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Lame Duck Session

November 14, 2010

This week the House and Senate return for a lame duck session. A lame duck session is one held after an election. Members who have announced retirement or were defeated in the election take part in passing legislation. They are no longer accountable to the public since the election has passed and they do not have to face the voters.

This lame duck session has one of the largest numbers of members who are not returning. In the House there are 20 members who did not seek reelection, four defeated in primaries, and 51 defeated in the general election. This means that almost 20% of the House are lame ducks. In the Senate there were 11 retirements and five defeated in the primary and general elections.

News this week will focus on both the ending of the 111th Congress as well as the beginning of the 112th. The leadership for the 112th Congress will be elected in private party meetings focusing on the new Congress, while the retiring Congress meets to pass legislation. Follow the action of these two groups here in the Video Library.

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