…Hardly working: Congress taking 218 days off in 2017

by WorldTribune Staff, June 30, 2017

If it seems to the American voters who put them there that lawmakers aren’t getting much done, it may have something to do with the fact that Congress will only be in session 147 days this year.

The House of Representatives is taking 218 days off in 2017, according to the official calendar released by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

2017 work schedule for the House of Representatives

By comparison, an average American worker with a full-time job will probably put in around 240 working days a year.

There have been efforts to make members of Congress work full work weeks, but those efforts have always ended up failing, wrote Michael Snyder at The End of The American Dream blog.

In 2015, Rep. David Jolly, Florida Republican, introduced legislation that would have required the House to be in session 40 hours a week when members of the House were in D.C.

“A work week in Washington should be no different than a work week in every other town across the nation,” Jolly said at the time. Jolly’s measure failed to gain traction.

“Congress gets especially lazy during the summer months,” Snyder wrote. “Many Americans don’t realize that every year Congress takes the entire month of August off. And actually, the House will be on vacation from July 29 all the way to September 4 in 2017.”

Sen. David Perdue, Georgia Republican, is proposing that the August vacation be canceled this year because there is so much for Congress to do. (Good luck with that.)

Perdue cited five major tasks that need to be accomplished by Sept. 30.

  • “First, we have to complete the work on the first phase of repealing Obamacare and fixing our health care system.”
  • “Second, we have to pass a budget resolution that will work within the reconciliation process for changing the tax code.”
  • “Third, we have to use the appropriations process to fund the federal government by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.”
  • “Fourth, we have to deal with our debt limit. The Treasury Department has used extraordinary measures to buy time since the national debt hit its limit of $19.8 trillion in March.”
  • “Fifth, we have to finally act on our once-in-a-generation opportunity to change our archaic tax code, but we will only be able to do so if we achieve the first four priorities.”

“If those things don’t get done in time, members of Congress should not expect the voting public to have any sympathy for them,” Snyder wrote.

Even when they are in Washington, Snyder noted, many lawmakers “spend much of their time on activities that have nothing to do with legislation.”

For example, in his new book entitled “Giant Of The Senate”, Sen. Al Franken, Minnesota Democrat, admits that he often spends much of his day on the phone raising money.

“It’s not uncommon to have three straight hours of call time scheduled as part of your day. … It’s brutal.”

Term limits is one solution to such woes that enjoys widespread popular support.

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