Apparently, lawmakers were wiped out by their rigorous 126-day work year in 2013. The 2014 calendar for the GOP-led House of Representatives has been posted by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and members will now only need to show up 113 days — less than one-third of the year.
Meanwhile, the average 40-hour-a-week American employee must work about double that.
The reason for the lightened 2014 workload? Politicians need to get out there and try to secure their jobs for midterm elections. And for some members of the highly unpopular House, wooing the public will indeed take a grand effort. But how is campaigning more important than running a country — and shouldn’t they be in office actually accomplishing things to brag about on the campaign trail?
In fact, 2013 has seen the least productive Congress in modern history, according to a Huffington Post analysis of data from GovTrak. Only 15 bills have been signed into law so far this year, the lowest number since the 1940s.
In a joint Washington Post op-ed by Norm Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute and Thomas Mann of the more liberal Brookings Institution, the GOP took the lion’s share of the blame for government impotency.
The piece read: “We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.”
Of course, if lawmakers can’t accomplish anything in their days in session, it doesn’t much matter how often they show up.