How long did you work on Friday? The U.S. House of Representatives worked for four minutes. A few members showed up at 9:00 AM, called an official start to the day of business, held an ineffective religious ceremony, and then, at 9:04 AM, ended the day of business.
It’s Monday today, but the congressional vacation continues. The House of Representatives will not even have a four-minute meeting. Tomorrow, the House will amble in at 10:30 AM, and on Wednesday, the business day will begin at 10:00 AM. That’s it for the week. Members of Congress will not show up to work on Thursday or Friday.
Why? They’re campaigning for re-election, which means that they’re holding a lot of meetings with influential corporate lobbyists, at which they receive money to pay for television commercials. Though they won’t be doing the legislative work they’ve been hired to do, members of the House of Representatives will be appearing on TV all week long, and on the weekends, too.
Imagine what might happen if the leaders of Congress decided that the best way to keep their jobs would be to do their jobs. Imagine what could be if campaigns for re-election consisted mostly of effective legislation passed.
Are the American people willing to pay enough attention to the legislative activities on Capitol Hill to make such a strategy work?