This is an article by Robert Shrum, saying Congress shouldn’t take a break this August, with the economy and everything else going on.
First of all, this would be another empty gesture of fake populism. Congressmen are in an elite position, and the way to handle an elite position is 1) do the work and 2) don’t bring attention to the elite position. Apologizing for being a Congressmen is counterproductively immodest at best.
Second, it’s an annual recess. It’s part of how Congress works. It seems myopic to start tinkering with the procedural system without a clear, specific purpose. Third, my understanding of Congress is that they work and campaign all the time, regardless of whether they’re in Washington. August is the thick of the campaign season, so they’re not going to be relaxing. Fourth, President Obama can call a special session of Congress, and the GOP can’t get in the way if he does.
It seems like Shrum’s real reason is that the Democrats are in trouble right now, and they’d rather do some extra credit work than face voters. But, he admits that even Democrats say there is nothing to do. Plus, Congress as a whole is extremely unpopular right now. The problem is bigger than the GOP blocking Democrats (and I can’t stand the GOP right now). I’m in the majority when I say that most of Congress is bad. Not only are they unpopular, they’re not very effective, period. So, I don’t think a special session would result in good quality or good quantity of Congressional output.
The most productive, healthy and democratic thing Congress can do right now is face the voters. Maybe Congress can convince the voters, or voters convince Congress, but one of those things needs to happen soon. Otherwise, voters will be the big obstructionists when they send a lot of these Congressmen home after the election.