Washington Watchdog: Congress Takes Another Vacation While Nation’s Business Awaits

Aug 2, 2013 5:50pm

There was a mad dash in Washington today: members of Congress streaming out of the Capitol, grabbing their bags and heading to the airport for a five-week vacation.

They left without passing some big pieces of the country’s business, including a budget.

Some citizens vacationing in the nation’s capitol said they can’t believe it.

“When you are at work, you are working until you are all done, then you go on vacation,” Bernadette Simmons said.

“If I don’t have my budget together in my own household, I can’t go on vacation,” Wayne Valaris of San Francisco said.

“I think five weeks is a little excessive for them, with so much of what they have to do,” Caroline Eliss of Arizona said. “The average working man gets two weeks vacation. That’s more than enough.”

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(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Once they return, the House will have just nine working days before the end of the budget year, and the Senate, just a few more.

“Oh, my goodness, the amount of stuff, the list of important things that need to be done in this Congress, it is as long as my arm,” Vice President Leslie Paige of Citizens Against Government Waste said.

“You know, summer vacation is not their only vacation. They get Mondays and Fridays off, they get recess throughout the year.”

So far this year, the Senate has met only 96 working days. They were out of session for 53 days. The House worked 102 days and was out 47. The worry is that the United States is headed for another “fiscal cliff.”

“There should be no vacation for these guys,” Paige said. “For every day that they are on vacation this summer, $2.2 billion is being added to the national debt. I mean that is a crisis.”

ABC News tried to talk to talk to several members but none wanted to stop and talk about their paid five weeks away from Washington, which totals nearly $9 million in salary.

Even when their leaders talk, they can’t agree on their ability to get their work done after vacation.

“We disagree, we have nine days left,” Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said.

“We’ll have ample time to get our work down,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

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