Make Members Come to Work
Congress needs to heed the advice of Woody Allen, who liked to say, “90% of life is just showing up.” Part of the reason why Congress can’t get much done is because they’re not showing up in the halls of the Senate or House more than a few days a week.
Members of Congress routinely fly home to their districts on Thursday nights to meet with constituents or attend fundraisers, and they often don’t return until the following Tuesday.
Former Democratic Senate leader Tom Daschle said that, “When we scheduled votes, the only day where we could be absolutely certain we had all one hundred senators there was Wednesday afternoon.”
In 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives has scheduled only two weeks where it will be in session for five days.
The No Labels Solution
Everyone agrees Congress has a lot of work to do. We believe they’d get more done if they actually came to their offices in Washington, DC.
- A Five-Day Workweek: Most Americans put in a five-day workweek. So should Congress.
- Three Weeks in DC, One Week in the Home State or District: Instead of quick in-and- out trips home for fundraisers or hastily scheduled constituent events, members should have a full week available for working at home with constituents. They should spend the other three weeks in Washington, DC.
- Coordinated Schedules: A law can’t pass unless it gets through both the House and Senate. If they have different schedules, as they do now, it is harder to get anything done. The leaders of both chambers should work to ensure their members are in Washington during the same weeks.
This proposal can be imposed by House or Senate leadership.