Finish the 2007 Federal Budget
Congress must at least try to complete its work on the remaining Fiscal Year 2007 spending bills, the guts of the federal budget process. In a statement from the White House on November 9, President Bush called the spending bills Congress' first order of business and urged lawmakers to pass the bills "with strong fiscal discipline, and without diminishing our capacity to fight the war on terror."
Keeping an eye on terrorists
President Bush also called on Congress, in its final days, to pass the Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006. This bill, which has already cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee, would allow the president to authorize electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists for up to 45 days without a court order.
Trade with Vietnam
Congress may also try to finish up passage of a bill (S. 3495) that would extend nondiscriminatory treatment (normal trade relations treatment) to Vietnam. Passage of the bill would assist the Vietnam government in its efforts to gain membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Death of the "Death Tax?"
Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), Senate Majority Leader until Jan. 3, 2007, would like to see the lame duck Congress pass H.R. 8, a bill that would permanently kill the federal "death tax," scheduled for very temporary repeal in 2010. Without Congressional action, the tax would be reinstated after only one year in 2011.
The Senate may also consider President Bush's nominations of Dr. Robert M. Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense, and John Bolton as US ambassador to the United Nations.
What is a "lame duck" session?
Lame duck sessions of the U.S. Congress happen in even numbered years when Congress has to reconvene following the November general election to take care of unfinished legislation. Some lawmakers who return for this session lost their bids for reelection and will not be in the next Congress. Hence, they are informally called "lame duck" members participating in a "lame duck" session of Congress.