Thursday, May 03, 2007


Iraqi Parliament Wants To Take Summer Break; US Congress Outraged

Sorry, but this just made me laugh...
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawmakers divided over whether to keep U.S. troops in Iraq are finding common ground on at least one topic: They are furious that Iraqi politicians are considering a lengthy break this summer.

"If they go off on vacation for two months while our troops fight -- that would be the outrage of outrages," said Rep. Chris Shays, R-Connecticut.
Keep your shirt on, Congressman Shays.

Granted, nobody likes to work hard while the person next to you is goofing off. And I can easily see how Congressional Republicans, smarting under accusations from Democrats that it's past time for Iraq to stand on its own (without US troops, that is), might resent Iraqi leaders taking a long break.

But for goodness' sake, people! Where do you think they learned this? Who, exactly, do you think their role models were?

As Bill Gresham reputedly used to say, let's take a look at the record. In 2006, the U.S. Congress (House and Senate) were in session for 104 days. That's less than 21 work-weeks! (By way of comparison, my company allows me four weeks' paid vacation per year, plus 10 national holidays off. In other words, I only need to work 46 weeks per year, which comes to 230 working days.)

Now, mind you, 2006 was a mid-term election year, so perhaps that's an unfair example. How about previous years?

2006: 104 days
2005: 122 days
2004: 110 days
2003: 138 days
2002: 126 days
2001: 146 days
2000: 139 days
1999: 139 days
1998: 119 days
1997: 134 days

(My source for all these numbers was the link above, at the Library of Congress website. I trust their figures.)

It does look as though election years see a lighter schedule for our dear Congresscritters. (In all fairness to them, campaigning for reelection is part of the job.) Nonetheless, the heaviest schedule they've had in the past ten years was 2001... and that wasn't even two-thirds of the schedule I'm supposed to keep.

And now Congress is in an uproar because the Iraqi Parliament wants to take nine weeks off?? They could do that, and then take an additional thirteen weeks off... and still be ahead of the best year we've had on Capitol Hill in the past decade.

We have issues aplenty to get worked up about, particularly concerning Iraq. This isn't one of them.

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