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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Year End, fresh Start?

The lame-duck session of the 111th Congress, which was widely expected to be an unproductive nightmare, ended pretty impressively for the administration and congressional Democrats with a 71-26 Senate vote to ratify the START treaty. Here’s Politico’s summary of the end-game:

The Senate voted on START the same day Obama signed legislation that begins a process to repeal the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on openly gay service members, and hours after it passed a stripped-down defense authorization bill. On Tuesday, Congress sent the president a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s food-regulatory system.
The 111th Congress adjourned for the year Wednesday night, but not before tackling a bill providing health care benefits for ground zero workers.

Some progressives, of course, remain angry about the tax deal that made the late-session activity possible, and we’re now about to enter a new Congress in which an emboldened and ideologically deranged Republican Party has a great deal more power to thwart the administration’s will. But all in all, given the baleful political developments since the enactment of health reform legislation, the very end of this Congress wasn’t so bitter, and even gave some reason for holiday cheer.

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