Lame Duck Congresses: Venezuela v. U.S.

William A. Jacobson
Legal Insurrection

Imagine a place where legislators who had been thrown out of office hurried to pass legislation they knew would not pass once the new Congress was seated in order to defeat the will of the people as expressed in recent congressional elections.

Such a thing could not happen here, because our lame duck representatives understand that to enact sweeping changes meant to bind an incoming Congress would lack political legitimacy and be subject to international ridicule:

The current congress, with an overwhelming majority of pro-Chavez members, voted Tuesday to grant him special powers to enact laws by decree for the next year. The National Assembly is expected to give final approval to the measure by the end of the week.

Chavez critics say the action, which would be the fourth time in 12 years the populist president has been given temporary decree powers, is a clear effort to sideline the next congress, which will have enough opposition members to block such action.

Thank goodness we are not Venezuela.

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