Lame-Duck Session Over, GOP Looks to 2011

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The lame-duck session of Congress is over, but lawmakers and President Barack Obama have wrapped up a huge amount of legislation in the last action-packed month.

However, it may not be something that can be repeated next year when conservative Republicans control half of Congress and the liberal Obama still reigns in the White House.

"What we've shown is that we don't have to agree on a hundred percent to get things done that enhance the lives of families all across America," Obama said.

The president and Congress went from extending the Bush-era tax cuts to fulfilling his promise to repeal the "don't ask don't tell" policy and let gays serve openly in the military.

"No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie, or look over their shoulder in order to serve the country that they love," Obama said.

Then in just one day, he saw the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty opposed by so many Republicans, ratified and a popular measure to pay for the health needs of 9/11 responders also pass.

"This is our small effort to stand behind them when they need us most," said Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

However, Obama's wish "to get things done" in 2011 may run head-on into what many of the newly-empowered Republicans feel is their mandate from a riled-up electorate -- not to get things done, but to undo them. They intend to undo Obama's health care law, and slash a bloated government's size, budget and power over every American's life.

When Democrats were pushing so hard to ratify the START treaty this week, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wondered why Congress was moving so quickly.

"I just don't understand why we can't wait five more weeks," Graham said.

It's because Obama and the Democrats realize their chances of passing their own agenda are much smaller now that Republicans will have much more power in the new Congress.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.