Lame Duck Congress Sprints to the Finish

There is little hope that the next Congress will get much done, thanks to the upcoming Republican control in the House, and a smaller Democratic majority in the Senate.  That logjam, admittedly, will be hard to break.  But that doesn't mean this Congress is slowing down.  It seems that there are more things to come in President Obama's already heavy list of legislative accomplishments.

The Senate passed a food safety bill yesterday, sending to the House for final approval.  The bill will modernize food safety standards and give the FDA broader authority to inspect food processing plants and to force makers to recall foods it deems are unsafe.

After months of shameful Republican filibuster of the 9/11 First Responders health care bill, Sen. Gillibrand has made tweaks designed to win more Republican support, and that bill might come to the floor of the Senate this week.

Democrats are looking upbeat on the prospect of the New START treaty, and the President is not giving up, despite the insane handwringing by McCain and Graham that they could not support the START treaty because - well because, pout, Democrats forced a vote on DADT repeal, and it passed.  Aww.  But Se. Schumer seems to be confident that at the end of the day, the votes are going to be there, even though it will mean "house to house combat."

The president is continuing to call senators as he presses for passage of the New START treaty before Congress adjourns, according to deputy press secretary Bill Burton.

The White House and Senate Democratic leaders expressed confidence they'll ultimately have enough votes for passage. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he would oppose the accord, complicating the prospects for Obama's top foreign policy priority.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats have now picked up the support of GOP Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, and said he thinks Democrats will get the two-thirds vote the Constitution requires for the Senate to ratify a treaty. He said Democrats will need nine or 10 Republican votes to prevail.

"It's going to be a real slog, house by house combat if you will," Schumer told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday. "But I think we'll be there."
If you have any time today - lunch break, or if you have a bluetooth on your way to or from work, or if you are home - please call your senators and urge them to vote for the START treaty.  It's immensely important in not just building a less dangerous world but in securing loose nukes and keeping them out of the hands of terrorists.  This should not be a partisan issue.

This, of course is after the passage of DADT repeal over the weekend, the tax and unemployment benefits agreement being signed into law, and an expansion of the school lunch program.  The lame duck Congress seems to be anything but lame, and it's working more than it's quacking.  Sure, this is making Republicans in Congress very mad that they have to actually work like most people instead of getting a big 2 week vacation for Christmas, but them's the chops.