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GOP leadership bristles at five-day Capitol Hill work week During… 
22nd-Jan-2007 05:23 pm
GOP leadership bristles at five-day Capitol Hill work week
During a Friday morning debate on the floor of the House of Representatives, the Republican leadership complained that the five-day work week imposed by the new majority was unnecessary and created problems for Members of Congress. But House Democrats are holding firm and plan to continue the current schedule.

Speaking for the House Republican leadership, Roy Blunt, the Republican Whip, complained during the floor debate that the five-day work week was making life harder for Members of Congress from both parties. He also described the schedule as "a disservice to the institution," because "It is like assuming that a surgeon only does the surgeon's work when they are in the operating room."

In an e-mail response to RAW STORY, a Democratic Leadership aide stated unequivocally that no changes to the five-day work schedule were planned.

Blunt complained about the tone of discussions regarding the longer work week dictated by House Democrats, saying that "the majority has had the better of this argument so far because it is a lot of fun to talk about Members of Congress that don't work." He also mentioned that "The late night comedians love the idea that Congress was suddenly going to work 5 days a week."

His remarks came after the House voted unanimously to reform the management of the Page Board, prompted by last Fall's scandal involving Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida.

I wish our Members would have been able to go home last night or this morning and spend some of this workday at home instead of on an airplane, said the Minority Whip. I think it is unfortunate that we had to come back today for 30 minutes of debate on a measure that was already agreed to on a vote that not a single person voted the other way.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, the Democratic Majority Leader who set the House's five-day work week, acknowledged Blunt's point. I agree 100 percent with the minority whip when he indicates that our Members are working, whether they are here on this floor or they are at home, he said.

But the Maryland Democrat held firm. He noted that a continuing resolution would need to be passed for the government's budget because 9 of 11 appropriations bills were not completed during the last Congress, and added I want you to also know that I think it is our responsibility and duty to the American people to be here in sufficient time to allow us to do the people's business.

In response, Blunt tried to shift the blame for the failure to complete the nine spending bills away from the Republican majority in the 109th Congress. It is clear to me that the unwillingness of the other body to move forward, a thing neither you nor I have a lot of control over, was the real reason we didn't get more of that work done, he claimed.
We had 11 of our 12 bills done by the 4th of July, without tremendous effort to keep Members here on Friday, he added.

Blunt also attempted to take issue with the Democratic Leader's statements. In response to Hoyer's claim that the House's Committees needed more time to work, the Republican said I am absolutely confident that no committees met today.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) quickly stood up to say that a subcommittee of the Transportation Committee was meeting that morning. Hoyer also later pointed out that the House Committee on Global Affairs was receiving testimony from Lee Hamilton, a Co-Chair of the Iraq Study Group.

I just knew that you would be delighted to have that information, Hoyer quipped back.

The full exchange between the two Representatives can be read at the Library of Congress's website.
22nd-Jan-2007 10:37 pm (UTC)
I may not be as wise to the process of congressional affairs as many others may be. But in my very naive point of view, is it really that horrible that they have to work 5 days a week? **gasp**
22nd-Jan-2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
The poor dears. Being expected to actually show up to work?! Oh, the humanity!
23rd-Jan-2007 02:23 am (UTC)
It just amazes me to see this kind of whining, and some startlingly honest (but very unflattering) admissions from Republicans that they really were out of meaningful ideas.

How did these guys keep so much public support when even they acknowledge they were doing a crappy job when they were in the majority?

Good on to Nancy Pelosi for getting in there right away and trying to make the Congress relevant again.
23rd-Jan-2007 02:54 am (UTC)
I LOL'D when I heard this. So much. CRY MORE, BITCHES.

I mean, God forbid those elected officials be forced to work the same hours as the people who voted their lazy asses into office. And I'm being generous, because I know damn well they're not actually working eight-to-five every day in there.
23rd-Jan-2007 02:58 am (UTC)
This is the translation for what "The Gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Blunt" *REALLY* meant:

'You know, all of our wealthy Republic-party campaign donors get to show up at their offices for a couple hours a day, arriving in their chauffeured limos driven by their nice Negro or Guatemalan errand boys...then they get to spend the rest of their day in their 3-day work weeks having lunch and cocktails in good restaurants, play a few rounds of golf at their private country clubs, and get a good start on their four-day weekends by jumping on their private jets to go to their weekend estates....since we ARE in the same clique, it shouldn't be too much to ask that we have the flexibility to do the same thing. After all, we pay people average salaries to do 10 or 12-hour workdays 6 days a week to pay attention to important stuff until we get back--fully-rested--to exercise the power we wield. And we shouldn't have to give up our weekend time in the spas or on the golf courses to spend time pretending that we listen to our constituents...this is hard work, and we need to keep our time to campaign and collect campaign donations, too.

PLUS, we have children who need to get away from their private boarding schools and nannies so we can claim to be active parents...no one ever told us that our families would be inconvenienced by us having to spend time in Washington after we get elected! Unlike those needy lower class people who seem to come around begging for money all the time (shhhh! tell the Exxon chairman that I'll call him back about his earmarks after I get done with my speechifying!)...ahem...sorry...we DO need to take our sick children to the doctor and watch them playing football and listen to their band concerts and help them with their homework (pssst! hey, page! write a note to remind me to tell the nanny to get some tutors for my little brats!)...where was I? Oh yes...those ungrateful low class bastards. So you see, asking us to be here for those irritating committee meetings and floor votes 5 days a week REALLY inconveniences us...but I suspect that you Democrats just want to work us to death so we are so tired that we miss a few days and miss some votes....and you partisan attack dogs will just try to use those missed votes against us in the next election campaigns, won't you?
23rd-Jan-2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
unfortunately I'm not familiar with the library of congress system, could you (or one of your loyal readers) tell me in specific where to see this exchange?
23rd-Jan-2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
By date - it was on Friday, the 19th
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