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Kenneth D. Ackerman Headshot

Congress' Calendar for 2013: 239 Days Off

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What's the best job on earth? Why, of course, to be a Member of the United States Congress.

This week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor proudly announced the calendar for the new Congress in 2013. Here's the link. Working days for the entire year total 126, leaving 239 days off. This includes virtually the whole month of August, two weeks around Easter/Passover, not a single five-day work week and (God forbid) no weekends.

Members insist, of course, that they accomplish lots during those recesses -- or "District work periods" as they call them. And Congressional staff members, to their credit, work extremely hard with plenty of late nights and long hours.

For this, Members of Congress receive an annual salary of $174,000 ($223,500 for the Speaker), and, if the past few years are any guide, they will enact no budget, no regular appropriations bills, nor other key legislation. (That is, the House will pass bills that die in the Senate, Senate-passed bills will die in the House, and occasionally they will agree on naming a Post Office if such things still exist in 2014.) They will, however, take plenty of taxpayer-funded "fact finding trips," hold plenty of showboat hearings, and spend much of their time hawking for campaign contributions.

Wonder why public approval of the United States Congress stands at 16.4 percent in recent polls, up from 11 percent last March? Look no further than the calendar!!