The lame-duck session offers Democrats a final shot at notching policy wins before Republicans take control of the House on January 3. Hats off to what the House and Senate are doing.
The clock is running out for Congress to fund the government and avoid a shutdown by Friday, December 16 at midnight.
One of the major needs is to pass a budget covering the next fiscal year, rather than just a continuing resolution. I think the Speakership is the opportunity to get both a more moderate Republican and the budget past. The way it would work is Nancy Pelosi would nominate a moderate Republican like John Kasich of Ohio or Paul Ryan (former Speaker), Liz Cheney, or Adam Kinzinger and trade Democratic votes for Pelosi’s nominee for the budget bill. The Speaker of the House does not need to be a member of Congress. I believe there are enough right-center Republicans who with the Democratic votes, could help make the next two years more livable.
I use the phrase “more livable” but that understates what I think the stakes are.
Our democratic form of government is in jeopardy. Research shows that when 25% of a population subscribes to an idea, there are enough people to change a course of action or a government. Approximately 23% of the population identifies with the insurgent movement, according to the University of Washington. We saw how close a fraction of the population came to overthrowing the government on January 6. We see how much devastation can be wrought by the attacks on power stations in North Carolina. Representative Marjorie Taylor Green said on December 12, “the January 6 Capitol attack would have been armed and successful if I had planned it.” After getting blowback, she said this was sarcasm. Hmmm.
Now is a window in time to seize the opportunities to save ourselves. A recent survey found that 36 percent of Americans have a positive view of businesses, down from 45 percent before the pandemic. That’s the lowest mark since the Great Recession in 2008. This anger can be channeled into the productive reform of our institutions.