Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 7, 2012

Editorial: Time away from the office


---- — If you're like most Americans you'd probably like to have a few more paid vacation days to get you through this great summer and the end-of-year holidays.

Well, here's your answer — run for Congress.

Lawmakers headed home last week for a nice five-week break, though most of them, in truth, were likely heading for the campaign trail. Congress has already taken nine weeks off this year, and the House will likely take another six weeks before the end of the year.

And it's not as if they're taking their work home with them, judging from the long list of jobs left undone.

n No relief for the vast majority of the nation's farmers in the year the drought. The only ones who got assistance were livestock producers and tree farmers.

n Senate Republicans were filibustering a bipartisan cybersecurity bill.

n The House abandoned a one-year extension of food and farm policy.

n The U.S. Postal Service remains uncertain whether it will get help or become insolvent.

n And Congress will return in September for what will likely be an abbreviated pre-election session with two big items on the agenda: A six-month spending bill to keep the government running through March (not one of the 13 must-pass spending bills has been completed and the new budget year begins Oct. 1); and farm subsidies and food stamps that expires Sept. 30.

There's a downside to being an incumbent, though; a CBS News and The New York Times poll last month found Congress with a 12 percent approval rating and 79 percent disapproval score.

But at least you get a lot of time off.