Congress at work on creating invisible Fridays

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 28, 2011

Scripps Howard News Service
OK, maybe this theory is a conspiracy too far, but Congress seems bent on abolishing Friday, at least in the sense of it being the last workday before the weekend.
According to the Congress-watching newspaper The Hill, the Senate has voted on only three Fridays this year, meaning that in the weeks ó and there arenít many of them ó the senators are in town, their weekends begin on Thursday, much like many colleges, but without the technical requirement of attending class on Friday.
Those workaholics over in the House have voted on 18 Fridays so far this year.
According to The Hill, ěThe high points for Friday in both chambers was in July, when the Senate voted on two Fridays and the House voted on four out of a possible five.î
Neither party plans to sustain that brutal pace next year. After all, it is an election year, and the solons can be expected to do only so much of the peopleís business when they have to campaign and raise money for the privilege of doing so.
The Senate plans to be in session 23 weeks next year, but hasnít spelled out which days of those weeks it will be actually working. Itís a safe bet that not many of them will be Friday.
The 2012 House schedule is a little more complicated, if not any more onerous.
The House will be at work on 15 Fridays in 2012, plus another Friday devoted to an ěissues conference.î The schedule says the members will be out of there by 1 p.m. most Fridays, 3 p.m. at the latest. There will be 52 Fridays in 2012, so at least the members will have long weekends 70 percent of the time, not what you might call a killing pace.
If our lawmakers were French, they would declare Friday a holiday for everyone, not just themselves. The House Republicans could justify it the way the French politicians did: as a job-creation measure. Somebody has to work Fridays.

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