Short Hill workweek still intact
ThesameHouseDemocratswho assailed the “Do-Nothing” 109th Congress say they will get more work done than the outgoing Republican majority, but have not announced any changes to the abbreviated legislative workweek.
Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, on Nov. 21 announced her party’s legislative agenda for its first 100 hours in power,sayingCongresswill“remain in session for several weeks in January” to consider bills proposing to increasetheminimumwage,cutthe student-loan interest rate and roll back subsidies for oil companies.
“It is imperative that we waste no time in addressing the pressing needs facing our nation,” she said.
The 110th Congress will convene on Thursday, Jan. 4. The scheduling allows the Democrats to potentially work through that weekend and pass their “100 hour” package, and then spend the next full week in Washington.
AsDemocraticleadersoftenpoint out,theRepublicanCongressmet94 days this year before this month’s midterm elections — a record low.
“It would be difficult to do less work than was done in the last Congress,” said Rep.-elect Steve Cohen, Tennessee Democrat. “That would be going into a black hole or negative territory. I don’t think Einstein could calculate that.”
Beyond the honeymoon phase, leadershavenotyetannouncedtheir plans for the workweek. They say it will be easy to do more than the Republican majority did since coming to power in 1995.
“I don’t know that we will work every week, but we are certainly going to work significantly longer than the Do-Less-Than-Do-Nothing Congress,”saidincomingHouseMajority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland.
Mr.Hoyercameupwiththatnickname as an expansion of President Truman’s label of the 80th Congress during his successful 1948 election campaign.
For the last several years, House Republicans have scheduled votes onless-significantbills—suchasrenaming post offices or honoring sports teams — on Monday evenings. The real work on more pressing policy matters occurred Tuesday afternoon through Thursday. By Thursday night, most members were on planes traveling back to their districts.
DemocraticRep.RickBoucherof Virginiaremembersasimilarworkweek when his party had control in the 1980s.
He praised the Republicans for sticking to a schedule, even though he thinks they got little accomplished. “It helps to plan. I didn’t have that assurance when the Democrats were in charge,” he said.