The post-election Lame Duck legislative session has a long and frequently unremarkable history. The President and members of Congress are considered a “lame duck” when they have been defeated for re-election or elected for a final term (ineligible as a candidate for the next election) and meet in a post-election session.
On November 13, lawmakers returned to work after a six-week sojourn for election campaigning. After the Thanksgiving break, both the Senate and the House of Representatives will be in session until December 21.
[CLICK HERE to watch the replay of a Q&A with a Brookings Institution expert, “The Lame Duck Congress,” at Politico.com, November 14, 2012.] *
[CLICK HERE to watch live floor video of each of the legislative bodies (when in session) at Congress.gov, 2012.] *
The most likely issues to be tackled–if only to be legislatively kicked into first quarter of next year–are the sequestered spending cuts and an extension of all or part of the Bush tax cuts. Furthermore, without action from the Lame Duck Congress, estate, gift and generation skipping taxes will all revert to pre-2001 levels, with top rates of 55 percent and an exemption of just $1 million.
Other issues that could potentially be acted on include:
The Farm Bill
U.S. Postal Service budget deficit
Medicare payments to doctors
Alternative Minimum Tax patch
Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill
Whistleblower Enhanced Protection Act
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act
[CLICK HERE to read, “Charitable Tax Breaks Could Take Hit During Lame-Duck Session Of Congress,” at Huffington Post, November 14, 2012.] *
[CLICK HERE to read, “Can a Lame-Duck Congress Save the Day?“ at NPR.org, November 16, 2012.] *
According to a new, post-election survey by the AARP, the majority of Americans age 50 and older would prefer that the future of Medicare and Social Security not be part of a year-end deal. Interestingly, this viewpoint crosses all party lines: 71 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Independents would rather see a separate public debate about changes to these programs starting in 2013.
[CLICK HERE to read, “AARP Survey: Seven in Ten Older Americans Don‘t Want Changes to Social Security or Medicare during Lame Duck,“ at AARP.org, November 14, 2012.] *
There are several ways a Lame Duck Session can go. One thing that could happen is departing Congressional members drop the partisan stance and compromise in a parting effort to resolve issues and move this country forward. Or, both parties can resume their combatant positions of the last two years, dig their heels into the concrete and do no more than agree to postpone the nasty debate until they reconvene on January 3rd.
Rather than wait for Congress to work out its differences, why not schedule a year-end consultation to discuss your current financial situation? That way you can clarify your objectives and consider various options to pursue in the New Year as a way of controlling your own future. We‘re happy to help.
By contacting us, you may be offered insurance products for sale.
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