Specter on the Senate's Workload:

From Robert Novak's latest column:

Sen. Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, last Monday delivered an unusually candid assessment of the Senate's notoriously light work schedule.

In a National Press Club luncheon speech, Specter noted it was "very hard to convene a Monday morning hearing" because of extended weekends. He continued: "We've fallen into a routine . . . of starting our workweek Tuesday at 2:15 after we finish our caucus luncheons, and people start to get edgy and heading for the airports early on Thursday. So we might increase the workweek by 50 percent, say, to three days."

Realizing it was highly unusual for a senior senator to talk so frankly of the chamber's work habits, Specter quickly added with a smile: "By the way, that's off the record." The speech was broadcast live on C-SPAN.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Assessing the 109th Congress:
  2. Specter on the Senate's Workload:
  3. A "Do-Nothing" Senate?
rho (www):
Government working slow and/or not at all? Sounds like a good thing.
10.1.2006 10:55am
Oren Elrad (mail):
He's a committee chairman! Schedule a hearing about the NSA bill for Monday, 11AM and if you aren't there to vote on it, nuts to you.
10.1.2006 12:36pm
Reminds me of David Brinkley's memoirs. In it he mentioned that Air Conditioning of the Capitol Building caused Congress to stay in session longer, where before they all escaped D.C.'s summer heat and humidity. I believe he hinted the big government got bigger becuase Congress was in session longer. So if it turns out Congress has gotten lazier and legislates less.....
10.1.2006 12:45pm
Cornellian (mail):
I think the Senate doing less is, on balance, a good thing. I just don't like to see them get a week's pay for 3 days work.
10.1.2006 2:06pm
David Maquera (mail) (www):
My initial inclination is to agree with Cornellian. However, if a Senator spends his/her time meeting with constituents the remaining days of the week, then the Senator is still "working." I think everyones' common gripe about the Senate is that the Senate appears to be neglecting, if not exacerbating, long-term problems such as Social Security, Medicare, servicing the national debt, national security, immigration, etc.
10.1.2006 4:44pm
Wikstrom (mail):
Get real... Congressmen don't even read the text of the vast legislation they impose on us -- so their clock time spent warming-of-chairs on Capitol Hill is a trivial concern.

Senators work very hard pursuing their own self-interest {fund-raising, luxury junkets, etc} ... not that of the citizenry -- that's the problem.

Quality, not Quantity is the measure.
10.1.2006 5:28pm
Remember to account for the makeup (or embalming) requirements that some of our older Senators have to look presentable. It's gotta take time.
10.1.2006 10:48pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
David Maquera has the same reaction that I did: even assuming that we want senators to be doing more -- a questionable assumption -- why is it that only holding hearings or voting counts as "working"?

How about studying the issues? (hahahahaha -- I made a funny) Constituent services? Meeting experts in non-scripted-televised-hearing formats? Etc.
10.2.2006 3:30am
Anderson (mail) (www):
So, of course, the Senate had to move at top speed to get that habeas-stripping torture-redefining bill passed ... so much work to do.
10.2.2006 1:23pm
M.E.Butler (mail):
All those pages.

So little time.
10.2.2006 5:18pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
When zero is in the numerator, does it really matter how many days you put into the denominator?
10.3.2006 5:45pm