As soon as Congress returned from a five-week recess on Monday, Capitol Hill talk immediately turned to taking more time off, starting with senators on Friday, finds Grumpy Editor.
Such action --- or inaction --- underscores why taxpayers give the lawmakers a record-low approval rating.
Senators are the most eager to get more free time, some to campaign in their home states, and return after the Nov. 6 elections. Party leaders would like to depart again on Friday, says Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), majority whip.
However, senators face action on a six-month stopgap measure to keep the federal government operating after Oct. 1.
Also eager to finish business early is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.).
But he is not giving a target date, although “the word is out” (as Reid likes to say), that Senate offices have been alerted unofficially that they would recess at the end of this week.
The House is scheduled to leave for recess at the end of next week and return for a few more days in October.
Some lawmakers want Congress to stay in session to finalize action on a multiyear farm bill.
Members of Congress “need to show they’re doing their job,” says Ross K. Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University.
An August Gallup poll finds only one in 10 Americans approves the work Congress is doing. That record low compares with 84 percent in 2002.