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Posted about 5 years ago
THE NEXT TIME your boss asks you to turn in your time sheet, or says you forgot to punch in, say, "Hey, I don't have to. Congress doesn't."
How do you think your boss would react? Face red? Fist clenched? Maybe a couple of words of profanity coming from pursed lips?
Of course, the boss would have every right to react that way, if you, the employee, refused to account for your time. Yet every day, members of Congress do . . . what? We simply don't know, because unlike the rest of the working world, they refuse to disclose how they spend their time to the ones who pay their salaries - namely you. Your tax dollars are what lines their pockets with healthy six-figure salaries. But do you really know what your money is paying for?
Two members of Congress are seeking to change the way their offices do business, bringing them in line with the rest of the working world. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) are putting their daily schedules on their website so all of their bosses can see what they do all day. For example, according to Tester's site, I can tell you that on Feb. 6, Tester met with the secretary of the Air Force, the Dried Pea and Lentil Council, and Tom and Peggy Oates of Billings. Nothing earth-shattering there. But, if I were from Montana, it would be reassuring to know what Tester is doing, since I pay his salary.
The congressional promised to work five days a week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have rankled many lawmakers who were used to long weekends at home or so they say.
But while it will ultimately be hugely beneficial to have our lawmakers in Washington more often to work on legislation, there is a "danger". That's a whole lot more time for lobbyists and special interests to get meetings. Thus it's even more important for us to know what schedules our lawmakers keep, so we know exactly who'is bending their ear.
Placing daily schedules on the Internet is the brainchild of the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit in Washington created to increase transparency in Congress. Through their Punchclock Campaign, they persuaded over 90 challengers for Congress to promise to post their schedules if elected. Not a single incumbent would sign the agreement.
But maybe Sunlight is being too nice. Maybe it's about time that those of us who employ Congress demand they tell us what they do every day during official hours.
We don't need to know when they get a haircut, or when they visit their moms. (Our bosses don't have the right to know that about us.) But until members start to post their schedules, let's call them every day and ask their staffs to tell us over the phone, or e-mail the schedule to us. If they still refuse to tell tell their bosses their schedules, then let's commit to fire their butts when they come up for re-election.
Just like in the real world, sometimes things don't get done until the boss becomes a real pain in the butt.
Call your Washington representatives and ask them to see what they do all day. It is amazing to me that those people who are supposed to be working for us on the Hill think they are so entitled that they do not need to answer to their bosses, the American people who pay their salaries.
Redneck I is...but bigot I taint!