‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ for the Lame Duck Congress

WASHINGTON (Dec. 3, 2012) –-There’s any number of legislative avenues down which the ongoing negotiations in Congress to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff” could ultimately proceed, but some are clearly better than others.

In a new brief, R Street Outreach Director lays out five “dos” and five “don’ts” for the lame-duck Congress. While lawmakers’ desire to attach their own pet projects to the last legislative train out of town is understandable, Congress could do enormous harm by including ill-considered proposals in the rush to complete a fiscal cliff package.

“Attaching it to the fiscal cliff bill would ensure that virtually any provision would be shielded from debate on its merits, overshadowed by trillions of dollars in changes to taxes, spending, and future deficits,” Moylan wrote.

Topping the list of “don’ts” that Moylan urges Congress stear clear of are:

  1. Don’t raise taxes.
  2. Don’t dismantle the sequester.
  3. Don’t pass half-baked tax reform.
  4. Don’t pass a long-term Farm Bill.
  5. Don’t pass harmful Internet sales tax collection legislation.

On the other end of the ledger, he urges that Congress pursue targeted defense spending reductions to better target resources and that it pass legislation that already has received thorough vetting and bipartisan support, such as raising the credit union member business lending cap and passing the Renewable Fuel Standard Flexibility Act, the Wireless Tax Fairness Act and the Mobile Workforce Income Tax Simplification Act.

“A bill on which passage is a foregone conclusion provides Congress with both temptations to enact bad policy and opportunities to make positive changes,” Moylan wrote. “By following these straightforward guidelines, Congress can avoid obvious mis¬takes while ushering to passage several non-controversial and bipartisan pieces of legislation.”

For a copy of the full brief, please visit:  http://rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/RSTREETshort21.pdf

R Street is a non-profit public policy research organization that supports free markets; limited, effective government; and responsible environmental stewardship. It has headquarters in Washington, D.C. and branch offices in Tallahassee, Fla.; Austin,Texas; and Columbus, Ohio. Its website is www.rstreet.org.

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