“Make America Great Again.” This was the campaign slogan for President Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. His new slogan? “Make Congress Work Again.” The White House has partnered with former Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina and several other conservative leaders in an effort to make Congress work more than the typical two and a half day work week they currently enjoy.
Why the call for Congress to work more? Because they’re historically unproductive. According to AFA Action, the U.S. Senate has slow-walked more nominees than the last four presidents combined. Slow-walked meaning that both Democrats and Republicans have used historically rare maneuvers to block and delay President Trump’s nominees.
In addition to not confirming many nominees, Congress has failed to pass the appropriate budget measures in time. Each fiscal year, both the House and Senate are supposed to pass 12 separate appropriation bills which fund various parts of the federal government. For the past twenty-plus years, Congress has failed to pass all 12 of these bills on time. This has left Congress scrambling every few months to pass temporary and bloated spending bills. Many of these bills are over one thousand pages and lawmakers have under 24 or 48 hours to read what is in the bill before voting on them.
It would be one thing if Congress worked overtime to fix our country’s problems but simply ran out of time. But Congress is working an average of two and a half days a week and getting little done. Many people don’t know that lawmakers often spend Monday flying into Washington. They then work on Tuesday, Wednesday and half of Thursday. After lunch on Thursday they are back on a plane headed home for a three or four day weekend. Meanwhile, the American people are working 40, 50, and 60 hours a week barely getting by.
This is unacceptable especially since it is occurring under a Republican-led Congress. Yes, Republicans are responsible for the lack of progress. Are Democrats doing their fair share of obstruction? Of course, but at the end of the day, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) decide how many days Congress will work or in this case, not work.
The effort called Make Congress Work Again is urging Congress to get back to work until the job is done. Specifically, the pledge reads,
We the undersigned are sick & tired of secret bills that nobody reads, obstruction of Presidential nominations, reckless special interest spending and debt, constant government shutdown drama, and too many vacations with too little work. Congress should delay August recess until government funding legislation has been openly debated in the House and Senate with a full opportunity for votes on amendments, and is approved by both houses and sent to the President, and the Senate should delay August recess until sufficient progress has been made confirming the President’s nominees.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s time for Congress to get to work.