Thursday, December 07, 2006

What, Me Work?

"Keeping us up here eats away at families," is what GOP Congressman Jack Kingston of Georgia told The Washington Post. Democrats, he said, "could care less about families -- that's what this says."

And what was Mr. Kingston complaining about? Why, the incoming Democratic leadership of the House has this bizarre notion that members of Congress should actually, you know, work. Like, in their offices. Which these days are located in Washington, DC.

Yes, our representatives will actually be forced to return to work on January 4--whole weeks before the State of the Union address, which is when they’ve been accustomed to wandering back in under GOP “leadership.”

As The Post points out in an editorial this morning, “Do-Something Congress”, the current 109th Congress will have been in session for a grand total of 103 days this year, seven days fewer than the "Do-Nothing Congress" of 1948.

The Post also points out that “an ordinary full-time worker with a generous four weeks of vacation would have clocked 240 days of work during that same period.”

In addition, says The Post, quoting to the American Enterprise Institute's Norman Ornstein, “the average number of days in session for a two-year Congress has dropped from 323 in the 1960s and '70s to just 250 during the first six years of the Bush presidency.”

“This,” writes The Post, “saps lawmakers' ability to get much done. It's one explanation, though not the only one, for why they were able to finish work on only two spending bills this year. It takes a toll, too, in less measurable ways, on congressional civility and bipartisanship. How can lawmakers forge friendships -- or even learn to get along -- when they're barely in town long enough to learn each other's names?”

As to Rep. Kingston: I too have noticed how having a job really cuts into one’s free time. Perhaps the voters of his district can help him out with that in a couple of years.