Congress heads back to work
Elections are over and the House and Senate are back in Washington, ready to go back to work. YNN's Bill Carey says this week begins a so-called "lame duck" session of Congress.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It's a term that was first used in the 18th century to describe stock brokers who defaulted on their debts. Nowadays, it refers to a meeting of a legislative body where some members have lost re-election efforts, but still must decide important issues before the end of their terms.
Syracuse and Central New York are sending "lame duck" Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle back to Washington as Congress prepares to take up key issues, including the question of how to avoid a "fiscal cliff," a convergence of tax hikes and spending cuts that take effect January 1st unless a compromise deficit reduction plan is agreed to.
The major question: Can there be a deal?
“For the sake of this nation, I hope so,” Buerkle said. “I'm not really sure. We'll have conference tomorrow. I think the Speaker has already started speaking to the President.”
But already, Buerkle says she sees little room for change among republican lawmakers in the House.
Buerkle said, “ Not interested in raising taxes. So there may be an impasse, but we'll see what happens when we get down there.”
Buerkle's journey to the capital comes just days after she lost a re-election bid to the same democrat she had ousted in the 2010 elections: Dan Maffei. Despite the clear vote for the democrat, she makes it clear she plans no change in her position on key questions regarding tax hikes for the nation's wealthy.
“No. I was interested in jobs and the economy. And if we're going to get that back on track, we cannot hurt our businesses and our businesses can't afford more taxes, more regulations. They're already being choked here in New York State,” Buerkle said.
Trips to Hancock Airport for flights to Washington to do business on Capitol Hill have become a regular occurrence in the Congresswoman's life. But that life will change in just two months. It's a life Buerkle admits she'll miss.
“Oh, of course. I love it,” Buerkle said. “We're going to finish strong. People call it a ‘lame duck,’ but I've told my staff we're going to work hard right up to the end. We owe it to the people of the district.”
People she claims want her to stick to her principles, no matter what the outcome of the election.
Democrat Dan Maffei, who defeated Congresswoman Buerkle last week, is also in Washington. Maffei is taking part in orientation for newly elected House members.
There are no plans for the two to meet.