November 2004

Lame-duck congressional session | Capitol Hill

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Lame-duck congressional session

by Craig S. Brightup
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As of press time, results of the presidential election are unknown. But what is known is that the 108th Congress did not finish important legislation before adjourning and will reconvene in what is known as a lame-duck session. Senate and House Republican leadership plan to call lawmakers to Washington, D.C., the week of Nov. 15 to organize for the 109th Congress, making that the most likely time for a lame-duck session to begin.

According to Roll Call magazine, the phrase "lame duck" is from the early days of London's stock market, Exchange Alley, and was used to describe bankrupt brokers who "waddle out of the alley." A 1910 edition of The Nation magazine in the United States described defeated officeholders as "lame ducks."

This year's lame-duck session will focus on a fiscal 2005 federal spending package. It also could take up bills involving such issues as intelligence agency reorganization and terrorism insurance.

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