Short Hill work­week still in­tact

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Christina Bellantoni

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.

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