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08 October 2009

A 'Workweek' In The House Of Representatives


...is essentially two-and-a-half days long. Ugh:

In theory, the best job in American politics is the President of the United States.

But the president's now got some competition: House Representative. The Democratic-led House -- in the middle of the biggest healthcare fight in a generation -- has now trimmed their workweek to just two and a half days, leaving members of Congress plenty of time to ski or play golf.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) promised after the Democrats won the House in 2006 and then after Obama's election this year that the House would hold longer workweeks. But as the fall of 2009 wanes, the House has taken to starting on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm and adjourning "before the sun goes down" on Thursdays.

That certainly wasn't Hoyer's tune in 2006, when he claimed that congressmembers were going to have to work five days a week.

"I have bad news for you," Hoyer told reporters after the Democrats took over the chamber. "Those trips you had planned in January, forget 'em. We will be working almost every day in January, starting with the 4th."

The Washington Post blared this headline Dec. 6, 2006: "Culture Shock on Capitol Hill: House to Work 5 Days a Week."

But since the House returned from recess on Sept. 8 of this year, it has stuck around to vote on a Friday just once. For what? Approving an a 5.8 percent increase in Congress' budget.
What a great gig, no? Obviously, there are other matters to which members of Congress must give their attention. I don't doubt that there is much behind-the-scenes action. But, really? Barely three days of actual work in the House? It's no wonder that Congress' approval rating is consistently so low...

Head nod: TYWKIWDBI

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