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I don't know if we can call Rick Nolan of Minnesota a freshman congressman. Technically, he is one of the incoming congressmen of the 113th Congress, but Nolan's been there before. He was part of the 94th through 96th Congress as well. And he's noticed a whole lot of changes since the last time he walked the halls of Congress. One thing that sticks out like a sore thumb? The work hours:
“My first term, we worked 48 out of 52 weeks,” Nolan said on Friday’s edition of The Daily Rundown. “Most of those days were four and five day weeks. We were in committee virtually every morning, we were on the floor of the House throughout the afternoons and the evenings and we were working in the process of governing which is what we’re elected to do.”
He expressed his disappointment that Congress is only currently scheduled to work 34 out of 52 weeks and considers most of those days “not real.”
“We went into session Monday, for example, we don’t have any votes scheduled until 6:30 in the evening, we were also scheduled to work on Tuesday–which we did–and then we were scheduled to work on Wednesday and we took the day off,” Nolan said.
Nolan quickly agreed with the public’s sentiment “everybody’s campaigning and nobody’s governing,” saying Congress isn’t governing like they should especially with all the serious issues the country is facing. He told Todd that the time given for Congressional members to campaign and the money they use has become “toxic.”
“I mean, we’re told here two things,” he said. “One is the one with the most money gets the most votes and number two – you should be spending 30 hours a week in fundraising and call time–dialing for dollars.”
Yes, along with everything else they've trashed, the Republican majorities have destroyed the chance of ever having an effective Congress that actually works. Of course, they're still making some pretty good money for their few actual hours of work:
In January, the House will be in sessions for 8 days. The good news is that they get to make it up in February when the House will be in session 11 days. So, for the first two months of the year our representatives in the House are scheduled to work 19 days. The average working stiff, making less than $50,000 a year, will work an average of 20 days a month so the House of Representatives are only working half time and making almost 4 times as much money.
I tell you, it's nice work if you can get it.