With about 30 days left until the election, we take a look at various scenarios for when Congress returns for the lame duck session in November.
Much will depend on the election results - both in the Congress and the White House. In the Senate, it appears that Democrats have at least a 50-50 chance of retaining their majority status. Regardless of the final outcome, neither party will have the super-majority of 60 votes to overcome potential filibusters. In the House, the current wisdom is that Democrats face steep odds of retaking the majority.
The largest prize, of course, is the White House. While recent polling is trending in a positive direction for the President, if the old adage still rings true - that a day is a lifetime in politics - then 40 days are certainly several eternities.
Regardless of the election results, what won’t change is the crowded legislative agenda that was pushed off into a lame duck session. How that agenda gets addressed, if at all, will in large part depend on who wins the White House. Topping the list will be two major items - the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the looming sequestration. Commonly referred to as “the fiscal cliff,” both parties until now have seemed content to defer addressing the issues in order to avoid taking a stand that could alienate portions of the electorate as well as use the time to gauge public sentiment coming out of the election.