Wednesday, December 06, 2006

5 Days a Week

That's how many days the House of Representatives may have work, if those rascally Democrats get their way. The new schedule being proposed would have the Reps in Washington by 6:30pm Monday for voting, and leaving around Friday at 2pm. Quite a difference from the work week adhered to last year, by a Congress that managed to work fewer days than the "Do-Nothing Congress" of 1948.

The new schedule is meant to make the House look more like a standard business, thereby causing less of a feeling of displacement. After all, when the standard worker is busy slaving through a five-day work week (sometimes more), why should the elected officials be able to work for three days (at most)? Still, many elder statesment, specifically within the GOP, don't like the concept of actually working for five days straight, with only two days off.

Early criticisms include that the Dems in charge of the scheduling are anti-family, because having to work Monday-Friday weakens marriages. There has also been rumbling that, by forcing more time spent in Washington, the Dems are weakening Congress overall. The line of thinking on that seems to be that increased workload at the Capitol and less time amongst the people who voted for you will cause quicker burn-out, and lead to less efficient lawmaking.

One could actually argue the point that Congress should have a shorter work week, provided that the short week turned into productivity. Not to say that the longer week will provide that either, but at least we know that the schedule held by the House of Representatives last year wasn't anywhere near enough for them to get their work done, as proven by the fact that they didn't do much, aside from pass themselves another pay raise and deny an increase to minimum wage. Still, is a longer work week truly the answer?

Perhaps it would be smarter to force Congress to actually be held accountable for the work that they were sent to Washington to do. Maybe establishing some sort of pay rate based off of achievements, as opposed to a flat-rate for all senators. Let's make Congress more like professional sports, with incentive packages, and possibly even signing bonuses for those legislators primed to take an early lead in governing.

Otherwise, we're just going to end up with Congresspeople calling in sick to work, because they just can't bear to face another bill that doesn't directly benefit them or their friends. And do we really need more elected officials acting? After all, that's what campaign season is for.

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