Deficit Fights Loom for Lame Duck Congress
Spending bill, Bush tax cut decision will have to be made quickly
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2010 7:32 AM CDT
Saxby Chambliss thinks new lawmakers have a lot to learn. "They’re thinking we can come in and eliminate earmarks and everybody’s going to be happy. Gee, that just scratches the surface."   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

(Newser) – The federal deficit has played a huge role in the midterm elections, but it might become an even bigger issue right after them, when a lame duck Congress is forced to make immediate decisions about the expiring Bush tax cuts, and pass an overdue spending bill to keep the government operating, the New York Times reports. They’ll also have proposals from the president’s bipartisan debt reduction committee to consider.

But people on both sides of the aisle say they’re not terribly optimistic about the prospects for compromise. Democrats, and many economists, believe that more stimulus is needed to reduce unemployment before deficit reduction can be seriously tackled. Top House Republicans like Paul Ryan, meanwhile, may fear that making deals with Democrats will cost them leadership positions. John Podesta thinks the result could be “deficit reduction gridlock.”