I suspect only a few of you have heard of the new “5 Day Work Week” for Members of Congress. The new Democrat leadership has instituted a new 5 day work week policy which means there will be Congressional votes Monday-Friday. And I am sure most of you hear it and say…Duh…they need to work 5 days a week.
I will also point out that the one Job Members are suppose to do is pass appropriations for the federal government so it can continue to run. Can you imagine if your company just decided not to do a budget? Not figure out how much they were going to spend…to just ignore it because the partners could not agree on how to spend the money? Basically that’s what your Reps have been doing. It has gotten worse and worse each year I have been in D.C. But 2006…was by fare the worst. They only funded 2 (Dept of Defense and Dept of Homeland Security) of 13 Appropriation bills, leaving many federal agencies in limbo (No funding for the Department of Justice, Health & Human Services, The Treasury, Veteran Affairs, Department of Education, NASA etc). In fact I would argue that this year was sheer gross negligence. They have decided to not even do the FY ’07 appropriations bills. They are just going to punt and start working on FY ’08 appropriation bills. (Fiscal year runs October to Sept, so we are already in the 2nd quart of the Governments FY’07).
So yes, I think Congress needs to get their job done, but I am also not sure I think we should have votes on the floor 5 days a week. Can you imagine being a member of Congress from Southern California? Every Friday evening you take a 6 hour flight home. You get in late in the evening. Then you must leave Sunday afternoon or take the Red Eye to return to work on Monday for votes. How much time does he get to spend with his constituents? (Don’t forget the 3 hour time change). How can he adequately represent you if he never gets to see you or your community or understand the problems in his own district? Plus, do you know what they vote on sometimes? Below is an actual agenda for an actual day of votes not to long ago in the US Congress. How would you like to wake up at 3:30 in the morning to fly to work for these:
1) H.R. 2808 – Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Coin Act (Sponsored by Rep. LaHood / Financial Services Committee)
2) H.Res. 912 – Supporting the goals and ideals of National Life Insurance Awareness Month (Sponsored by Rep. Biggert / Government Reform Committee)
3) H.Res. 605 – Recognizing the life of Preston Robert Tisch and his outstanding contributions to New York City, the New York Giants Football Club, the National Football League, and the United States (Sponsored by Rep. Fossella / Government Reform Committee)
4) H.R. 2491 – International Solid Waste Importation and Management Act of 2005 (Sponsored by Rep. Gillmor / Energy and Commerce Committee)
5) S. 3534 – YouthBuild Transfer Act (Sponsored by Sen. Enzi / Financial Services Committee)
6) H.Res. 875 – Congratulating Spelman College on the occasion of its 125th anniversary (Sponsored by Rep. Lewis (GA) / Education and the Workforce Committee)
7) H.Res. __ – Expressing condolences to the families, friends, and loved ones of the victims of the crash of Comair Flight 519, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Chandler / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)
8) H.R. 503 – A Bill to Amend the Horse Protection Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Sweeney / Energy and Commerce Committee)
So yes, I think they need to work 5 days a week, but I am not arguing that they were not working 5 days a week before now. Just some food for thought.
Oh yes just one more final point..yes I applaud the New Democrat Majority on having a 100 hour agenda. The press is all over talking about how much they are getting done. But I hope that you as an educated person realize one thing…its really easy to get stuff done when you don’t allow others to comment. The legislation that is being passed has not gone through the Committee, has not had a hearing, and are going directly to the floor with a straight up/down vote, no amendments allowed.
I get a lot done too when I am the sole decision maker.
And one last thing…we passed a lot of homeland security measures in the 9/11 Report implementation act on Tuesday…but the question to how we pay for 100% cargo inspection and other provisions is yet to be unanswered. I have the answer…I hope you like the provisions…because you are going to be paying for them soon. (Well I am jumping the gun some because the Senate still has to pass a similar measure). But, if you are interested in seeing what you might be paying for (and don’t get me wrong…I think a lot of the measures contained in this bill are VERY important and the right thing to do) please click here to read H.R. 1.