In case you haven’t been keeping up with Congressional politics, the Dems are heading out of the gate at full speed. The interesting part is that they aren’t screwing up their lead at all!
First, Steny Hoyer announced that he will expect members of the House to actually show up and work most days. Commonly referred to as the “Tuesday-Thursday Club,” members of the House are known to work approximately 3 days of the week in DC, then leave to spend time with their families, constituents, donors, and lobbyists. What has resulted is a culture in which members don’t actually schedule House meetings often enough to actually accomplish anything. The 109th Congress may go down in history as being one of the laziest in US History.
Hoyer has suggested that the House meet five-days-a-week for the first part of the new session in order to take care of many items that were neglected this year and last. As you might expect, this has caused some buzz. Republicans are claiming that this is a ploy on the part of the Dems to hurt families. In reality, those Republicans are lazy bums that are worried about being over-worked with a (gasp!) 40-hour work week!
Now it looks as if the $3,300 pay raise members expected to start getting next month is in jeopardy. Pelosi and Reid have announced that they intend to block the pay increase, claiming that it is unconscionable to increase their own pay when the national minimum wage continues to be locked at $5.15.
Really though, the Dems are sounding more and more like the fiscal conservatives that I hoped they would. They are hoping to increase the productivity of Congress without raising the already high pay for members. When did the Democrats become responsible?