97°F
weather icon Clear

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?

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Inflation fueled by rising oil costs

What do the rising price of meat products, dairy products, vegetables, cereal and nearly everything in the hardware store, including lumber, have in common? Oil. A barrel of oil is refined into diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and aviation gas. It is utilized in manufacturing plastics, synthetic materials, asphalt, lubricants, roofing, trash bags and the list goes on. Therefore, when the cost of a barrel of oil increases, the cost of goods increases through the manufacturing or the delivery of these products.

Pipeline might save drought-ridden West

I was first introduced to Lake Mead in the summer of 1968 when my father took a job in Henderson, moving us from Long Beach, California. His boss took us to the boat ramp of the Las Vegas Wash, about 10 miles from Henderson. I spent my freshman and sophomore years at Basic High School, which is now Burkholder Middle School.

Call issued for common-sense gun laws

I had a very different column planned for this month, something light, about summer activities. Then on the day of this writing, May 24, 2022, a young man in Uvalde, Texas, took the lives of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School. My other piece went completely out the window because I knew I needed to write about this. I am the mother of two young children, and I am terrified.

River compact needs re-evaluation

We live in Boulder City, the city that built Hoover Dam. The Boulder Canyon Project Act was the legislation creating Boulder City as well as Boulder Dam. It is located in Black Canyon adjacent to Boulder City, Nevada. The dam is now called Hoover Dam. Life is like that, isn’t it? We have our desires along with reality, don’t we?

Waste not, want not

In July 2017, Boulder City received some really great news that I wanted to share. The Southern Nevada Health District had just approved our latest landfill expansion, the second one that I helped to obtain while serving on SNHD’s board.

It’s voting time

Nevada’s 2022 primary election day is just more than two weeks away, but voting has begun. Early voting started Saturday, and mail ballots were sent May 25 to every Nevada active registered voter.

Cheers to Johnny

My bio references “another lifetime” and being a working comedian. Today I feel moved to share with you the inspiration behind working stand-up and an important anniversary just passed.

Goodbye never easy to say

Goodbyes are hard.