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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:11 AM   #1
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Default 5-day work week is a Capitol Hill culture shock

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16065625/

5-day work week is a Capitol Hill culture shock
Democrats seek a businesslike image; many in GOP decry effect on families

By Lyndsey Layton
The Washington Post
Updated: 7:14 a.m. ET Dec 6, 2006

WASHINGTON - Forget the minimum wage. Or outsourcing jobs overseas. The labor issue most on the minds of members of Congress yesterday was their own: They will have to work five days a week starting in January.

The horror.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the Maryland Democrat who will become House majority leader and is writing the schedule for the next Congress, said members should expect longer hours than the brief week they have grown accustomed to.
"I have bad news for you," Hoyer told reporters. "Those trips you had planned in January, forget 'em. We will be working almost every day in January, starting with the 4th."

The reporters groaned. "I know, it's awful, isn't it?" Hoyer empathized.

For lawmakers, it is awful, compared with what they have come to expect. For much of this election year, the legislative week started late Tuesday and ended by Thursday afternoon -- and that was during the relatively few weeks the House wasn't in recess.

Next year, members of the House will be expected in the Capitol for votes each week by 6:30 p.m. Monday and will finish their business about 2 p.m. Friday, Hoyer said.

Businesslike image
With the new calendar, the Democrats are trying to project a businesslike image when they take control of Congress in January. House and Senate Democratic leaders have announced an ambitious agenda for their first 100 hours and say they are adamant about scoring legislative victories they can trumpet in the 2008 campaigns.

Hoyer and other Democratic leaders say they are trying to repair the image of Congress, which was so anemic this year it could not meet a basic duty: to approve spending bills that fund government. By the time the gavel comes down on the 109th Congress on Friday, members will have worked a total of 103 days. That's seven days fewer than the infamous "Do-Nothing Congress" of 1948.

Hoyer said members can bid farewell to extended holidays, the kind that awarded them six weekdays to relax around Memorial Day, when most Americans get a single day off. He didn't mention the month-long August recess, the two-week April recess or the weeks off in February, March and July.

He said members need to spend more time in the Capitol to pass laws and oversee federal agencies. "We are going to meet sufficient times, so the committees can do their jobs on behalf of the American people," he said.

‘Keeping us up here eats away at families’
For lawmakers within a reasonable commute of Washington, longer weeks are not a burden -- although they are likely to cut into members' fundraising and campaigning activities. But for members from Alaska and Hawaii, the West Coast, or rural states, the new schedule will mean less time at home and more stress.

"Keeping us up here eats away at families," said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who typically flies home on Thursdays and returns to Washington on Tuesdays. "Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families -- that's what this says."

Time away from Washington is just as important to being an effective member of Congress as time spent in the Capitol, Kingston added. "When I'm here, people call me Mr. Congressman. When I'm home, people call me 'Jack, you stupid SOB, why did you vote that way?' It keeps me grounded."

Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), who had intended to retire this year, only to be persuaded to run again, wondered whether the new schedule was more than symbolic. "If we're doing something truly productive, that's one thing," he said. "If it's smoke-and-mirrors hoopla, that's another."

Senate leaders have not set their schedule, but the upper chamber generally works a longer week than the House, though important votes or hearings are usually not scheduled on Mondays or Fridays.

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), one of the architects of the lighter workweek, put the best Republican face on Hoyer's new schedule.

"They've got a lot more freshmen then we do," he said of the Democrats. "That schedule will make it incredibly difficult for those freshmen to establish themselves in their districts. So we're all for it."

Another headache
The new schedule poses a headache for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who runs her 7-year-old daughter's Brownie troop meetings on Monday afternoons in Weston, Fla. "I'll have to talk to the other mothers and see if we can move it to the weekend," she said.

Setting a calendar that satisfies 435 members is impossible, said the current majority leader, Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who will become minority leader in January. "Between the travel issues, the members' work schedules, the family and district issues, it was a Rubik's cube," he said.

But most Democrats, some still giddy from their election victories, seemed game.

"It's long overdue," said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), who lives in Napa Valley and will have to leave his home at 3 a.m. on Sundays to catch a flight to Washington in time for work Mondays. "I didn't come here to turn around and go back home."

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boo-hoo , 5 days a week, are you kidding me? This is just funny, and it's not political satire. They are crying that working 5 days a week is hard on families, how about the guy who drives truck and sees his family once or twice a month? These spoiled-rotten brats disgust me.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:23 AM   #2
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I wish they only worked one day.
Much less of a chance to fukc up the country even more.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:26 AM   #3
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I wish they only worked one day.
Much less of a chance to fukc up the country even more.
maybe we could come up with a compromise, work one day a week, and the rest of the week, they still have to come in, but they have big hamster wheels that they have to run on. You have to justify them getting paid as much as they do, somehow...
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:46 AM   #4
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maybe we could come up with a compromise, work one day a week, and the rest of the week, they still have to come in, but they have big hamster wheels that they have to run on. You have to justify them getting paid as much as they do, somehow...
Thats fine by me.

They can pick up trash on the side of the road for all I care.
And that goes for both parties.

They're all a bunch of useless bastards.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:51 AM   #5
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Thats fine by me.

They can pick up trash on the side of the road for all I care.
And that goes for both parties.

They're all a bunch of useless bastards.
What happened to the funnay stan>? Your angry and I dont like it.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:53 AM   #6
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What happened to the funnay stan>? Your angry and I dont like it.
Sorry, my phone started ringing to early this morning, I'm kinda crabby.

I'm on my second cup of coffee. I should snap out of it soon.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:54 AM   #7
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Sorry, my phone started ringing to early this morning, I'm kinda crabby.

I'm on my second cup of coffee. I should snap out of it soon.
Please get to that second coffee/pepsi quick, you be scary.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:59 AM   #8
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Please get to that second coffee/pepsi quick, you be scary.
I also need to stay out of this forum.
Way to much "stupid" in here.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 11:01 AM   #9
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I also need to stay out of this forum.
Way to much "stupid" in here.
I have been staying out for that same reason, then I come in and take a peak, and you scare me.

So lets just agree not to go back into this special ed forum.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 11:13 AM   #10
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I have been staying out for that same reason, then I come in and take a peak, and you scare me.

So lets just agree not to go back into this special ed forum.
is that a promise?
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Old December 7th, 2006, 11:24 AM   #11
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I'm kinda crabby
Poor Stan, you need a massage and a half dressed 18 year old to serve you pepsi and or coffee/"snow". I can cover the massage part but Pete will have to fill in the part of the half dressed 18 year old
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Old December 7th, 2006, 11:46 AM   #12
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is that a promise?
He's on my ignore list so its the same if he post of it he doesn't . . . you sould try it.



The boo hoo I'm going to away from my family line is a joke. I'm pretty sure they knew were DC was located when they ran for the job and they had to know the all congresses didn't run like the 2006 Congress.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 03:09 PM   #13
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I wish they only worked one day.
Much less of a chance to fukc up the country even more.
in theroy i like the idea of them not lounging around like a bunch of eliteist's billionaires they aspire to be.

I think in light of the supreme court appointments the libs want Bush to appoint a liberal or at very least to "keep the balance" of the high court, never mind 200 years of history.

Along the lines of what stan said i dont want more floor time and voting time, i think the angle would be much worse if the tried this you would hear all the sob stories on the news about the kid with MS, palsy etc. whos mom is in dc and look what your doing to the kid with mom serving so much.

Also it seems like they are trying to combine 2 terms into one while they have power briefly. The dems think tank worried ..... well we only have one shot at this after all our talk we GOTTA do something so we can say we did. How we gonna do this. Ohh lets functionally make 1 term the equal of 2 terms, THEN MAYBE we can get something done.

DC crack babies would be drownding in tears if the did this.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 03:15 PM   #14
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Actually they are going to take full advantage of ONE term. Congress usually isn't this lazy.
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