The Threats of a Lame Duck Congress
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The lame-duck session begins today, with retiring and defeated Members of Congress coming back to Washington to make their last legislative decisions. Because of the lack of accountability to voters, the lame-duck period brings heightened scrutiny.
Congress has 16 working days scheduled between now and the end of the year, though it could add more. Here are some of the contentious issues likely to be debated—and perhaps even decided—during that time.
The “fiscal cliff.” Thanks to legislation previously put in place, a series of federal spending cuts and tax increases is scheduled to go into effect automatically at the beginning of the year. This is widely referred to as a “fiscal cliff”—and the economy is headed right off the cliff. The tax increases, which have been dubbed “Taxmageddon,” would hit middle-class families with an average tax hike of more than $4,100 in the year 2013 alone. It is the largest tax increase ever to hit America, at nearly $500 billion in one year. The effects would be devastating to the economy, as it would hit job-creating small businesses. With the economy in the state it has been, American businesses and individuals cannot stand a tax increase.