Wednesday, December 06, 2006

On Second Thought, Maybe This Isn't Such A Good Idea

We're as happy as anyone else to see our tax dollars working feverishly for the betterment of all mankind, and while at first we applauded the new "Let's work for a living" philosophy of the incoming Congress, upon further reflection, we really wonder if the country isn't better off with politicians out diddling the pages, golfing, or stuffing their houses with antiques and works of art.

Steny Hoyer the Maryland Democrat who will become House majority leader is writing the schedule for the next Congress, told members they should expect longer hours than the brief week they have grown accustomed to. "And we'll expect you to be sober too," Hoyer added. "I'm looking at you Hastert."

For lawmakers, it is quite a change, compared with what they have come to expect. For much of this election year, the legislative week started late Tuesday and ended by Tuesday night -- and that was during the relatively few weeks the House wasn't in rehab. "What the heck did I get elected for," asked Representative Jack Kingston (R-Cracker). "If I wanted to work in Washington, I would have moved here."

Next year, members of the House will be expected in the Capitol for drug screenings each week by 6:30 p.m. Monday and will meet with their probation officers about 2 p.m. Friday. "I don't like it any more than you do," Hoyer said. "But it's the only way we can keep Ferguson out of jail."

By the time the gavel comes down on the 109th Congress on Friday, members will have worked a total of 103 days. That's seven days fewer than the infamous "Do-Nothing Congress" of 1948. "I don't know how you can call us 'do nothing,'" outgoing Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-I See Nothing) said. "After all, we got a war going badly, the Constitution's a shambles, the deficit's through the roof, the gulf coast is still a third world country and we've thrown a whole generation in a donut hole. If that's nothing, then I'm a fat old has been with attention deficit disorder. Wait, let me rephrase that."

Hoyer said members need to spend more time in the Capitol to avoid voters and interfere with federal agencies. "We are going to meet sufficient times, so the committees can do their jobs on behalf of our lobbyists," A reporter asked if it wasn't better for the country to keep Congress away from the legislative apparatus.

"Look, do you really want politicians wandering around your neighborhood with nothing to do?" Hoyer asked. "Do you really want them that close to your loved ones?"

"Keeping us up here eats away at families," said Representative Kingston. When asked why he couldn't move his family to the Washington area he replied, "Right. Like I want my wife up here where she can...I mean school, my kids' school would suffer."

"It's long overdue," said Representative Mike Thompson (D-Newbie) "I didn't come here to turn around and go back home. Especially with all those bench warrants still out."

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