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The busy week leading up to the end of the year is anticipated by Congress. Not always in this manner.

On Nov. 19, 2002, the Senate confirmed a federal judge, passed a resolution funding the government, and created the Department of Homeland Security. This coming week, lawmakers are expected to be in town until Friday to approve the final bills for the 117th Congress. Lame-duck sessions have turned into momentous periods. The House and Senate each passed versions of the Pentagon bill before July 4. This year, the Senate didn’t act until Dec. 6 after behind-closed-door talks with House leaders. By waiting so long, congressional leaders are presenting rank-and-file lawmakers with a hostage situation.