Your Representative: Working Hard or Hardly Working

— DocJess

Welcome to the start of the 112th Congress.  In addition to getting more paid vacation time then any other group of people, including union workers and even most part time workers, Congress generally doesn’t meet Monday or Friday. That’s 102 scheduled vacation days (exclusive of the Monday/Friday deal) with adjournment on 8 December, leading to an additional 16 days off. Strikes me as obscene. If I owned a company and paid someone in the neighborhood of $250,000/year in salary, benefits and perks (exclusive of the office budget) – I’d expect that person to work more than he/she took vacation. But maybe that’s just me. You can see the full calendar here.

Then again, this might be a good year for gridlock, given what the House led by the Tan Man and his DeMint-led cohorts in the Senate want to do.  
On their agenda:

  • Repeal healthcare. And no, this won’t happen.
  • Repeal safe and legal abortion. This might happen.
  • Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. NOT gonna happen.
  • Debt ceiling? The tea baggers are already up in arms about what the lame duck Congress did, and they do not want to raise it. Hopefully, cooler heads amoung the Republican intelligencia (sole member: Karl Rove) and the GOP members who have been around long enough to want to come back for an additional term will prevail.
  •  Spending bills: remember there’s no budget, just a continuing budget resolution that will need to be renewed/reviewed/reconsidered/beaten with a stick in February.
  • White House ethics trials.

Adapted from DemConWatch.



  1. Lee S. Bender says

    Like the Dem-led Congress of 2009-2010 was so great running up the most enormous debt in our history, while the economy got progessively worse?   What is so bad about a little check and balance now, with a Republican-led House – obviously the vast majority of the American public saw through this charade in the last election and wants change- back to right the ship from its leftward tilt.  By the way, just because congress is only in session certain days of the week, does not mean they are not working the other days; the writer fails to recognize that congressman must go home to their constituents and meet with them, many do so on weekends, holidays, days when there is no session.  And why pick on Majority Leader Eric Cantor here with his calendar?  Any bias toward the only Jewish Republican in Congress?  

    • DocJess says

      Since you obviously don’t know how this works, the reason Eric Cantor’s name is on the calendar is because he put the calendar together in his position of Majority Leader. Since the House calendar has been published, it has always been approved, and published over the name of, the Majority Leader, whomsoever that has been. You can easily read that at the bottom of the calendar. The calendar is a cut-and-paste of the official calendar, with no changes.

      While Congress goes home to their constituents, this is a relatively new thing, actually only occurring since the 1970’s. The reason is that prior to that air travel was not easily available and the time to travel from, say, DC to Alaska, Hawaii, the western states was prohibitive in the ability of the Congress to go home every weekend as they do now.

      In addition, historically election cycles were much shorter, and thus the need to raise money (what Congress ACTUALLY does at home in lieu of meeting with regular constituents) is a necessary evil of the current de facto system. If you look at the home calendars of House members, you will see that with the exception of the time from Memorial Day through election day on even number years, you wouldn’t need all your fingers to add the time that Congressmen and women meet with their rank and file constituents. During election season, it’s actually not meetings as much as ‘events’.

      When Steny Hoyer became Majority Leader in January of 2007, he DOUBLED the working days of the House over what it had been for the prior 12 years.

      Eric Cantor is the sole Republican Jew in either Chamber in the 112th Congress. There are, however, 39 other Jews, 2 Independents and the rest Democrats. Republican Jews are a rarity – there has been none in the Senate since Norm Coleman’s loss to Al Franken. Jews are overrepresented in Congress compared to the percentage of Jews in the general population, but the are almost always Democrats, as are the percentage of Jewish Democrats as a percentage of Jewish registered voters.

      You are entitled to your far right wing opinions, but it would be nice if you would consider working from the actual facts involved.

      • Lee S. Bender says

        I kind of followed you to the end, but lost you as I do with many who can’t help but show their stripes and inject personal attacks with no basis in fact at the end of their arguments. Prove to me ANYWHERE in the piece I wrote or my reply to your comment, where I am “RIGHT WING”?  Is is it merely because I have attacked the Demled Congress?  Because you disagree with me?  How about some intelligent argument- if you have any- against the contents of my article, or are you simply content with calling me names? But hey, this happens all too often when trying to discuss facts with those who claim to be open-minded but cannot grasp the concept that someone dares to challenge their beliefs…

    • says

      Jessica is certainly not picking on Rep. Cantor. She did not mention him by name, and while his name is on the Congressional calendar one would assume that any decision he makes is in consultation with the rest of the GOP leadership and they share responsibility. Raising Eric Cantor’s Jewish faith is an unfair criticism of Jessica (who incidentally is Jewish) and her article.

  2. Publisher says

    It is telling to watch how the Republicans are using the first couple of days of the limited time available. You can learn exactly what their priorities are.

    They talk a lot about the rule of law and respect for the Constitution, and scheduled a full reading of the document. (One would have hoped that members were already well acquainted with the Constitution before running for office, but “better late than never” I suppose.) However, the version they decided to read was incomplete not including the parts limitting the rights of women and blacks for example. (I guess that runs against the notion of the infallability of the Founders which the Tea Party wishes to promote.)

    Moreover, even the abridged version of the Constitution which they intended to read was not read in full. A member accidentally skipped an entire page of the prepared document, and clearly very few members were paying attention since the error was not brought to the attention of Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA) for over two hours by which time the reading had been “completed”.

    The skipped sections were:

    Article 4 Section 4: The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

    Article 5: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution.

    If even the Republicans were not paying attention to the reading, then what was the point of the exercise? Perhaps to show how committed Republicans are to the Constitution and the rule of law?

    If so, then why did Republican lawmakers Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Pete Sessions (R-TX) skip the official swearing-in in order to attend a fundraiser. The fundraiser itself is illegal since “”House rooms and offices are not to be used for events that are campaign or political in nature, such as a meeting on campaign strategy, or a reception for campaign contributors” according to the House Ethics Manual. Fitzpatrick and Sessions then when on to vote in the House of Representatives despite not having been sworn in a clear violation of part of the Constitution which had just been read:

    Article VI, Paragraph 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    Finally, Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) now stands accused of helping arrange “$500,000 in payments by a dog track (whose cause Rivera supported) to a company owned by his mother and godmother.” When Rivera was questioned about this by a Ryan Reilly from Talking Point Memo, the exchange was cut short by Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). Perhaps Cantor thought Rivera should exercise his right to remain silent.

    • laborman says

      This article was stunning in its assumptions and ignorance.  Does anyone really believe that Members of Congress are on “vacation” and not working every moment that Congress is not in session?  I guess the writer believes that Congresswoman Giffords was shot while “vacationing” while she was back in her district meeting with constituents.  I began reading the Voice when I stopped reading that right-wing rag called the Jewish Exponent.  But there should be some minimum standard of quality for publication even for government-bashing right-wingers.

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