What is lame duck Congress?

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Lame duck Congress refer to US Congressional sessions that are held after an election and before the new batch or newly-elected Congressmen will take office and hold their own sessions.  Lame duck sessions are held to basically address unfinished legislative concerns by the current members of the US Congress.  These sessions are held usually right after the mid-term elections around November and before the new set of Congressmen will take office by January of the next year.  In these Congressional sessions, some members may have already lost their re-election bids and may not be part of the US Congress by the next year. Those who lost are informally referred to as “lame ducks” because not much is expected of them in terms of their duties and responsibilities for the simple reason that they won’t be back by the start of the new Congress the following year.

As amended by the US Constitution, Congressional sessions are to start by January of the new year.  With elections held at the month of November, some pending Congressional concerns may need to be addressed after the election by current members or representatives.  These sessions will then be held prior to the start of the new Congress and the so-called lame ducks or those who lost in the recent election will still be part of it.  Members of the current Congress are not obliged to conduct lame duck sessions but may do so in order to address certain concerns including legislative issues needed to resolve emergency situations among many others.

Some political analysts and other people argue that lame duck sessions in the US Congress are not in any way desirable and may not at all be beneficial to the people. Some people believe that lawmakers who recently lost in the election may not have the right motivation and thinking to handle their jobs in terms of voting for or against a particular bill or law.  Some are believed to just go-through-the-motions while others are accused of hastily going through their legislative activities just to finish what they are supposed to do.  

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