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BLITZER’S BLOG: Congress flees Washington
August 2nd, 2011
04:41 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Congress flees Washington

Washington (CNN) - It didn’t take very long for the House of Representatives to get out of Dodge. Within minutes of passing the debt ceiling legislation Monday night, they adjourned until Sept. 7. The August-plus-a-week-of-September recess has begun. Those members who could still get out of Washington Monday night bolted to Reagan National, Dulles or Baltimore/Washington Airport. The others waited until Tuesday.

Now that the Senate has passed the legislation, the senators are doing the exact same thing – rushing to get out of Washington for five weeks.

Critics will suggest that these members are simply going on vacation at taxpayers’ expense. My own sense is that that the across-the-board criticism is unfair.

Senators and representatives point out – accurately - that they are heading to their districts and states to meet with their constituents and handle local business. They will hold town hall meetings and try to appreciate the pulse of their communities.

The controversy arises when they start taking trips.

Some members will engage in what they call “fact-finding missions,” or what their critics charge are simply “junkets.”

Having covered these trips over the years, I can tell you both sides have a point.

There are missions and junkets.

A fact-finding mission is when a congressional delegation, or CODEL, as they’re called, goes to Iraq or Afghanistan to get an eye-witness account of what’s going on. They meet with troops and local government leaders. These missions often are dangerous and certainly not glamorous.

A junket is when these members go to London, Paris, or some wonderful island in the Caribbean for a conference sponsored by some non-governmental agency or think tank. They stay at beautiful hotels or resorts and can bring their spouses; all expenses are paid.

You get my point.

In any case, for those of us who live in the DC area, this nation’s capital – at least for the next five weeks - won’t be the same without them.

RELATED STORY: Obama signs debt ceiling bill, ends crisis

Post by:
Filed under: Congress • Debt • Washington • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. Andi

    These goons can stay gone with the excepton of Gabby Giffords. All about JOBS huh? And thousands that work for the FAA are in limbo not knowing when they are going back to work. These people are soooooo out of touch. 2012 can't get her fast enough.

    August 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  2. Amram Hassan

    I think that it's up to us all to vote these so called politicians out of office at the next election!

    August 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  3. Mary

    Congress committed a betrayal of trust as they did an overt act to undermine the full faith and credit of the U.S. which is TREASON, when they held the American economy hostage during the debt ceiling fiasco. I do not think they should get paid until fully investigated! That might bring em back and get the FAA situation settled and get legislation worked on that the President has sent them. This is all a ploy by the Tea Party Terrorists to undermine the President coming into the 2012 election cycle. Congress does not care that their tactics to defeat the President effects all of us.

    August 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  4. Josh from Maryland

    We do need term limits – but we already have them. They are called ELECTIONS.
    You want to vote EVERYONE out? You can't You can only decide if you want YOUR representative and senators to stay in Congress. If you like them, you keep them, but if you like them, you can be sure that someone in some other district will say to throw him out.
    We criticize Congress for not talking to constitutents, and then we criticize them for having time to talk to their constituents.
    Want Congress in DC full time? Congress used to spend 1 month in DC, and the rest of the year at home. Agree with what they do or not, Congress is spending more time working in DC than they ever have in the past.

    You cannot fire those you elect because you disagree with them. You can only vote them out, when the next election comes around.
    You want a new candidate? YOU can pick one. YOU can be one. But if you don't help in that choice, you really don't have a right to criticize the outcome.

    August 3, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  5. Beverly Murphy

    Well they are closed now BUT they will be back in time to get their next break for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Isn't everyone sick of being taken advantage of? I assure you, they are not concerned about how people feel. They have what they want, they never work, and never pay for a thing. If we paid them minimum wage they would still come out ahead.

    August 3, 2011 at 5:27 am |
  6. keeth

    Thanks for screwing the FAA, punching another $1.2 billion hole in the nation's finances, and laying off 4,000 workers.

    August 2, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • barbwalter2

      ...and laying off 70,000 construction workers when they halted airport projects.

      August 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  7. Leon

    This article, written by Charlie Reese a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper, it says it all.

    Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and
    then campaign against them.

    Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans
    are against deficits, we have deficits?

    Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against
    inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

    You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.

    You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on
    appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

    You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

    You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

    One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme
    Court justices 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly,
    legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic
    problems that plague this country.

    I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that
    problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its
    Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally
    chartered, but private, central bank.

    I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason.

    They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing.

    I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash.

    The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

    Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that
    what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con
    regardless of party.

    What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive
    amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

    The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole
    responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and
    approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House?

    She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members,
    not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president
    vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

    It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not
    replace 545 people who stand convicted - by present facts - of
    incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic
    problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you
    fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the
    federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they
    want to exist.

    If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

    If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

    If the Marines are in IRAQ , it's because they want them in IRAQ .

    If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement
    plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

    There are no insoluble government problems.

    Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they
    hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and
    advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to
    regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical
    forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them
    from doing what they take an oath to do. Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

    They, and they alone, have the power.

    They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are
    their bosses provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

    We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

    What you do with this article now that you have read it is up to you,
    though you appear to have several choices.

    1. You can send this to everyone in your address book, and hope they do something about it.

    2. You can agree to vote against everyone that is currently in office,
    knowing that the process will take several years.

    3. You can decide to run for office yourself and agree to do the job

    4. Lastly, you can sit back and do nothing, or re-elect the current

    August 2, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • LouAz

      C'mon, Leon, don't hold back, tell us what you really think !
      Nice reasonable list. Too bad so many will never even think about such things, and VOTE !

      August 3, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • LouAz

      Oh, slight correction. There are 435 Representatives, and 100 Senators, thus the Gang of 535 (not 545).

      August 3, 2011 at 2:25 am |
      • LouAz

        Sorry, I reread it and whenyou include the POTUS and the nine SCOTUS your arithmetic is dead on – 545.

        August 3, 2011 at 2:27 am |
    • Andi

      Finally, a voice of reason. You running for office by the way. You got my vote.

      August 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  8. Aaron

    Scurrying like cockroaches when the lights come on, the lot of them. At least they won't be around to create more disasters than stall fixing the disasters they've caused and making them even worse when they stop stalling.

    August 2, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
  9. ARTraveler

    Why don't they just meet two weeks a year. They don't do anything until the last minute so save us all of the theater and with the reduced work schedule, they are now part-time so they won't get medical and retirement benefits per the policies of their friends at the Chamber of Commerce. Too bad we didn't have the FAA shut down the whole system at noon yesterday so they could hitch a ride home with some real Americans who would give them an earful.

    August 2, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  10. Gemini Girl

    "The rich are getting richer now than they have ever been in American history, and taking home a larger slice of American total income since 1928." (Robert Reich)
    In December when the 10-year Bush tax cuts were about to expire, Obama wanted to extend them only for the middle class. Well, McConnell and his people held out for ranson (sound familiar?) that the only way he would agree would be to continue the tax cuts for the wealthy....and so 800 billion was added to the deficit. I HOPE that by the time fall rolls around and the Republicans again want to protect their kind, the President gets a backbone!! McConnell has already stated that he and Boehner plan to put 6 people in the "super-duper" Committee only people that will insist on no tax cuts! Mr. President, the clock is ticking....tick-tock, tick-tock...

    August 2, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  11. Gemini Girl

    SO, Boehner says he is happy that he supposedly got 98 percent of what he wanted! Well, the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute estimated today that the debt deal signed into law today will directly cut 323,000 jobs from the economy (due to the discretionary cuts). So Boehner and Tea Party should be dancing in the streets! I hope all of us Americans, who historically have short-term memory, will remember this in 2012. You will never hear this on Faux News. It took Rachel Maddow to say this today on her cable show. Welcome back, Rachel!!

    August 2, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  12. Dominic K Dadzie

    Isn't it a big shame on the part of Senators and House Reps to sell the country they cliam they love so much in this way. They are elected to serve and do a job in a very matured and civil way without what we just saw before a compromise. If they feel, they can not delibrate in a very polite way with good results to the people they always claim they are serving, then they should resind their post. Thank you.

    August 2, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  13. Nate

    Wolf, I am an FAA contractor who found out yesterday I will not get paid for a whole month while these bozos go home. It must be nice to take a vacation while 4,000 FAA employees wonder how to pay the bills for the next month. Also has a ripple effect as thousands of construction workers and contractors (working on FAA projects) are also out of a job. It must be really nice to give us the shaft. Shame on them. Hope god is watching....

    August 2, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  14. One4Wisdom

    The Super Wealthy got everything they wanted, no questions asked, with the "TARP-Banks-Wall Street-Auto Industry" bailouts. The Super Wealthy got a humongous Welfare Check last December when the Bush Tax Breaks for the Super Wealthy was renewed. And NOW, we are told, they are getting everything they wanted yet again, namely, a complete exemption from having to share in the onerous burden of reducing the deficit, because there's no potential here for a roll-back of their Bush Tax Breaks (Welfare Benefits) for the wealthy.

    The U.S. media refuses to even deem this to be significant, probably because THEY benefit tremendously from those "Welfare for the Wealthy" hand-outs and they surreptitiously silence the issue by shifting focus to the "Default Crisis" – with the curt remark "something for everyone to hate," and with the errant national anthem "pass anything – anything is better than default." Well there's nothing in this plan for the Super Wealthy to "hate." The super wealthy are the only ones being rigorously represented in Congress, in the White House or in the media.

    August 2, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  15. jesseca5

    I believe there is a typo in the Headline. It reads "Congress flees Washington" and I think it should read "Congress fleeces Washington.

    Jesse in Texas

    August 2, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  16. Brian

    Hey, they took care of the rough stuff, now the congressmen and women gotta get out there and tell each of the states they represent that it was the right thing to do.

    Democrats will be doing damage control to win back their supporters, Republicans will be preparing to complain about the debt ceiling bill later this year and claim it's not enough, and the Teabagg...I mean, Tea Partiers will most likely be sitting back, reveling in the fact that they are f***ing this country and everyone in it.

    It's going to be a entertaining five weeks...

    August 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  17. Plexie

    Wolf, you are being way to kind. These clowns collectively almost ran the economy off of a cliff, failed to actually do anything substantive other than kick the can down the road one more time in dealing with an issue that they knew was coming a year ago, and now they take off for 5 weeks and you r best argument you can give ids that this is sort of OK because is that they are not going to London or Paris on the taxpayer's dime. Sorry, please be more objective, truth is they ought to start now on the next set of negotiations because those will go no better than these did.

    August 2, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  18. A keen observer

    Wolf, why are you defending these miscreants taking five weeks off? Most people have to work to deserve a vacation; these jokers just take time off whether they have worked or not. As for fact-finding missions, one must possess the capability of learning to make such a trip worth while. I ask you to name three republicans who have this capability. Bet you can't name one!

    August 2, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  19. Dave

    The country is better off with them on vacation.

    August 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  20. A keen observer

    These lazy bastards don't need a vacation. After their despicable behavior during the debt limit crisis, these clowns should remain in session 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the rest of the year. The republican side of the House is a disgrace to America

    August 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  21. Name*Lower 48

    The one and only thing politicians are concerned about is getting re-elected.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  22. Dave

    These sorry individuals are running back home to try and save their jobs. They are complete failures, cheats, frauds, liers, and thiefs and want their voting block to reelect them. Anyone with a shred of common since will fire their sorry hides in the next available elections.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  23. jay

    Why are you not talking about the senator that called Obama a hatefull word why cover it up

    August 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  24. kate

    I am so filled with dismay and disgust at what the GOP have perpetrated on 98% of the people of this great nation. Let me tell you something you puppets, you slavish corporate butt butterers–its not over. I've talked to thousands of folks. We'll be voting and we'll NEVER forget this day. You to your private jets but I'll work night and day to throw your owned a$$es straight out of office. You don't deserve the American people and we certainly didn't do anything bad enough to deserve YOU.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  25. dukejohns

    The problem with voting them out of office after one term is that they "retire" with full benefits! Some how there should be a way to really FIRE them all...

    August 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  26. Jay G

    Many of the junkets serve important business purposes beyond just serving as nice R&R. For example, senior administration members are often speaking at conferences and engaging the business community and getting its perspective on matters.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
  27. Uthor

    Well, it's understandable. Certainly they must feel like they ought to run and hide. Bad kids!

    August 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  28. Smeagel4T

    I really hope the Republicans love their junkets while they've left 4,000 FAA workers furloughed, tossed tens of thousands of PRIVATE contractors out of work who were serving airpots, the US is losing hundreds of millions in revenue from fee collections, and they have the NERVE to ask airport inspectors to keep working ON THEIR OWN DIME - including PAYING FOR THEIR OWN EXPENSES - until Congress decides to drift back into session. If I was in Congress, I could not leave with a clear conscience until those workers were back to work, and the inspectors were being paid. Apparently Congress could care less.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  29. Dina

    I am working my can off this August and being self-employed, I'm paying 1,400 a month in insurance premiums. Fire these jokers. They did a lousy job, and now they're on a never-earned vacation.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  30. detroit's finest

    Sure wish i could go to work get nothing done then go on a 5 week vacation. Must be nice.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
  31. Gus from CA

    Open opportunity for Obama to make a bushel of recess appointments. Get a director for the Consumer Affairs. Fill the judgeships so badly needed. He owes Congress absolutely no regard. They are incapable of the leadership we need. the President needs to show some forward movement.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  32. Amram Hassan

    Maybe Washington will be able to get something done, now that they are gone. (wishful thinking)

    August 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  33. mejazzbo

    Shouldn't they be seriously working on the fiscal year 2012 budget due Oct 1st, 2011. If I am not mistaken.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  34. ReformAmericaStartingWithWashingtonDC

    Don't let the door hit your arse on the way out! Hope they all have one-way tickets...

    August 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  35. chris taylor


    August 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  36. Debbie

    They are all disgusting. Seeing their smiling faces on the front page this morning made me sick to my stomach. From Obama appointing Jeff Imelt to chair the Economics council when GE didn't pay any taxes in 2010 to the Republicans and their "let them eat cake" mentality. Kathy Gifford - it was certainly heartening to see her back but how many average Americans would be able to afford the care that she received. Democrats, Republicans, none of them have the American people in mind. And now they're on a 5 week vacation. As one reader said - we can only hope they don't come back.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  37. Scott

    Wow, how did this guy get a reporting gig? "the across the board criticism is unfair"???!

    Really Wolfe? We are talking about a group of people who consistently put their personal and party interests above the needs of the country and it's citizens. To the last man and woman, our legislative, judicial and executive branch has shamed us all in the eyes of the founding fathers.

    They are pathetic and their committment to aristocracy, the downfall of all civilizations, is virtually unprecedented with the exception of possibly some early monarchies.

    If our country falls, it will be due to these clowns and there inability to act like reasonably minded people who need to reach agreement in order to advance society. They can't act like spoiled teenagers and lead us to prosperity at the same time.

    We need real leaders. We just don't have any...

    August 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  38. len


    August 2, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  39. Gary

    If Obama was smart he would demand that they come back and start working on job creating bills, pending trade agreements and tax reform, since they wasted so much time bickering about the debt limit.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  40. Jimmy Crack Corn

    At most jobs failure means you're fired. In congress, Failure means you take a vacation and smoke Cuban cigars while the rest of the country blames you for almost destroying it. I should have been a Politician so Im immune to prison.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  41. KC

    Oh the poor dears–they need a vacation because this is the first time they have ever actually worked more than 3 days in a row since they were elected.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  42. joeyjoejuniorshabadoo

    This is the type of democracy the american forces are fighting to bring to the world......and people wonder why there is resistance to it.......before fighting for regime changes across the middle east the USA should take a long hard look in the mirror.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  43. Ray

    Come on people. Did you not read the blog or pay attention to your local congressional representative schedule. Most of them are not going on vacation they are going back to their districts where many of them have office hours, go to events, and meet with the people in their home district. Most put in 70 or 80 hour weeks. You may not like how they vote but most of them work really hard.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  44. jim

    AMERICA SUCKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    August 2, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  45. sameeker

    This is just one recess. They take nearly 4 months off a year. We could only hope that they don't come back. Make them work like everyone else does.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Brian

      One could make a strong argument that coming back to their districts and talking to their constituents qualifies as working.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • jsl123

      Sorry but that would just wear them out!

      August 2, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  46. Johnny B

    Vote all of them out at the next election. Just like the "regular folk", if you are not doing your job, you should be fired. They have forgotten that they work for us, not the other way around so not re-electing them is the best way to say, as Donald Trump says "You're Fired"!.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • oldboldgold

      Time to really clean house. Vote third party.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Tom

      Let's say you vote them all out. What is going to be so great about the people voted in? They will quickly come to appreciate, and take advantage of, the many perks of being a member of Congress.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • mejazzbo

      What in the past year would you suggest legislators work for us?

      August 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • mejazzbo

      (rewind) What happened during the past year that would make you think the members of congress work for us?

      August 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • IamJustSaying

      Thank you. The sooner we make this an american thing not a Dem Vs Rep real change can come. If any normal person did there job like our elected officails did they would have been fired.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • jsl123

      The problem with that is that they will just be replaced by another group of dumb dumbs picked by their partys. We really have no choice!

      August 2, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  47. dew

    they didn't read the bill just like obamacare,it didn't matter what was on the bill they just wanted to go home, and bush is not the pres.washington not the pres. clinton not the pres.carter not the pres. obama the so call pres. so dems listen up obama the so call pres. you all think hes the greatest pres. ever, sorry a pres. works obama don't do nothing but cut people down.if he don't get his way. i didn't vote for obama and i didn't vote for bush, i vote for people who wants to help americans, not people who don't have a clue. like your pres. obama.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Edumacation


      GET ONE.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Syl

      Do you even know what is in the "Obamacare" bill you are complaining about? Do you care if your insurance coverage is taken away because you have cancer and an insurance company decides that you are too expensive to cover? Well that bill that you are complaining about would make sure that did not happen. So maybe you should think about what you are talking about. And while you do not think that Obama is thinking about the people of this country at least he does not want to take away unemployment benefits or education or medical care or social security which is more than I can say for the Tea Party or Republicans who think that the BIG Corporations are going to part with their profits to hire people in the US to work for them.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • MarineDad05


      And you have all the bright ideas, correct?
      All you are is a piece of the usual garbage, trying to spew venom and hate.... you ain't no American!

      August 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  48. scotty

    All the politicians and capitalist pigs will be on vacations in August. That's the reason we work so hard. If you aren't on vacation, you haven't made it!

    August 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  49. Chris

    I'm glad Representatives and Senators meet with constituents in their states and districts, but as a FAA Contractor on unpaid furlough due to Congress' failure to pass a funding appropriation for the FAA (which is in addition leading to a failure to collect millions in taxes), it would have been nice if they could have stayed around for 10 more minutes to pass legislation so I and 4000+ other people could go back to work and earn a paycheck.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Linda

      I thought of this whole FAA mess the moment I read they were all heading out of town. And how? By heading to the nearest airport! I agree with you and feel they should have stayed longer. In fact, I think they should give up their entire time off, work around the clock, and work on JOBS they way they said they would instead of manufacturing a debt crisis. Republicans – WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

      August 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Larry P

      Agree with you wholeheartedly (am I am not connected with the FAA). For them to leave something so important as this unfinished – for whatever reason – is a crime. How may of us can just leave an important project unfinished and not show up to work for 5 weeks?

      August 2, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • edpeters101

      It would have taken more than 10 minutes to fix. There are problems with the FAA and they need to be looked into. But the GOP continues to use "Gestapo" like tactics, instead of learning how to fix the problem(s). Then again, why didn't the DEMs straighten things out when they were in power? To lazy I'm thinking and that's why they are getting their heads handed to them now. They keep bringing boxing gloves to a knife fight...

      August 3, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  50. John B

    Personally I think they should all stay away. Every single one of them...FIRED.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:50 pm |

    Now that the Congress has raised the bar for the level of stupidity, it will be interesting to see how the American people react to the Republicans going to the mat to prevent a tax increase on millionaires and billionaires and the oil companies so that they pay their fair share, whereas the Democrats went to the mat to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for the people who need it most.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • JackofArts

      It's not that they raised the bar of stupidity, but they lowered it in the area of common sense and intelligence, which sadly represents more of this country than not.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Guest

      If you believe the Democrats are friends to you or anyone else, you're an idiot. They are lying politicians just like the Republicans. They just focus their lies to a different segment of society in order to get elected.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • oldboldgold

      Republican Party is moribund. Once it completely sold itself to the Oligarchy... all they have left to sell is FEAR. Vote Republican or the boogeyman will get you... and if you don't believe in the boogeyman, well they can always threaten that no corporation will hire you.

      August 2, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • TakeNoPrisoners

      Went to the mat to protect social security? Over half of the DEMONCRATS voted against the bill you idiot? typical MOVEON.ORG green freeloader

      August 2, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  52. Sergio

    Good reddens, I hope they stay home for good and never comeback; congress should be turn into a museum as a symbol of American failure.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • oldboldgold

      America is not a failure and I'm getting tired of hearing it. A few hundred people created a big drama so that the wealthy would not have to pay taxes... for now. You must be a Republican selling fear and failure to the people.

      August 2, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  53. David, CA

    Never have so many, been paid so much, to do so little.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Tbard

      SO well stated

      August 2, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • oldboldgold

      Oh, they did a LOT. They convinced 98% of the population to give all their money to 2% of the population. I'd say they earned their bribe money.

      August 2, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  54. kahan

    Each and every member of the US Congress needs to be essentially fired. Vote them out of office in the next election!!!

    August 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  55. Knucklehead

    And parts of the FAA are unfunded...unfinished projects sitting...4000 employees on furlough...can't collect the airfare taxes...good idea...take a break.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • oldboldgold

      Congress did not renew the taxes on airline tickets. Some of the airlines are collecting it anyway and keeping it. Some just raised ticket prices to meet the combined number. It is a $3-4 BILLION DAILY WINDFALL to the airlines instead of going into taxes.

      August 2, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • oldboldgold

      That is a $3-4 BILLION PER AIRLINES windfall.

      August 2, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  56. Fred

    Hmmmmm, In that case....can we send them all on REALLYdangerous missions where perhaps the'll never come back?

    August 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  57. John

    I'm so disgusted with Congress. There they go! On a FIVE week recess without doing one thing on jobs. Poor babie..they worked so hard!! NOT! They have totally forgotten about us Americans who need good paying jobs. Yet they still rake in their hefty salaries. This is NOT fair. These S.O.B.s ought to be kept in DC until they do all of the Nations pressing business. Here's a new flash for the members of congress. I don't think your constituents want to see you at home until you've done your job. Stay at work and get some work done like real Americans have to do. You all are sorry excuses for "respresentatives". You represent NOTHING except your own pockets.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • oldboldgold

      The Republicans spent the last month trying to push through a law making it ILLEGAL for the federal govt to require Federal Contractors to disclose poliitcal contributions. They failed twice, but bet they keep after it when they get back.

      August 2, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  58. Oldie in TampaBay

    I would HOPE & PRAY that the American People for whom all of these congressional idiots say they are 'doing the right thing for' REMEMBER these weeks of haggling and childishness come ELECTION DAY & boot them ALL out!

    It is LONG PAST TIME that the American People start VOICING their discontent whenever and wherever possible!

    August 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  59. Joe

    Why dont the republicans sell the cocaine that was found in the sub. So we can bring down our deficeit? Wolf please reply...thank you

    August 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Guest

      Sell it? They're too busy snorting it with all their Democrat counterparts. Sell it? You're kidding, right?

      August 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • TakeNoPrisoners

      THe DEMONCRATS would just snort it before they could!

      August 2, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  60. edsr

    I would strongly suggest that Congress not only flee Washington but it may be wise to flee this country under the present circumstances.....there are a lot of unhappy Americans right now!

    August 2, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Guest

      I just hope they're still unhappy during the next several election cycles! People seem to forget after a while. It's time to send the ultimate message to these idiots, all of them. Fire every last one of them!

      August 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  61. alvin54

    Hey, all you whiners who want five weeks vacation and who aren't in unions: stop bashing unions and join one. You'll have a better shot at the five weeks, just like your boss......

    August 2, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  62. Enuff

    Don't let the door kick 'em in the a** on their way out!

    August 2, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  63. lynn

    The House schedule each month is 3 weeks in session; 1 week in their district in addition to all their regularly scheduled holidays/vacations. This has been one of the most unproductive sessions in modern history. And you, Wolf, are defending another vacation for them?

    August 2, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  64. davey



    August 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • oldboldgold

      For a Harvard Law Graduate, the President gave up the fight before it even started... what's up with that?

      August 2, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • bluebird

      Why should Obama be fired? He has done more than bush and he got Osama binladen. You people have no idea on what is going on!

      August 2, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
  65. run you crooks

    run away scum, run away, some of us have lost our lively hoods, retirements and savings and we put you in office to do the right thing and now We The People are going to take you out of office, you will feel the pain of unemployment and loss of salary, time for a REAL TEA PARTY REVOLT against the scum in Washington

    August 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  66. gaucho420

    I can't help but feel disgusted. They took the country to the precipice of BS and now they go on vacations, hidden as work.

    F'ing BS is what it is.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  67. Ken in NC

    Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray that Congress gets lost on some back street. Should they return before I wake, I pray my Social Security they will not take.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • oldboldgold

      Remember this: the social security "in trouble" numbers Congress was quoting came from a table in the 2010 CAFR of the U.S. The table was clearly marked that it DID NOT INCLUDE THE TRILLIONS LOANED TO THE GOVERNMENT TO COVER BUSH'S TWO WARS or the interest owned on that money, and it projected the current unemployment rates out 50 years. The feds cannot take Social Security unless we allow it, because they could NEVER win a class action suit over those separate funds... SS is SELF-FUNDED.
      SS has been so successfull, I'd like to see a similar program enacted for corporations called the CORPORATIONS WITH DISABILITIES ACT. It would also be self-funded (figured prior to deductions) and corporations would be able to get disability payments when in trouble. They could be weaned off taxpayer bailouts and hidden welfare... and it would be public information so shareholders and analysts could properly value their share price.... plus, no executive could make more than 30x what their lowest paid employees make... since execs poor decisions lead to poor performance and the need for welfare. However, it would lead to better performance. This would only be national corporations, not global corporations. Global corporations should get NO WELFARE from U.S. citizens.

      August 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
  68. Frederick Delaney

    Wolf, The American public should Vote Out 100%, all Democrats and Republicans incumbents, in both the House and Senate in the next election. This would send a loud and clear message to the ‘do-nothings’ and uncompromising congressional members that the common public will not stand for their representing and supporting only the rich and influential at the expense of the common man. There should be a total ‘out-sweep’ of ALL in Congress. This way, the people will have a new voice in Congress in its newly elected members and let the the remaining congressional members know that they have been given notice that they are are next.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm |

      It is the Tea Party Republicans that should be voted out. They violated the US Constitution in this debt ceiling debacle. The Constitution calls for legislation being approved by the 2 houses of Congress and signed by the President. They used their control of the House to threaten economic destruction of the Country in order to get their ideological goals enacted into law.

      August 2, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  69. Katherine

    Oh, Congress, u are just like us...just average Americans.
    PLEASE! The last time I had even close to a 5 week vacation, my parents drove us cross country – to see our great country. That was in 1982 – over 25 years ago! The longest vacation my kids ever went on was 9 days in Florida. And my employer almost had a hissy-fit. Congress has no idea what life in America in 2011 is like...shame on them!

    August 2, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Clinton Rusthoven

      Right on, Karen! They should stay in Washington til' they can find a deal do solve our most pressing issues! I know I would for $170,000 per year!!!

      August 2, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • oldboldgold

      I suggested my son run for Congress. What a deal.

      August 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  70. William

    What a waste!

    August 2, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  71. Year of the Scorpion

    3 words to sum up this whole debacle: Only In America....

    August 2, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • John B

      Or Greece.

      August 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Gary

      Maybe Larry the Cable Guy should do an episode

      August 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  72. jma58

    They are taking their sorry – sses home to gloat over pulling the wool over voters eyes again.
    99% of all politicians are criminals who belong in jail. They have put this country in the mess it is in and leave it up to the voters to pay the price.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  73. Aamir

    Why not just call it a "vacation"? Europeans take 4-week vacations all the time!

    August 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • David, CA

      Those evil socialists!!!

      August 2, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  74. J Fowler

    What happened to the FAA Reauthorization?

    August 2, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  75. Name*Bill c

    They need 5 weeks off to pat each other on their backs. What a bunch of sniveling incompetent losers. Go out abs try and get a R EAL job

    August 2, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Guest

      Since most of them are lawyers, they wouldn't even have to do that. Just go to practicing law again. They should be voted out of office anyway.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  76. RS

    You missed the big story here– they left town without seeing to the FAA reauthorization (or a temporary solution). So they leave more than a billion in airline ticket taxes uncollected while they are away; 4,000 federal employees distributed throughout the country, of all different walks of life out of work, furloughed; and tens of thousands of construction workers and other contractors stranded high and dry around the country on airport projects. These are projects that are already paid for– not new spending.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Pumbaa

      Congress critters should have been locked up like what happens in a long jury trial. They should not be released until they had finished passing essential legislation.

      August 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • David, CA

      You can't expect them to WORK on stuff that affects us when they've got T-times and drinking and horin to do!

      August 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  77. Joe E

    Ridiculous. Do a poor job, then bail out for a hiatus? Congress needs reform. Way out of control.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  78. Roman

    Decrepit old conservative tyrants like Mitch McConnell need to be put out to pasture!
    McConnell makes the case for TERM LIMITS!!!
    This feckless parasite been suckling at the public teet for far too long!

    August 2, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • jma58

      I am in complete agreement with you and they should also be held to higher ethics to be allowed in congress.

      August 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
      • bradspace

        Unfortunately, ethics and politics have nothing to do with each other in this country any longer. Haven't for decades.

        August 2, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • David, CA

      Did you catch him admitting that the economy was secondary to making sure that President Obama fails? He's on record with it. Doesn't want to "co-own" a bad economy. I got news for you Mitchy boy- you already OWN it and you're RESPONSIBLE for it as well. Clueless, corrupt old turtle.

      August 2, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  79. BuddyGirl

    I am just curious. Are pay and benefits cuts for congress part of the new financial discipline being brought forth in Washington DC?

    August 2, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • David, CA

      Dream ON! Though if they had to pay out of pocket for medical expenses and health insurance, we'd see reforms coming through with lightning speed.

      August 2, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  80. Sheila

    I wish I got 5 week vacations.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  81. Geoffrey in Lowell MA

    They may wish they had stayed in Washington or taken a nice trip to Afghanistan. A lot of them may be finding that they are not going to find a pleasant welcome at home and especially as people begin to realize how harmful this exercise really was. These Tea Party Economic Terrorist types are not well advised to visit the ground zero of their target.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  82. Sickofthem

    Can't wait 'till 2012.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • ThaGerm

      Why? I don't see a single candidate that stands a chance to take down Obama in 2012. You repubs can hate all you like, but even you have to admit the pickin's are pretty slim for serious contenders in 2012

      August 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  83. Minnesota Matt

    IIs there someplace on the 'Net where we can get some sort of report of their activities while they are away? Regardless of your position on the debate over the last few weeks, I believe it's fair to say that most of these members of Congress have put in some mighty long and stressful days and probably deserve a break. It would be interesting to see who does what with such a long time away from their desks in Washington D.C.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • David, CA

      Check the men's room stalls for "family values" republicans...

      August 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  84. Roman

    Why did you not challenge Castellanos on his conservative tax cuts for the jobs creators sophistry?
    How many jobs did the Bush tax cuts create during the past decade?

    August 2, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  85. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    They should have been forced to vacation in Washington, pay their own expenses including their families which would have helped boost the economy instead of boosting the economy in another country. We deserve better.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  86. POD

    This would be hilarious if it wasn't so pathetically sad, cowardly and self-serving. These people have completely lost any sense of responsibility to their constituents.....Oh I forget.....we are not their constituents....the finacial services industry bad.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  87. steve a, new braunfels, texas

    They are on the run! they know they done wrong! they can't face there piers! they are going home to hide out! they know they are a sorry lot!

    August 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  88. amarjit

    Political & production stability are key to credit rating. America had political stability in the past but now it stands fractured with long drive & drag added with publicity of divergence of agreement giving significant & substantial volcanic shake to confidence of people & global countries. America diminished manufacturing & total dependence on imports has shaken its main strength & base of income generation which fueled the normal life style, spending habits, service industry, housing industry & commercial trade with largest retail store industry & logistics making impact on the prices to customers much higher than the real value or intrinsic value of products. With closing or reducing of retail stores, political instability, long wars with no returns, extra health expenditure on the veterans, almost stagnant infrastructure development, expensive education; whole life of people have become uncertain & instable with nothing in sight in near future. With debt in trillions has further deafened the intellectual capacity of normal Americans as debt has piled up due to war with no return, bail out of big industries in banking, financial market & auto mobiles, etc. just to save the jobs & worsening unemployment in addition to other negative factors. All these factors combined have to have combined & corrosive effect on credit worthiness of America despite its robust size & capabilities which are source of survival to other countries but not to creditors who have lost confidence in American political instability & divided philosophy as well ideology despite constitutional belief. Balance budget, cut in spending must start from credit cards limits which have nothing just for higher interest’s greed. It should be just percentage of total annual earning or other viable figures. Unless confidence of creditors is restored & manufacturing within America restarted with largest job market nothing positive can happen & future is not very bright for American people at the middle level. They lack the education, skills, money & capital for moving forward with certain regulatory restrictions or controls. Wars are biggest & unproductive expenditure with current high tech operations & larger deployment more so in absence of permanent occupation after victory or liberation with zero returns. Just launching big wars with philosophical or ideological motives cannot be productive with destructive effects in home financial & industrial systems. Logistics cost are highest from distant operations & are strategic handle in the hands of terrorists or distant nations engaged in such wars. It needs careful & well thought rationality to attack or open war front with enemy unless there is a issue of survival & security. It all needs careful thought, rational approach & good decision making by political leadership of America & even other countries. Terror operation must be handled in terror like anti-terror attacks not regular wars which are very expensive & take higher toll of lives of attacking nation in unknown territory to troops.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • chaudrhicks

      Comments were good but lack of punctuation is a hinderance to clerity. Maybe consider re-writing and re-posting.

      August 2, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • TakeNoPrisoners


      August 2, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  89. 4merRepubCT

    This is a disgrace. You would think Congress's actions couldn't sink any lower than they did during the debt ceiling terror attack, but it has. Taking a 5 week vacation without funding the FAA? Leaving 4,000 FAA employees without a paycheck, halting infrastructure construction and sending thousands of private sector employees home without a pay check? Letting the airlines continue to increase profits by collecting ticket taxes that go into their pockets, rather than government revenues? Do we have $200 million a week to give away? If so, I could use the smallest crumb to keep up with my own debt, thank you.

    Obama should call these lazy, ineffective, a$$es back NOW. Congress should be able to take a 5 week vacation when the rest of us can.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  90. Roman

    Alex Castellanos is very good at parroting the conservative talking points!
    Where are the jobs that his conservative pals promised with the Bush Tax cuts?
    The so-called job creators are merely hoarding their profits! The real job creators are those Americans earning $30, $40, and $50 thousand dollars because they create demand for goods and services,tax cuts have created zero jobs!
    Demand forces business to hire more workers, not tax cuts! The republican sophistry is stunning! And what is more disgusting is that the conservative gullible moronic followers believe their bilge!
    Let's not forget it was the republican fiscal irresponsibility and economic illiteracy that tanked our economy!
    American's amnesia has once more proven to be devastating. Just witness the current state of our economy!

    August 2, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • ThaGerm

      To take it further.... During Reagan's administration and the beginning of "Trickle Down Economics" to current the top 2% wealth grew by over 300%, the average Joe 0%. Trickled right into the pockets of the rich it did!

      August 2, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  91. dj

    At least they won't be screwing the rest of us for 5 weeks... after that, business as usual. I didn't hear anything about their wages or premium health care taking any cuts? Funny how that works! They should all be fired!

    August 2, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  92. FedUp

    I would get out of Dodge too. Too bad they have to come back home to face their constituents.

    August 2, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  93. Steve

    Well, at least we have 5 weeks where Congress can't make things any worse

    August 2, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  94. Orfan Hanif Yasini

    Dear Wolf
    We need to raise the debt limit and spend now to get this country working. We need to help with education and unemployment and well fare and have a program that gets people out these programs so they could get a job and help them selves. We also need to cut taxs for companies start opening their factories and offices here and charge more taxes for them going to other countries like India and China and Russia and Brizal. In one to two years we also have to change the tax law where little my little we have to start raising taxs starting from the rich people. We need revenue and we need to start paying back what we owe to other countries. Please email me with your response.
    Orfan Hanif Yasini

    August 2, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • chris taylor

      sub prime lending on the national scale.... we are broke buddy what makes you think more debit is the answer?

      August 2, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  95. chris Deville

    since the republicans are so ready to make cuts I'd like to see them cut their pay, retirement and health benifits.

    August 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • martha

      My husband is a retired groverment person and we have good heath insurces but they it out of is penion check months so everyone that eorks for the gov pays for there heath insurces

      August 2, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  96. bad legislation

    These guys get paid too much for all the grief that they collectively put our country in. Pelosi and Reid need to go.

    August 2, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  97. Virginia Weddington

    They don't need a vacation–they need to be working on things that would create jobs for the American people. Have they no conscience? When you have problems–you don't take an extended vacation–you work through them. That's why they were elected–to work.

    August 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • chris taylor

      The government doesn't create jobs that build equity in the nation... all they do is spend money.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  98. Thomas

    Congress taking a 5-week recess? Means they are closed for any business? They should be available to work on emergencies as they arrive during the 5 week recess.example the FAA problem is a emergency for those who will not be paid or lose there jobs etc.
    6 minutes ago · Like.

    Congress taking a 5-week recess? Means they are closed for any business? They should be available to work on emergencies as they arrive during the 5 week recess.example the FAA problem is a emergency for those who will not be paid or lose there jobs etc.
    6 minutes ago · Like.


    Congress taking a 5-week recess? Means they are closed for any business? They should be available to work on emergencies as they arrive during the 5 week recess.example the FAA problem is a emergency for those who will not be paid or lose there jobs etc.

    Congress should never be 100% closed. Lights off doors locked no one there? What if they are needed?Did they leave a phone number to call in case of emergency?If not they should be on call for emergencies.Instead of saying sorry youll have to wait till we come back from our recess .


    August 2, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  99. Malerie damman

    Ahhhh i get everyone needs vacation but 5 weeks of it an they wana make cuts rediculous

    August 2, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  100. bob

    We who elected the congress and our state legislatures have ourselves to blame. State redristicting rules out moderates and assures election of fools. The blind are leading the deaf

    August 2, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
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