Congress to Reconvene Nov. 15 for Lame Duck Session

According to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), the U.S. House of Representatives will reconvene for a post-election “lame duck” session of Congress. What will be on the agenda? Probably not much, as Republicans will attempt to block any major Democrat legislation.

Some compromise will likely result as some bills demand immediate action. These include: a new continuing resolution to keep the government open past December 3; an extension of ’01 and ’03 tax cuts set to expire at year’s end without affirmative action by Congress, resulting in increases in marginal income tax rates; and yet another short-term fix for the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which will otherwise affect millions of middle-class taxpayers this year. Expect an extension of a year or two on the AMT while Congress awaits the report of President Obama’s debt and deficit commission on December 1 and then a decision on how to treat upper income-earners and small business pass-through entities.

In the Senate, there is talk of bringing the new START Treaty with Russia to the floor, but opposition by some GOP conservatives to the nuclear forces treaty and a recent glitch with our command-and-control systems at a Wyoming air base (50 nuclear-armed ICBMs went “offline” for a period of time – yikes!) may derail this effort.

It remains to be seen how Democrats will react to the election results and how motivated they will be to either pass legislation or punt issues. Stay tuned…