It was 1948. Harry Truman was running for reelection. The major thrust of his campaign was the Congress that had been in office the previous two years was the worst ever. He referred to Congress as …..The do nothing Congress!
Truman was not the favorite in the race. Republican Tom Dewey was the anticipated winner. However, Truman spoke the truth re the Congress and won reelection.
Truth has a way of winning.
Today, we are confronted with a similar type Congress. A House of Representatives that has accomplished nothing. They have not governed the nation. They do not seem to be able to govern themselves. The present Speaker fiasco being proof thereof.
In November 2013, I wrote a column entitled U.S. House of Representatives Works Too Hard. Title written with tongue in cheek.The contents reveal one of the reasons Congressional government has not worked in recent years. Congress fails to spend sufficient time in Washington to get anything done.
Eric Cantor was majority leader and a right winger. A favorite of the Tea Party. He said Congress should spend more time in their home districts rather than Washington. It was more important to be back home with constituents. The people who elected them and paid their salaries.
You saw how it worked for Cantor. He was defeated in a primary in his home district. His constituents could not be fooled. He came out smelling like a rose, however. Within weeks, he had a job with a Washington power house lobbying group. His salary, $3.4 million a year.
I share the November 2013 article with you again as part of this column. It is worth repeating. It says a lot about a present day Republican Party incapable of governing.
THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WORKS TOO HARD
The U.S. House of Representatives works too hard.
A blatant misstatement. A lie. A joke. The American people would be lucky if the House of Representatives merely worked. Not even hard.
I was watching television last week and there was a news report that the House of Representatives were going home for several days. The comment further was that the House would not be working more than eight days each month in November or December. They would return sometime during the first week in January.
The video accompanying the story showed Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Speaker John Boehner leading some Republican members out of the House.
The smile on Cantor’s face bothered me. Pompous and disconcerting. Like look at the sweet deal we have and screw you.
What disturbed me even further is that shutdown time and the debt ceiling await us again in mid December and early January. The obvious thrust of the story was such did not seem to concern Cantor and Boehner or their followers.
My curiosity was tickled. How can these people take so much time off? I dug a bit. This is the story.
Cantor is in charge of the work day schedule. He published the 2014 one on Twitter last week. He also published one the year before for 2013.
In 2013, the House worked a total of 124 days. In 2014, they are scheduled to work even less. One hundred thirteen days. This abbreviated working schedule began with the Republicans elected to the House in 2010. That is when they regained the majority.
By the way, House members are paid at least $174,000 a year regardless of how many days they work.
Cantor claims House members require extensive time off. They need to be back in their home districts. It is necessary for them to keep in touch with the people who pay them. Their constituents.
Cantor says a short House work schedule is required “…..to ensure that we never lose touch with the constituents we each represent while completing our work in Washington.”
Bullshit! How stupid he and his cronies must think the American people are.
Keep in mind that Cantor and his buddies are the same House members who gave us the recent government shutdown.
The numbers are telling.
2013 saw the House working 126 days. The base salary per member is $174,000 a year. Plus all kinds of benefits and perks. However, I am only concerned with direct salary. One hundred twenty six working days amounts to $1,380 per day. In 2014, the House will work fewer days. It appears they needed two weeks more off. One hundred thirteen working days amounts to $1,540 per day.
Lets view the time worked and dollars paid from another perspective.
The average American works 2,080 hours per year. Average pay $29,000. $111 dollars per day. A far cry from what House members make. I refuse to use the term earn. A House member makes in effect 13 times the salary of the average American.
Tea Party success returned control of the House to the Republicans in 2010. The years since are the poorest production wise in modern times. The 112th House passed 283 bills that went to the President for his consideration. The present 113th House only 46 bills. Prior to the 112th and 113th Houses, the range of bills going to the President per session was 300 plus to 700 plus.
I have some observations.
If the House wants to work part time, the members should be paid part time. If the 425 members work only one third the year, they should receive one third pay. If House members need more time off, I suggest 20 years to life in a federal maximum security facility.
Let’s continue with the numbers.
The House only works one week on and two off. I believe it shows a contempt for the American people.
I have been harping on governmental waste in recent weeks. Brought on by Republican sought cuts in food stamps, Social Security and Medicare. The House’s working schedule is a perfect example of government waste and one where a $50 million per year savings could be accomplished.
Again, the basic salary of a House member is $174,000 a year. If they only work 126 days a year, they should be paid for 126 days. That would drop their salary to $60,065 per year. An annual savings of $113,935 per member. Multiplying the 425 members by that number evidences a savings of almost $50 million a year. That is, If House members were paid only for days worked. Like everyone else.
Perhaps politicians are all cut from the same cloth. Perhaps not. The Senate works significantly more days per year than the House.
You would assume there is much written on the issue. There is not. My research discovered only two articles of any substance. Both excellent. If you are further interested, I suggest you read them.
One is Congress Announces It Will Be In Session Fewer Days In 2014. Written by Mike Krumbotz, October 31, 2013 for the Yahoo News Sideshow.
The other is House To Be In Session Only 126 Days In 2013. Written by Robert Longley, December 12, 2012 for About.com/USGovernmentInfo.
The House of Representatives is a national disgrace. They must be voted out. It will not be easy. Americans have to get so mad at being fleeced so that they will not take it anymore. Otherwise, the status quo will prevail.