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Simpson, Minnick split on barring a lame duck session in Congress

Simpson, Minnick split on barring a lame duck session in Congress

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
August 17, 2010
Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
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August 17, 2010

Republican Mike Simpson and Democrat Walt Minnick crossed party lines in a vote backed by Republicans that would’ve thwarted efforts for Congress to come back for a lame duck session after the Nov. 2 election.  However, their votes don’t fully reflect their views on a lame duck session.

Simpson was the only Republican to vote against a procedural vote that ended the chances of a resolution preventing a lame duck session, except if there is a national emergency.  The plan from Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, was rejected by all but six Democrats, including Minnick.

The Democratic-controlled Congress could meet after the Nov. 2 election, allowing members who lost elections to help pass laws.  Price’s resolution quoted newspaper articles saying Democrats could pass legislation dealing with cap-and-trade, not renewing tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush, or other pieces of legislation.

“Delaying controversial, unpopular votes until after the election gives false impressions to voters and deliberately hides the true intentions of the majority,” the resolution said.

Simpson said he voted to stop the resolution for procedural reasons, not political beliefs.  "I fully support efforts to avoid the passage of large, controversial bills during a lame duck session and will do everything in my power to work with my Republican colleagues to block any such bills from moving forward," Simpson said in a prepared statement. "I voted against the appeal of the ruling of the Chair not because I disagree with blocking a lame duck session, but because as a former Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives I knew the Chair's ruling was correct from a procedural standpoint and felt obligated to acknowledge that with my vote.”

Minnick’s procedural vote also differs from his position on a lame duck session.  “Walt’s general rule of thumb is that the House and the Congress should have more open debate,” said Minnick’s campaign director, John Foster.  He said Minnick would decide after the House’s September session whether a lame duck session after Nov. 2 is necessary.

“We need to see what business is available to be done after the election and then make that decision,” Foster said.  “He’ll make that call then.”

Price’s resolution also includes some attacks on Democrats in charge in Washington, D.C.  It calls the current Congress the biggest spenders in U.S. history and says leaders are mortgaging the country’s future.  It also alleges that Democrats have broken their promises to pass a budget, and govern more openly than Republicans, who held control of the House from 1994 to 2006.

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