Capitol Hill

A hamstrung Congress?

The 113th Congress is scheduled to reconvene soon after the Nov. 4 elections in a so-called "lame duck" session to wrap up unfinished business before the end of the year. How much may be accomplished is uncertain, but issues of importance to the roofing industry could be addressed.

What it means

Lame duck sessions occur when Congress meets between Election Day in November and the beginning of the newly elected Congress in January. Members of Congress who are retiring at the end of the year or who have been defeated in the election continue to cast votes on legislation or other matters brought before the House and Senate during a lame duck session.

Once relatively rare, lame duck sessions have become a regular occurrence during the past two decades. Between 1940 and 1992, there were only 10 lame duck sessions. But since 1994, there have been nine such sessions with another to follow this year. This primarily is the result of an increasingly polarized political environment that has made it more difficult to address problems and conduct the nation's business in a bipartisan manner.