Our Congress, hard at work

Our men and women in Congress have a really challenging work schedule.  Here is a link to a PDF screen of their schedule for 2017.

It seems that the Senate has 77 days of recess.  That number does not include weekends (which gives an added bonus, albeit a minor one).  This gives them a whopping 11 weeks of time off (or "recess") per year.  The House fares a bit better.  They get 90 days per year, or 13 weeks, of recess.  Now, how many Americans get 11 weeks of vacation, much less 13?  Most get two weeks, some may get three, and a few who have been with a company for a number of years could get four.  But no one in the commercial (real) world gets 11 vacation weeks.

Eleven weeks is 21 percent, slightly more than one fifth, of the total available time in a year.  With a nominal work schedule of about 80 percent, it's no wonder not much gets done in Congress.  Then there are the drawn out hearings and hysteria about "the Russians" and "wiretapping."  And, especially for the Republicans, there are the internecine battles over health care, the budget, and tax cuts that take up weeks of valuable time.

Now, some of that so-called "recess" time is supposed to be time to go home and meet with constituents, and that could be considered working.  But one wonders: how many really do hold town hall meetings to hear from the voters?  With many of the recess periods lasting only five days, do they actually go to their districts?  Given that there is probably a day of travel each way, there are only three days of time at home.  Maybe they use that short time to meet with the big-money donors to ensure a steady flow of campaign dollars to help them win the next election and keep those cushy work hours?

What do the taxpayers get for that abbreviated work schedule?  Not much, it seems.  There has been very little essential legislation completed in the past few years, and so far this year, nothing real has yet been accomplished.  The economy is something that needs to be addressed, but there seems to be no urgency to take care of this.

Here's another take on the issue that discusses the salaries paid for this part-time work.  The reader can calculate the hourly rate based on Congress's abbreviated schedule.

Let's not even get into the other gold-plated perks.

Walt is a retired systems engineer and occasionally blogs at The Lemming Watch.

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