Democrats take victory lap, claiming a 'do-something Congress'

Democrats celebrated on Wednesday what they said was the "do-something Congress" that has been in session since the election.

On what appears to be the last day of the lame-duck Congress, Democrats said the session was anything but lame, pointing to the litany of legislative accomplishments in the seven weeks since the election.

"The bottom line is that this lame-duck, as it's called, was not lame at all," outgoing House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday. "It actually took flight."

President Obama led his party Wednesday in celebrating the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell," one of the several accomplishments to come during the unusually busy lame-duck session. The Senate is set to ratify the New START Treaty on Wednesday afternoon, and passed a defense authorization bill by unanimous consent in the Senate on Wednesday morning. Also up for possible passage Wednesday is legislation to fund healthcare for 9/11 first responders.

"We've had a very, very productive few weeks after this election. We took responsibility to do the things that needed to be done," Hoyer told liberal talker Bill Press on his radio show.

There were disappointments for Democrats in the lame-duck, however. The tax-cut package favored by President Obama and negotiated with Republicans split Democrats in Congress along bitter lines, though the administration ultimately piloted it successfully through Congress. Democrats were also forced to adopt a continuing resolution funding government at current spending levels through March after the GOP successfully beat back a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill.

Still, President Obama, at a signing ceremony Wednesday morning on "Don't ask, don't tell," hailed what he said was the "culmination of two of the most productive years in the history of Congress."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) office, meanwhile, sought to dub the seven weeks since the election as the "do-something Congress," pointing to several media accounts of the unusual productivity.

Lame-duck sessions are typically marked by low levels of activity, particularly in the wake of the kind of electoral drubbing Democrats received on Nov. 2. Republicans will take control of the House in 15 days, and will eat into Democrats' Senate majority when new GOP senators are sworn in on the same day.

Republicans are already vowing a quick break with the way things have been done once they're in charge.

"A new Congress begins two weeks from today, and if the American people sense that change is coming, they’re right," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote Wednesday on National Review Online.

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