While Republicans are also confident cap and trade will not be passed in its full form, they do hope to win some smaller victories on energy issues. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), for instance, is expected to follow up on his promise to call for a suspension of EPA regulations on greenhouse gas producers — including coal — for two years to give energy industries time to perfect clean technologies.
Any chance of either Republican or Democratic success during the lame duck period, however, has several unavoidable and seemingly insurmountable roadblocks. For Republicans, passage of any favorable legislative items, even with Democratic support, may still run into a presidential veto, with little to no chance for an override.
For Democrats, any passage of the remnants of their cherished legislative agenda is not likely to reach the White House for a presidential signature, but will die, instead, on the Senate floor. Democrats, already one vote short of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, will see that number increase with the addition of Illinois Senate Republican Mark Kirk, who will immediately fulfill the remaining 60 days left in Democrat Roland Burris’s term.
However, Republicans may be able to count on new allies in the remaining moderate Democrat senators, such as Nebraska’s Ben Nelson and Montana’s Jon Tester.
But Republicans cannot quite yet rest on these assumptions. 2010 has proven to be a very unconventional year and months still remain on its calendar. Perhaps between upcoming legislative breaks, Republicans will find respite in the congressional attention provided by the separate corruption cases of two of the most longstanding Democratic representatives, Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Maxine Waters (D-CA), whose trials are scheduled to be held November 15 and November 29, respectively.
Speculation aside, at least what we can assume is that any real and meaningful legislative ventures will begin in earnest come January 3, 2011, when new House Speaker John Boehner announces the introduction of the Republican legislative agenda and political concerns officially shift over to the Democratic side of the aisle.
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