Over the next few weeks, Congress has the opportunity to vote on a number of key legislative initiatives. What follows is my brief take on what will and will not happen.
Extension of “Bush Tax Cuts”: This one will be a compromise solution. The rich will get an extension of their tax rate for two or more years. The Democrats will not agree to make it permanent but they will cave on the $250,000 limit temporarily. Some folks say the findings of the Deficit Commission, due out in the next week or so will have some bearing but I think ideological compromise will win the day.
Extension of Unemployment Benefits: This one will likely go hand in hand with the Bush tax cuts. The Democrats will save face on the tax compromise by forcing the GOP’s hand on this extension.
Ratification of the START Treaty: This one will not fly in the lame duck session. Despite liberal claims of urgency, the GOP led by Senator Jon Kyl will drag on this one. Kyl has already gone on record saying that there is too much on the plate to give this treaty the attention it deserves. First, he cites the length of the document (the prior START treaty was supposedly only three pages long) and there is grumbling about insufficient discussion of missile defense systems. We won’t see action on this until next year. How this will make us look on the international stage is anybody’s guess. I suspect it can’t be good. Then again, after the latest “Wiki-leaks”, should we really continue to worry about our reputation?
The Immigration Dream Act: This will not see the light of day this December. Despite the fact that the legislation is focused on giving young illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, I believe the anti-immigrant fervor is so strong right now that the act will garner insufficient support in Congress.
Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: The results of a feasibility study will be published this week. We will see the GOP move the goal posts following the lead of John McCain, who has already stated this study does not satisfy the questions he has about repealing DADT. Since Obama’s track record on gay advocacy has been abysmal, expect no movement on this in the next few weeks.
That’s my quick take. What’s your opinion?