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Congress appears to be absent

This is what I have observed from a number of open sources regarding congressional sessions.

We have or should have been taught that the United States government is divided into three branches: the legislative branch, the executive branch and the judicial branch. Each branch has a different duty, but all three branches must work together.

It is the legislative branch that makes the laws and thus approves the annual federal budget and recommends the appropriations. The U.S. Congress, composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives, handles that chore in America, but where are they?

According to available records, the House of Representatives has averaged 146.7 “legislative days” a year since 2001. That’s about one day of work every two and a half days. The Senate, on the other hand, was in session an average of 165 days a year over the same time period. If those numbers seems a “bit” low, that’s because the average American spends about 250 days out of the year in their workplaces.

Members try to convince us that the changes to the House schedule implemented in 2011 allow them to spend more time with constituents. The leadership significantly increased the number of recesses from five to 13 in 2011, and it scheduled 11 recesses in 2012 and 11 recesses in 2013. The number of Mondays through Fridays available for district events grew exponentially. Did ya see ‘em? If you don’t give them money, you seldom if ever hear from them at all.

Some members of Congress fill their time back in the district or state. Of course, their transportation is paid for by taxpayers and many are accompanied by staff and publicly paid for security details. They maintain that they are conducting tours of businesses, meeting with constituent groups and interacting with local officials.

Others seem to dismiss those interactions as having no purpose and simply languish at home with families and friends for days on end, while being covered by a different health plan than the rest of us, always getting paid and looking forward to their endless retirement benefits.

Note: Of course, nearly every member of Congress has multiple retirement plans and their defined benefits are not negatively impacted by stock market recessions. Congress also has the unique position of determining its own benefits without having to worry about turning a profit. A private company may have to freeze its pension plan or perform a buyout if it experiences balance sheet problems, but the U.S. Congress must only appropriate more of our tax dollars.

Isn’t it funny how nearly two-thirds (62 percent) report that the new schedule has allowed them to spend more time with their families. Is this what they were elected to do or were they elected to represent us and to establish the laws of the land?

Many Nevadans are currently unemployed and many businesses are struggling to determine what the future may bring, if there is to be a future. Congress, where are you?

Not on my turf

In early April, the City Council heard a presentation by Lage Design about staff’s recommended option to remove 35% of the turf at the Boulder City Municipal Golf Course.

I-11 is NOT the Autobahn

When the I-11 highway opened almost six years ago, it alleviated much of the heavy traffic congestion through Boulder City. But this beautiful expanse of open road brought with it a sense that “opening up” and putting the pedal to the metal is OK. It’s not.

New law shapes golf course design

I like golf. While I was in college, I decided to take a class in golf – you could call it a “golf course” course. I figured it would be a great way to relax, enjoy nature, and (maybe) boost my grade point average at the same time! For a semester, I learned the basics: how to drive, chip, putt. It was enjoyable. Many of my classmates that semester had been golfing for years. They were better than me, but I was determined to get a good grade out of the class.

The art of communication in consciousness

For Memorial Day I am exploring human consciousness with you. Many misunderstandings have been fought over the lack of a mutual perspective among the parties involved. What better gift is there than one that assists in the art of communication? My work in formulating the discipline of Aquarian Theosophy has led me to the following understanding of humanities’ reality; consciousness is the basis of understanding.

Alumni events, marriage and a real Nazi

Ron’s column from a few weeks ago inspired me to tell a story about a weird event from my past. Mine is not as exciting as his in that there is no wrestler named Silo Sam. But there is at least one Nazi. And, no, not the current “I disagree with your politics so you are a Nazi” version. An actual card-carrying member of the party.

Las Vegas Veterans’ Memorial to Boulder City?

Veterans’ memorials can be found all over the Silver State. They are well deserved. They honor individuals who served the nation, and also commemorate battles and events regarding the many military anniversaries in Nevada.

City manager bids fond farewell

I may be leaving Boulder City, but it was not an easy decision. From the first time I came in and met the staff and community leaders, I saw a city filled with people who truly care about where they live and work. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with some incredible people.

Is the grass always greener?

Many people in the past played a golf game to cement a business deal, didn’t they? They also played golf to socialize. Has Boulder City recognized lessening play on golf courses? Or, from another perspective, what happens when million-dollar homes are placed around our open space golf course with views of the McCullough Mountains? Do fewer people play golf on the Boulder Creek golf course?