From tomorrow until the end of this year, the House of Representatives has scheduled an underwhelming 41 days of work. This is pathetic. Call it "our taxpayer dollars not at work," if you will.
During the first half of 2012, from January through June, the House worked a grand total of 85 days. From July through December, there are only 45 days on the work schedule. That is nine weeks worth of work, to put it another way, out of six months on the calendar (roughly 26 weeks).
Counting from tomorrow on (the "rest of the year"), there are a total of 172 days on the calendar. To be fair, 50 of these are weekend days, leaving 122 weekdays. Also to be fair, there are five federal holidays in there as well, which leaves 117 non-holiday weekdays until the new year dawns. Divide 41 into 117, and you come up with the reprehensible figure of 35 percent. That's right -- your representative in the House is planning on only working a little over one-third of the rest of this year.
The two gigantic reasons for how low this number is are August and October. In August (and a week into September), the House will spend five weeks at home, doing nothing. October is campaign season, so they'll be taking another five weeks off then. Add in one week for Thanksgiving and eleven days off at the end of the year, and you can see why they'll be spending two-thirds of rest of this year not doing the People's business.
I'm using the House for these calculations, I should mention, because the publicly-posted Senate work schedule is wildly optimistic (and likely will reflect reality in the second half of 2012 no better than it did in the first half). At least Eric Cantor's honest about the schedule he posts. Which doesn't make the schedule itself any better, though.
Whenever I write one of these articles, my initial reaction is always "Dock their pay!" Why, after all, should we be paying them not to work? Unfortunately, to do so would require (sigh) an act of Congress. Which means it is about as likely to happen as squadrons of flying pigs appearing over the Washington swampland.
But that in no way prevents me from complaining about it, roughly every six months, until a few other folks notice what a terrible "return on investment" we the taxpayers are getting on our elected representatives. There is indeed, only one word to sum up the work schedule of Congress, and that word is "pathetic."
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