Like most Americans, members of the House are expected to report promptly — no excuses — when summoned by their bosses for the start of another workweek. One difference: For lawmakers, starting time doesn’t come until about 6:30 Tuesday evening.
After taking control of the House in 2006 — and again when President Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 — Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) boasted that lawmakers would work four or five days a week to bring change to America.
But midway through Obama’s first year in office, Hoyer’s House has settled into a more leisurely routine. Members usually arrive for the first vote of the week as the sun sets on Tuesdays, and they’re usually headed back home before it goes down again on Thursdays.
Since the House returned for its fall session on Sept. 8, it has stuck around to vote on a Friday just once: to approve a 5.8 percent increase in Congress’s own budget.
A Democratic leadership aide vehemently defended the schedule, saying members shouldn’t be kept in Washington for four or five days when work can be completed in fewer.