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.: December 2006 --> Under Dems, House will work 5-day-weeks during 2007

Under Dems, House will work 5-day-weeks during 2007

» The horror! In the coming session, Congress will be scheduled to work 5 days a week; if you count 6:30pm Monday to 2pm Friday as "5 days".

By the time the gavel comes down on the 109th Congress on Friday, members will have worked a total of 103 days. That's seven days fewer than the infamous "Do-Nothing Congress" of 1948.
Hoyer said members can bid farewell to extended holidays, the kind that awarded them six weekdays to relax around Memorial Day, when most Americans get a single day off. He didn't mention the month-long August recess, the two-week April recess or the weeks off in February, March and July.

And, predictably:

"Keeping us up here eats away at families," said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who typically flies home on Thursdays and returns to Washington on Tuesdays. "Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families -- that's what this says."

 [ 12.06.06 ]


Weird, I had no idea that members of congress went home every weekend. I figured they lived in Washington DC while congress is in session. No wonder they don't get anything done!

The Democrats could care less about families...

What, he means even less than the Republicans who have consistently voted not to raise the minimum wage?

Yuk yuk.

(I know, grammatical errors are cheap and easy targets.)

I think I speak for all Americans, regardless of poilitical party, when I say -

Boo fucking Hoo! Let me play my tiny violin for the assheads.

Meg -

It really depends on the Congresscritter. Many do buy homes in the D.C. area and move their families here. (One of our neighbors is a Congressman, e.g.)

While I snarked at Medley about this, and I think that 103 days (that the 109th supposedly worked) is ridiculous, it is a bit complicated. If they're actually doing their jobs, it's important for them to spend time in their Districts and in their local offices and to be aware of and respond to constituent concerns.

Unfortunately, too many of them use that time instead for fundraising and shmoozing as prep for the next campaign..

See, here's the thing about that:

First, I think there is this perception (thanks to "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," maybe?) that members of the House and Senate all need to be in the same room or building in order to be "working." Does this mean that they would never have time to visit with constituents in their districts? If you work in a retail outlet, a warehouse, a school, a factory, an office, or something like that, then you probably associate "work" with "being in a certain physical location." I take issue with the idea that a congressman's work is all done, or should be all done in Washington.

Secondly, I don't think the "do-nothing" aspect of Congressional activity (inactivity?) is all that horrible for the rest of us. Have you seen some of the dumb laws that some of these guys want to enact? We consider a widget producer to be good at his job if he produces x number of widgets. Why do we always think we need more legislation? Do we really want more opportunities for people up there to brainstorm together even more ways to stick their collective noses into our privacy with Patriot Act II or something? Just because you get one telemarketing call out of 100 that offers a product or service that you really like, does that mean that you want more telemarketers to call?

This seems like a P.R. stunt, similar to all the stunts the GOP pulled back in the Contract days.

Legislation is not the only thing that Congress does. To the extent that they are Constitutionally required to provide an oversight function, then Congress can stick its collective nose into what the other parts of the government has been up to. Providing proper oversight alone would probably keep them busy fulltime if they put their minds to it. Hell, providing oversight of JUST the Defense Department could probably keep all of Congress busy for well more than 103 days.

They can also *repeal* laws, of course - and they need to be in town to do that.

Not to mention their Constitutional requirement to advise and consent on Executive Branch appointments. There are thousands of political appointments -- doing a proper assessment and holding actually useful hearings, as opposed to rubberstamp grandstanding types of hearings, could also take up a huge amount of their time without passing any additional legislation.



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