Good news for people who hate lawmakers giving themselves three-day weekends on the regular! According to Politico, should the Republicans win back the Senate in 2014, they "are vowing to reinstate the five-day workweek." It's a supreme sacrifice that would leave the U.S. Senate with the same workweek as many normal human Americans -- at least the ones who haven't been cowed by their employers into giving up their weekends, which is a new thing that some lawmakers want to help facilitate.
There are a lot of schools of thought on whether or not lawmakers should spend more time in Washington, D.C. One theory is that if our Congresscritters actually brought their families to Washington and spent the weekends here, they all might spend more time together socially, would develop more cordial relationships, and thus be less inclined to screw each other over and insult one another all the time. The obvious downside to lawmakers staying in the district on the weekends is that Washington is much, much more pleasant when they are all gone.
Politico notes the "myriad reasons" why current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid prefers a short workweek:
1. "His members are up for re-election."
2. "[T]here's a contingent of lawmakers who say that long weekends are an important part of governing."
3. Per Claire McCaskill: "If you are in session from the beginning of the day Monday until the end of the day Friday, you really remove one of the most important parts of our work. And that is listening to how what we're doing is impacting people back at home."
So that's not actually a "myriad of reasons" -- that's just three ways of saying that everyone is constantly running for re-election.
Of course, one argument is that, by going back to one's district on a regular basis and not bringing one's family to Washington, lawmakers avoid being labeled a "Washington insider." Which is nuts, by the way: Lobbyists write laws for them so they have more time to phone up elite donors and beg for campaign cash. That's pretty much as "Washington insider" as you can get. And senators already get several weeks of recess a year to visit their home districts.
According to GOP leadership, however, those who are planning to extend the workweek have a different purpose in mind: It will help them identify who is really serious about being a lawmaker. I don't know if you've met the Senate Republicans but this is actually pretty understandable!
But Republicans are "very serious" about working five days a week in 2015 if they take the Senate, Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said, hoping to "use what's colloquially known as the fatigue factor to let people sort of self-select who's going to hang in there and fight for amendments and who's not."
If Senate Republicans really want to determine the "fatigue factor" of their membership, they should all try making a living delivering packages for Amazon.
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