Democrats' Lame Duck Line-Up: 20 Bills in 6 Weeks

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Our do-nothing Congress is looking to cram 20 bills into the last six weeks between the midterm elections and the end of the year. It's cute, in a way. Like hearing some kid who refuses to take piano lessons suddenly claiming he would like to play Rachmaninoff, tomorrow.

What's on the lame duck docket? Some major bills, it turns out.

1. The Bush tax cuts

2. A defense authorization bill, which could include a repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell

3. The DREAM Act, which provides a path for children of illegal immigrants to earn legal status

4. The return of two old debates: unemployment benefits extension and the doc fix.

5. A renewable energy standard bill (see Atlantic FLASHCARD here)

6. A new tax relief bill from Sen. Max Baucus...

... plus a cybersecurity bill, and a bill to block EPA regulations, and a bill to scream about Chinese currency manipulation, and on it goes. Alexander Bolton has a nice summation in Roll Call.

October is going to be all political playbook and no work. But like a garden hose squeezed with the water running and then released, November is going to unleash a torrent of activity in what could be the most important, eventful, contentious lame duck session in generations.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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