Saturday, January 20, 2007
What happened to Reid's five-day work week?
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Just three weeks into the new congressional session, Democratic leaders who had promised to restore a five day work week to the Senate gave members Friday off and didn't schedule another vote until mid-day Tuesday -- effectively giving many senators a four day weekend.
The week was further shortened because the Senate was closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. The light schedule is in sharp contrast to a vow Democratic Leader Harry Reid made to CNN's Dana Bash in an interview late last month in Nevada that Democrats would shake up the status quo when they took control of the chamber in January.
"We in the Senate are going to work like everyone else in American does: five days." he said. "We have to set a better example."
Reid had threatened to keep the Senate in session through the weekend if necessary to finish its major legislative work this week, a bill overhauling lobbying and ethics rules.
"After successful negotiations to complete action on historic lobbying and ethics reform legislation last night, he agreed not to be in session Friday," explained Reid's spokesman Jim Manley.
Although there will be no votes Monday, debate is scheduled to begin on a bill to increase the minimum wage. But Senate veterans know all too well few senators return to Washington on Mondays when there are no votes.
That didn't stop the Democratic leadership from reiterating its threat to make senators actually work five days a week.
"Members need to know that we're going to have votes on Mondays and Fridays a lot more often than we have in the past," Manley said.
-- CNN Congressional Correspondent Ted Barrett
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