen spending bills have yet to be passed.

That resolution that essentially keeps government open expires Dec. 3, leaving Congress with a choice: either approve the 12 spending bills in one big package, or pass another resolution that allows the government to continue operating under 2010 budget levels until sometime after the new Congress convenes.

The latter would give Republicans, who take over the House in January, more control over the spending for the remainder of the fiscal year — a scenario many conservatives prefer.

Path To Citizenship Just A 'DREAM'?
In his tough re-election campaign in Nevada, Reid relied on Latino voters for his edge over Republican Sharron Angle, a Tea Party favorite. One of his promises was to raise the so-called "DREAM Act" legislation during the lame duck session.

The bipartisan measure makes children of illegal immigrants eligible for a six-year path to citizenship that hinges on the completion of a college degree or two years of military service.
Democrats had tried to attach it to the Defense Department spending bill earlier this year.

"Here's what we know: Reid promised in a very clear way that he would bring this up, win or lose," says Angela Kelley, vice president for immigration policy and advocacy at the liberal Center for American Progress.

"Reid still has a job as Senate majority leader in no small part because of the high, high turnout of Latino voters in Nevada," she says.

If the measure doesn't make it into the defense bill — GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona and others oppose its inclusion — and Reid fails to raise it on the Senate floor, Kelley says, "it will not go unnoticed by the Latino community."

Race To The Finish
Whatever the agenda, it will be a race to the finish with enormous economic stakes.
Or, as Rosen-Amy puts it: "The result could be a hectic lame duck session with trillions of dollars in spending on the table."

And that has the potential to produce, he says, "legislation motivated by political expediency rather than sound fiscal policy."

44 comments:

Blake Kraussel hr. 2 said...

Before the Congress returns to the prominent hands of the Republican party, I think it is clear that the Democrats in congrss should do something. One thing that I think should be brought up in front of congress is the banning of the "Don't ask don't tell" policy. The reason that I believe this is that with a soon to be Republican House of Representatives it will be extremely hard to pass this very liberal change in policy. In my opinion the chance they abolish it with a Republican dominated House is slim to none. Therfore for good reason it is inevitable that this policy needs to be abolished, and the best time is now. If congress chooses not to deal with this policy now, they should seek to change othere social policies they have a problem with such as abortion. In conclusion with a swing of power going to the right, no one knows just how long the Republicans will have their hands on social policies. Democrats must take advantage now, in this lame duck session.

RPawlow said...

The ongoing debate on the Army's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy should be the main focus during the lame duck session of Congress. There is a very good chance that if the Democrat majority does not repeal the policy, it could potentially take years for any social progress in terms of gay's rights.
As for the START treaty, the effort towards international warhead reduction is not enough. On paper, a 30% reduction between the United States and Russia seems promising. After terms were met, both countries were to reduce their stock to 1,550. One question: Why 1,550? The article also brought up how the armory of "long-range missiles and launchers" was lowered to a meager 700. Oh, joy! Our stockpile of weapons can still obliterate the planet, but now we get to spend less ammunition. Well, I guess in this rough economy, reducing the cost of Armageddon should be top priority.

nwalters said...

The primary focus of the upcoming lame duck session of Congress should be the Dream Act. If the Democrats want a bill that would start to give illegal immigrants kids a chance to become citizens of the United States. The bill would be great, it would help the government to be able to tax the now illegal immigrants and would then force business's to start paying them actual wages. The bill even now has a slim chance to be passed in my opinion but in January the chances are reduced to zero. This is a very liberal bill that even a lot of liberals might not go for. But the bill would give the government a better hold on the number of illegal immigrants. In my opinon I do not see it being passed in the next few months. This kind of bill needs more debate and a more detailed outline of how the illegal immigrants are to gain their citizenship.

KMatusinec said...

Congress should focus on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy during the upcoming lame duck session. The legislature required to repeal this act has already been passed by the House. It will become significantly more difficult to pass any left-leaning policies in the new congressional session, so the Democrats should take advantage of this issue because it is one that has a chance of passing before the new majority takes over.

Htroeger said...

The focus of the up coming lame duck session should be extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone. Higher taxes on the wealthy are extremely hurtful to our economy because many wealthy people are small business owners and higher taxes negatively affect their ability to expand and hire more employees. Higher taxes take spending money away from everyone and spending is what helps the economy. Extending the tax cuts for all classes would be beneficial for everyone. Congress should also consider making these tax cuts permanent so that consumers and businesses can make future plans without worrying about higher taxes.

JBerlyn said...

The lame duck session of
congress should focus on two things. First they should attempt to repeal "Don't ask, Don't tell." This may be one of the few opportunities democrats get for a while to end the republican agenda of keeping gays in the closet. The second thing congress should work on is extending the expiring tax cuts for the middle and lower classes while not allowing the tax cuts on the wealthy to get extended. If the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy are extended, the government would lose out on 65 billion dollars which would be used as alternative tax breaks to small business. If these tax breaks were to exist, small business would be stimulated, creating more jobs and helping the economy. The disparity between the rich and poor in not acceptable anymore, Bush's tax cuts to the wealthy need to be ended.

MKonicke said...

Congress should focus on taking care of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. They should do this because if the Republicans gain any more control in the Senate, then it will be too difficult for them to deal with that policy.

DWayer said...

I think the main focus of the future lame duck session will be on both the "Don’t ask, don’t tell" ban and the potential extension of the Bush-Era tax cuts. Right now, the Democrats are in prime position to repeal the 'don’t ask, don’t tell" ban before the next session comes into effect and may not have another until the next election. If nothing is done about this now, starting in the next session there will be plenty of arguing and nothing getting done amongst the parties. The other focus for this upcoming session is the Bush-Era tax cuts. It appears that there will have to be a compromise between the two major parties for this extension of tax-cuts because the Republicans do not have an idea to make up the increased deficit that comes along with their permanent tax cuts also applying to those making over $250,000 a year. Until the Republicans come up with this plan, the Democrats' continuance of the current tax cuts looks like a more favorable choice for the moderates to choose.

emilyw said...

I belive that since the congress is turning over to the hands of the republicans that the democratic lame duck section should be used to talk about what has been done over the years and not do anything else. It is now the republicans turn in the congress and the democtrat should not try and shove a bunch of stuff through just to spite them.

cziolkowski said...

The democrates what will be leaving office in January should definetly try to do something in the upcomming month. I believe that they should do this because they are leaving soon and citizens cannot do anything about this. This is happening because the Democrates are voted out and what they do now is for themselves. Overall I think that congress should focus on the Bush Tax cut laws that will not be in effect in 2011. They should try to renew these laws because many of the families making over $250,000 per year own small businesses and those businesses employ other people in the erea.

Rjohnson-evers said...

During the lame duck session of Congress, I think that the main focus of Congress should be to pass legislature that creates jobs or helps business owners employ new people. There are many other important issues that should be addressed, but I think that reducing unemployment and employing citizens should be a priority. The Democrats have held control of Congress for a while, but they didn't pass controversial bills on "Don't ask, don't tell," and the tax cuts. Since Republicans are about to take control of the House and gain ground in the Senate, I doubt that they will be very eager to negotiate or compromise and pass anything that the Dems want passed. This is why I think Congress should try and work together and pass a bill that will stimulate the economy. The problem will be getting both sides to agree on the process. I think this is the most plausible and important issue at the moment, since everyone can agree that creating jobs is a good thing.

jwaltz said...

The focus of the upcoming lame duck session should be the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. With the required legislature already passed by the House, Democrats must focus on this issue getting passed while they still can. Since there is a majority of Republicans coming into office, any policies that are more towards the left side should be taken advantage of.

KSASS said...

First off, the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy should not be touched. A scrambled decision to either repeal it or replace it would not be the right answer. This policy is not a problem. The policy does not restrict people from their rights or liberties; it only protects an orderly, disciplined military system. Why should Congress change the policy only because factions are against it? This policy is not what is majorly important. What should be looked at is the future, or death of, the Bush tax cuts and other currency-related bills. The Democrats have a great chance to enact a policy according to their ideology before the Republicans take over. This nation's spending and debt make up the core of the issues that the people want to see acted upon, not a policy that has been in effect for years that does not affect the majority of the citizens.

Nklinka said...

The lame duck session should be focused on continuing principles that the democrats hope to use in the future. If it is a main area of concern, such as fairness for all, it would be good for the democrats to support that view point. That is why the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy" would be beneficial to adjust because it would help advance the ideals of the democrats, that all people deserve a fair opportunities. They should not repeal "No Child Left Behind" because it is something that goes with democratic concepts, that all people should have equal chances with an education.

moconnor said...

I think that the focus for Congress during the upcoming lame duck session should be the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. I think this because this is the last chance for the Democrates to get something done before the Republicans take over the House of Representatives and slash the huge majority the Democrates use to have in the Senate to next to none. The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a perfect policy for the Democratic Congress to bring up in the next four weeks because I believe banning this policy would be the easiest objective for the Democrates to accomplish. According to CBS News, about 57% of Americans want the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy to be repealed. Although this statistic alone can't ban the policy, it is a good reason for the Democrates of Congress to repeale the policy because they know that America is on their side with this issue. In conclusion, I believe that if the Democrates want to accomplish something during this lame duck session, they should focus on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

rrantala said...

I believe that in the upcoming lame duck session, Congress should focus on one thing, the spending bills that are due in three weeks(at the end of the fiscal year), instead of trying to pass a large number of agenda items. They have already elected to put off many of the bills and policies until after the November election. By focusing only on the spending bills, it will allow the new House and Senate to deal with the things that the current Congress didn't get to. These decisions then will be better thought out instead of trying to rush everything before January as the present Democratic led Congress is attempting to do.

bradysims said...

The focus for this upcoming lame duck session of congress should definitely be the "Don't ask don't tell" policy. The "Don't ask don't tell" policy is a extremely liberal idea. Now that congress is shifting over to a republican dominance from this past mid-term election, the democrats need to get rid of this policy now. Republicans will vote it out anyways due to obviousness liberal background this policy has. There could be more important focuses in this upcoming lame duck session such as tax cuts and spending, but congress should get rid of the "Don't as don't tell" policy first on their list in the lame duck session of 2010.

eboecker said...

The main focus of the upcoming lame duck session should be adjusting the Bush tax cuts that were set in 2001 and 2003. This is the last chance for a liberal Congress to decide how much people are taxed based on income. For example, they may want the tax cuts to expire for individuals with an annual income greater than $250,000. Otherwise, it is likely that the incoming Republicans will extend the tax cuts to the majority of Americans, which most liberals do not want.

DannyF said...

As the Republicans will be taking majority of the House in the upcoming year, I believe that Democrats should focus on the "Don't ask don't tell" policy. Views of Congress will soon be very conservative, so it will therefore be very tough to pass this change in policy with the new Congressional representatives. Since the democrat majority will be gone, they should try to pass a bill that is farther left, that may be very doubtful of passing in the future. Of all the policies or bills that this lame duck session could try to pass, I believe this is the easiest one that they could make changes to.

SMiller said...

If the Democrats are to accomplish anything during the lame duck session of congress, I feel they should focus upon the START treaty and the Bush Administration tax cuts.

Obama describes the START treaty as "a top priority," and I feel he has a much better chance of getting it passed in the Senate while he still holds a favorable majority. Although some GOP votes may still be needed to pass the treaty, it should be far easier to move it through Congress before the Republicans take back many more seats in January.

Democrats and Republicans hold vastly differing opinions in regard to the Bush tax cuts. Because of this, it is vital for Obama's administration to get the majority of them repealed before the GOP majority takes over and gains back much control over such legislation. Without a sizeable majority in the House in the next two years, it will be highly difficult for Democrats to reach a favorable outcome in regard to the tax cuts. Thus, they are the steak on Obama's platter for the final few months of the current Congress.

KRodenbeck said...

The focus of congress should be the expiring tax cuts. With our nation's economy in its current state, many American families are struggling to get by. Without addressing this issue will increase the burden on these American families. However, since this issue is a lot more bipartisan than many others, the lame duck session will probably be used to remove the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. This issue is far more partisan and will be addressed because the Democrats will be unable to touch it after the House switches over to the Republicans in January.

Ryan Sweeney said...

"Don't ask, don't tell" should be the primary focus during the lame duck session of congress. The democrats do not have much time to work on fixing social issues and this is one that should be addressed...abolished immediately. Everyone should be allowed an equal chance to participate in the military if they want to. It should not be up to the national government to decide individual freedoms. There isn't a whole lot of time to get rid of "Don't ask don't tell" so I'm assuming (and hoping) that it will be a top priority.

ACzajkowski said...

As previously mentioned, the primary focus should be the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. This could be the last "significant" feat made by the Democratic party before Republicans take over. Then to be concise, once the GOP is in control, they should cut taxes and cut government.

GLeGros said...

The upcoming lame duck session will give the 111th congress a final meeting before the 112th begins their term. In this meeting they will cover various issues.

The most popular topic that many believe should be discussed would be the army's current policy of "Don't ask, Don't tell", and rightfully so. Once the republicans take over the house, it will be much more difficult for congress to repeal this policy. Aside from "Don't ask, Don't tell", I believe that another major topic that should be looked over would be the Bush Tax Cuts that set to expire in 2010. Many believe that it is in the best interest to extend most, or even all of them.

Overall, I believe that despite what the 111th congress decides to focus their attention on, it will be interesting to see the final words of the democrats are before the republicans take over the house.

Ecotton said...

If the democrats want to push something purely just for their party, something that they could only do with majority they would need to do it now. The issue they should focus on if that is the case should be don't ask don't tell, because with out a majority in the house the law will never be repealed.

If the congress wants to pass something bipartisan it should focus on the tax cuts, because if I am not mistaken the cuts end after this congressional session, basically. The second thing that should be considered is the START treaty with Russia because cooperation with Russia will strengthen relations between our two countries and relive tension.

PAnderson said...

In these final days before the Republicans take the majority in the House of Representatives, Democrats should focus on repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. If liberals don't acheive this now, they will not be able to for the next two years or how ever many more years it takes for another Democratic majortiy in the House. This is the Democrats' last chance to pass liberal legislation before a crucial two year time period in which our nation will feel the effects of a conservative Congress.

Ahackney said...

Hour 2.

I believe that before the 112th congress comes into office the 111th has better get their act together. The 2010 midterms showed a pretty clear idea of what the American people wanted. The American people were fed up in some regards and a lot of changes were. Now if President Obama can "rally the troops" here and get some serious work done with his still majority democrat congress maybe he can make a quick turnaround. The tax cut bill has to get through in my mind, otherwise there will be a lot of unhappy people in the country. If that is passed I hope that the rest of the current issues can fall into place. Getting several of the issues at hand taken care of would show a lot to the American people during this lame duck session.

CAbbey said...

The focus of the congress should probably be the "don't ask don't tell policy". I am not a supporter of the don't ask don't tell, but I think that's the only thing the democratic congress has a shot at changing before the republicans begin making the right choices. I don't think they will be successful, but the congress right now probably doesn't have much else on the list of what they can do in the upcoming month and a half. Which is good, the fate of our government can finally turn around in the right direction.

dboyce said...

"Don't Ask Don't Tell" should probably be the democrat's main focus right now. For the democrats,they have to focus on this bill right now because the republicans will soon be taking control of the house. The Republicans will make it difficult for the democrats to abolish this policy and therefore, if you're a democrat, you will probably want to act now and do what you can to abolish the policy because it is only going to be harder for them in the future with a republican house and a split congress. This will probably be the focus of the lame duck session of congress.

ckruesel said...

I understand how Democrats want to pass bills or acts in the lame duck session while they still have the majority however I believe this will just create animosity between the Republicans and the Democrats. The Republicans seemed kind of bitter after the health care bill passed and if the Democrats pass anything hastily now while they still have the majority things may only get more bitter between the two groups. This may cause Republicans to pass controversial bills of their own and the power will once again shift back to the Democrats. I think that the Democrats and Republicans of the legislative branch really need to work together more instead of passing policy that appeal more to one party than the other.

DWayer said...

In contrast to what I think Congress should focus on for the Lame Duck Session, I think the DREAM act shouldn't be a primary goal to get passed. As it is, we already have a lot of illegal immigrants in the US, and promoting easier citizenship for children of those families encourages more illegal immigration. This act has too much opposition as it is and would be a waste of the Democrats limited time left.

caseymedved said...

I believe that congress must face the banning of the "Don't ask don't tell" policy. This policy is out dated and I believe will eventually be changed no matter what is focused on in Congress. But if not taken seriously now, it will take a much longer time to be excused. Though the tax cuts are a very important issue in our society, tax cuts would be quite easy to pass in the new, republican focused Congress, after this lame duck period. This outdated policy must be taken care of right away. No matter what someone wants to do on their free time, if they want to defend our nation, let them. If you don't want them to do the job they have chosen, you go out there and do it for them. We are one America, not a gay and straight America.

Casey Medved, Hr 2

EOetting hr.2 said...

During the lame duck session, I think Congress should focus on the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy. Like it has been said multiple times before, with Congress in the hands of Republicans, it will be difficult to pass liberal changes. If they choose to ignore “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” then they should focus on other social changes.

nspoerk said...

As the time of the Democrats' control in Congress dwindles, the next month's legislation may be some of the most important for the Democrats' image in American politics. Therefore, their focus for the lame duck session could play a pivotal role in whether or not they can regain seats in Congress in the next couple elections and if they can hold the presidency in 2012.

In order to do this, I think the Democrats should focus on socially progressive legislation like the "Don't ask, Don't tell." If a repeal of this policy were to pass, it would give the party something to point to in the next elections of 2012 as a success. It would increase Obama's voter base if he spearheads the legislation. However, his opponent will not be able to make a justifiable attack on the repeal without looking like a bigot. I would also say that the Dream act should be another focus. Between the two, the Democrats could gain significant backing from gays and Latinos in the next election.

From the right-side point of view, Republicans should hope that the Democrats push to end the tax cuts on the upper and middle class. They could pin the blame for increased taxes on the Democrats, while simultaneously using the increased revenue from taxes to lower the national debt, assuming they also reduce spending. This would make the Democrats, who are already being held by many as fiscally irresponsible, seem even more so. Conversely, I think they should do this so that the country can have a better chance at taking Obama out of office in 2012.

My proposed agenda based on Democrats' self interest:
1. Don't ask, Don't tell
2. Dream Act
Last. Letting tax cuts expire

-Nick Spoerk Hr. 2

cquartullo said...

In my opinion I this that in the next lame duck session the focus should be on the "Don't ask, Don't Tell" policy because the majority of the congress will be held by the Republicans therefore if the democrats are to do anything they are to focus on this policy.

Mwirch said...

I believe the focus of the lame duck session of congress will be the democrats attemting to repeal "Don't ask, don't tell." They need to take advantage of their numbers in congress before January comes.

AHanna said...

With the days of the 111th Congress being numbered, this lame duck session should focus on things that have a legitimacy for progress in the United States. The Democrats are being granted an opportunity to pass some legislature before Republicans make their way in when the 112th Congress begins. However, they need to work well with the current Republicans. If the session is incredibly liberal and one-sided, odds are that the 112th will need to fix up even more things that the 111th did (things like health care...).

That being said, something that is legitimate for progress and should be focused on is the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Congress can easily get this repeal passed, and there wouldn't be too much opposition from the American people about it. Other than that, nothing sweeping should be passed. Things like the Dream Act are too liberal - if you want citizenship, why not do it the legal way? Why should we be passing special legislative measures when there's nothing wrong with our current immigration policy? Come here legally or don't come at all.

And of course there's the economy. Again, nothing sweeping should be done. If the Democratic majorities in Congress now try to cram some legislature in there before they're ousted, it's probable that it won't be fiscally sound. The issue of the economy should wait for the 112th Congress to begin, when time and reason can be used to pass positive economic legislature.

Zyork said...

I think that the Democrats should focus on getting the Bush era tax-cuts repealed for the wealthy. If this lame-duck congress fails to do this, then the Republicans will make the tax-cuts for everyone. This will be a huge waste of money which is a bad move when the government is so far into debt.

JVarsos said...

There are quite a few things that congress could focus on during the lame duck session. Among these, "Don't Ask Don't Tell", Bush-era tax cuts, and Dream Act are the most prevalent. I think that the Democratic-controlled congress should utilize their time leftover before the major switch to Republicans to ban "Don't Ask Don't Tell." This is the farthest among the left-leaning policy and the most partisan, which makes it the highest priority. However, the Bush-Era tax cuts are also a priority because of the current state of the economy. If Congress focuses on Dream Act, it wouldn't be the worst decision, seeing that the huge amount of citizens added to America would bring in more tax revenue and help solve economic problems.

ANavarro said...

I believe the focus of the upcoming lame duck session of congress should be the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. While the control of the congress still lies in the hands of the democrats, the main priority for them should be to repeal the DADT policy. Bush era tax cuts and the Dream Act are important as well, however; It would prove to be more beneficial for the democrats to focus on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy during the upcoming lame duck session.

J.Sardina said...

I feel very strongly that the repeal of DADT should be the main focus of Congress. As the article stated, if a repeal does not occur now it will likely be a long time before it has a chance in the future. The last hope for this (in my opinion) necessary social change is in this lame duck session. The fillibuster on repealing DADT in September, as analyzed by many, was largely due to distractions by the mid-term elections. Now that things have cooled off, Congress has it's chance to make a change that will satisfy not just LGBT groups (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender), but the large percentage of Americans who find this legislation unjust. If you are reading this and feel as strongly about this issue as I do, you can join the Human Rights Campaign online! HRC is a civil rights organization that works to acheive equality among all. It's an easy way to get involved, and make a change! (And they send you a pretty cool bumper sticker...if you're into that.) When you click the link below, you will find a page that allows you to call our Senators at the Capitol Switchboard to tell them to repeal DADT at the upcoming lame duck session of Congress! DO IT! :)

http://www.hrc.org/

JScott said...

This is slightly off topic, but i feel that a repeal of the "don't ask dont tell" policy should have been made a very long time ago. i feel its basic human nature to want to exclude those that are different, or who the majority sees as "wrong", but in times of war is it really a justified act to reject someone who wants to fight for our country just based on the values of the present? Morals and values change over time and its not prudent to make a huge dission based only on the current values. History is not kind to such dissions or the people who make them. Furthermore, war is a very stressful time for soldiers, and if you add the stress of hiding your sexuallity from the very people who you created bonds with through war, you are much more likly (or i would assume so) to have a mental break down, or become unable to fight calmly in any way. There are the two sides of the agument that say either "homosexuals are wrong and i dont want them in my country's army" or "homosexuals are not wrong and they deserve all the same rights and privliges as all other humans in this country of ours", but i feel neither of these arguments should be used to make the final choice. they are both bad reasons to make this choice. 200 years from now a textbook may say "the DADT policy was repealed to satisfy angry gay-rights activists" or "The DADT policy was kept in place in order in make sure homosexuals did not take too big a part in our country's deffense system". instead the dission should be made from a logical and practical standpoint. One of the two main reasons are allowing gays to be openly gay, without and unfair treatment, would encourage more gays to join the army, which would increase the army's size. The other reason is the homosexual soldiers would work much more effectivly and be less likly to have any mental problems if the stress of hiding a preference was taken away. i believe allowing blacks into the union army during the Civil War is a similar situation to this. Would the union have won if they did not allow any blacks into the army like their current moral and values reflected they wanted to do? i dont know. that's dabatable.

KSASS said...

As I said before, Congress should focus on the economy and most prominently the fate of the Bush tax cuts. Although my wishes came true, Congress let the end of the unemployment benefits slip by without acting to change it or even renew the bill. Congress should start to pull their strings together rather than hold meetings fighting with Republicans behind closed doors. Something has to be passed or people who desperately need funding will be having a lot of trouble.

sscheidt said...

I also believe that, from the Democrats' point of view, the most productive focus during the lame duck session will be socially progressive legislation. Since it will become increasingly difficult to pass such legislation after this period of time, it will be beneficial for the current Congress to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. If the policy isn't repealed now, it will probably be quite a while before the issue is addressed again. Also, if Harry Reid wants to keep the approval of the Latin American community that helped to re-elect him, he will probably be focusing on passing the Dream Act that gives children of illegal of immigrants an opportunity to become American citizens through education or military service. Although I don't personally agree with the Dream Act, it will probably be important to the Democrats during the lame duck session because it is a highly liberal bill that won't really have much of a chance passing after January.