GOP Lawmaker's Bill Would Require Congress To Work 40 Hours A Week

| by Meg O'Connor
President Barack Obama speaks to a joint session of Congress regarding health care reformPresident Barack Obama speaks to a joint session of Congress regarding health care reform

Republican Rep. David Jolly of Florida has introduced a bill to that would require House lawmakers to work at least 40 hours a week while in Washington D.C., in an attempt to make the House of Representatives' schedule more similar to the typical American workweek.

In a press release, Jolly (who is running for Senate) said "the current congressional calendar is clearly not producing results and the American people rightfully expect their elected officials to work around the clock to tackle the nation's problems."

“This ‘try-nothing’ Congress needs a reality check," he continued. "A work week in Washington should be no different than a work week in every other town across the nation."

According to the press release, over the past twenty years, on average, the House has been in session for 137 days each year, while the typical American worker (forty hours a week over five days) goes to work 241 days a year.

While the average American works a 9-5 schedule, according to The Hill, during a typical Washington workweek, House members go to work on Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. to vote, and leave to return to their districts by early afternoon on Thursday. Jolly is calling for a year-round 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. workweek for lawmakers.

“Americans are sick and tired of Washington inaction. They expect their leaders to govern. Look at all the bills gathering dust while Congress braces for the next self-made calamity," Jolly went on in his press release, "Let’s give voice to the people on issues like border security, transportation, a budget that finally balances. The frustration is not that we haven’t achieved these things, it’s that we haven’t even engaged in a legislative fight to begin to advance the agenda that is right for the American people."

Last year, in a letter to the House Rules Committee, Congressman Jolly urged lawmakers to change the congressional calendar, saying that the, "extent of the national and global issues we face today, more than ever before, require great deliberation, robust debate, moments of conviction, and decisive action on our part. The ‘People’s House’ simply cannot address the many priorities of the nation if we are not in session more days.”

Sources: Sun Times National, WFLA, The Hill

Photo credit: Lawrence Jackson/Wikipedia