The Corner

Price: The Lame-Duck Threat

Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.), the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, tells National Review Online that he wants to prevent the House from having a lame-duck session in order to stop Democrats from passing “crazy legislation.”

Price tells us that his privileged resolution to prohibit the House from “assembling during the two-month period following the November elections” will be considered for a vote on Tuesday, during an unusual, one-day August work session.

Price’s reasoning is simple: House Democrats, he predicts, “won’t be honest with the American people,” and may attempt to “shove through” a “national-energy tax,” an “amnesty bill,” and card-check for labor unions — even if they lose their majority in November. Democratic leaders, like Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.), say Price’s worries are “nonsense” and call his resolution a “scare tactic.”

Still, Price says recent comments by Democratic leaders were enough to make him push for a floor vote. For example, on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Carol Browner, President Obama’s energy adviser, said that Democrats could potentially revive their energy bill during the lame-duck session. While Price commends Browner “for her candor,” he warns that her comments are an example of Democrats “pushing issues the American people don’t want.”

Lame-duck sessions are also known as time for lawmakers, in both parties and in both chambers, to feast on federal pork. Would Price like to see Republicans lay off lame-duck spending as well? “That’s important not just in a lame-duck session, that’s important all the time,” he says. “The spending that has gone on under Speaker Pelosi and Harry Reid and the president has been astounding, really phenomenally reckless.”

“What the American people want is both the House and the Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, to stand up and say, ‘Look, stop this madness, we ought not to have a lame-duck session where things of huge consequence to the American people are potentially passed,’” Price says.

Though Price’s resolution will be considered — and most likely immediately tabled by Democrats — the Georgia congressman is not pressuring GOP senators to support his campaign against the lame-duck session. “The rules of the Senate are a whole lot different than in the House,” he says. “I would not presume to tell the GOP senators what to do. They have a lot more latitude in what they’re able to do in keeping legislation from coming to the floor.”

Can Price’s efforts help to motivate the GOP base much like town-hall meetings over health care did last summer? On this point, Price is optimistic. “Folks are as mad as they can be,” he says. “They are going to provide the energy and enthusiasm to take us into the fall.” The House GOP leadership team, he adds, is doing enough to promote a conservative agenda to its slate of candidates. “It all plays into a single message,” he says, that a “runaway, leftist government” is running amok.

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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