Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has a robust agenda for the lame duck session but all of it will be stalled if the Republicans are successful with what Comedy Central's Jon Stewart calls the "audacity of nope" strategy.
Reid has said that he would like to take up the DREAM Act immigration bill, "don't ask, don't tell" repeal, the 9/11 workers health bill, and the new START nuclear treaty with Russia.
But Senate Republicans sent Reid a letter Tuesday promising to block all legislation until the expiring Bush-era tax cuts are extended even for the richest Americans.
In the past, some politicians have viewed the lame duck session as an opportunity to pass important legislation because elected officials are free to work without worrying about elections.
"If we look at it as an opportunity to, you know, after the electrics, after the partisanship to move forward then there's real opportunities," Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said on Oct. 29.
"After the elections, the lame duck session is the legislative sweet spot, if you will, the three weeks out of every two years when people can actually do what is best for the country because they are not preoccupied with getting re-elected," Stewart explained Wednesday.
"It's kind of like that five minute window after you have an orgasm when you're finally not thinking about sex and can get some actual work done," he joked.
But the Republicans are determined to not give the Democrats any legislative victories.
"We can't compromise on spending," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said in mid-November.
"I don't think you're going to see compromise," Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) predicted in early November.
"Oh right. [The bills] won't pass because the Republicans are not a legislative block. They're a legislative c*ckblock," Stewart observed. "Hope is lost. These three weeks will pass, as have the last two years, with the audacity of nope."