One of the many, many reasons why Congress has plummeted to record-low approval rankings in recent years is its atrocious collective work ethic.
For instance, in early August, Congress broke for 5 weeks of vacation, not returning back to Washington until eight days after Labor Day. Then after voting on such matters as giving congressional approval for President Obama to hit ISIS, they then broke at the end of last week to take essentially the rest of the year off to campaign, even though more than 80 percent of those Representatives live in safe (and in many cases gerrymandered) districts with no fears of being seriously challenged.
Now, one man has had enough. Actually, he's the most junior member of the whole bunch: Pinellas County Congressman David Jolly.
In a letter sent to Hernando County Republican Richard Nugent, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Rules and Organization in the House, Jolly is calling for a permanent rules change that will require the House to be in session "significantly more days" than in the current, 114th congressional session.
This year, the House will be in session for only 110 days total.
Noting that nearly 40 percent of all Americans work of average of 50 hours a week or more, Jolly says the House "must do the same."
“I would respectfully request that your subcommittee require for any week that Congress is in session in Washington D.C. that such session run from 8:00 a.m. on Monday until 6:00 p.m. on Friday," he writes. "Simply put, a work week is a work week. Our efforts should reflect those of every other working American."
Congress notoriously has always suffered from a weak work ethic. When they are in session, typical workweeks run only Tuesday through Thursday, allowing them to travel back to their districts on Friday and return on Monday.
When Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats took over the House after 12 years back in 2007, the then-new House Speaker vowed to work longer work weeks, but that appeared to last only until the end of 2007, as Politico reported at the time.
The House began taking more time off after the Republicans recaptured the chamber in the 2010 elections. They changed their calendar to ensure that they would formally be in session in Washington for two weeks, and then spend the following week in their home districts.
At the time, that prompted another Florida Republican freshman lawmaker, Allen West, to complain. West said at the time, “The American people expect Congress to do a thorough review of our nation’s spending priorities,” he wrote. “And I believe the number of days in session do not provide an adequate amount of time for such oversight."
“We should be in session more. We cannot rightfully address the many concerns of the American people like the national debt, tax reform, national security and education if we are not in session,” Jolly said.