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Poli 1223 A busy week in the life of a Congressman

Explores the weekly schedule of a Congressman

Tony Litherland

on 7 April 2016

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Transcript of Poli 1223 A busy week in the life of a Congressman

Thursday - 6:00 AM
SubCommittee on Technology :
Report on INTERNET Penetration by Continent
-- 7: AM
Monday afternoon
Tuesday at 4 AM
Congressmen work an average of 10 hours per day
A Busy Week in the Life of a Congressman
By J. Tony Litherland, Ph.D. 2013, revised 2015
This lecture is based on one year as a legislative intern, numerous contacts in the legislature, and internet sources
Any representation of real people is totally accidental
Tuesday ---- 7 AM
Tuesday Analysis
Wednesday -- 6:05 AM
Shawnee, Oklahoma
6:30 = Wake up and make it to breakfast with teachers meeting for breakfast before school.
7:30 = A driver takes you to school. Eat in the cafeteria.
8:00 = Teachers break away to teach and you continue discussion with administrators.
9:00 = Meet with President Whitlock of OBU.
10:00 = meet with faculty
11:00 = teach Poli 1223
12:00 = Lunch with faculty
1:30 = Depart for tour of oil fields. Oil production is down in Oklahoma. Oil Producers try to explain why they need new tax incentives to buy new and better technology for deep wells.

Saturday -- 7:00 AM
Analysis and choice???
Review the key components of the week
What role does travel play?
What role does staff play?
What role does Money play?

Let us Visit a Congressman's websight
Well educated
Voted to end the Government shutdown in 2013

Members of Congress Work 70 Hours a Week — But Think It's Worth It

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 12, 2013 — Members of Congress work an average of 70 hours a week when in session and most of their workweek is devoted to legislative and constituent responsibilities — not political activities, according to a report released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF).

“Life in Congress: The Member Perspective,” is the first examination of how members of the U.S. House of Representatives spend their time and view the daily activities, challenges and motivations of their jobs.


A press briefing on the report will be at 10 a.m. Eastern Time this morning in the Grand Canyon Room, second-floor conference level, Hyatt Regency, 400 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001. It is also available by conference call. Contact SHRM Media Relations (703-535-6260) or Susie Gorden of CMF (202-546-0100) for details on how to connect.

“This report paints a picture of life as a member of Congress somewhat different than the one usually portrayed to the public,” said Bradford Fitch, president and CEO of CMF and report contributor. “Members seem to be energized by their work, reporting that they are devoted to public service and are motivated by their contributions to society.”

The research showed that, on average, House members spend 35 percent of a typical week on legislative/policy work when Congress was in Washington, D.C., 32 percent on constituent services work when in the district, and 17-18 percent on political/campaign work at all times. Members reported reducing their work hours on average to 59 hours a week during district work periods or congressional recesses.

The report is based on a survey conducted of 25 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and is augmented with focus groups, interviews and data collected by the CMF during its 35-year history of working with Congress.

When asked about the performance of their staff, most members responded positively. Ninety-five percent said their staff understands and is motivated by what their office is trying to accomplish.

“Like other CEOs, members of Congress need the best people,” said Mike Aitken, SHRM’s vice president of government affairs. “They view a strong staff as invaluable resource to serving the needs of constituents.”

The research also showed:

Members rated “Staying in touch with constituents” as being the aspect of their job most critical to their effectiveness, with 95 percent rating it as very important. Overall, 85 percent of members were satisfied with this aspect of their jobs.
A majority of members rated the following aspects highly in importance and in satisfaction:
“Feeling that you are performing an important public service” (84 percent very important; 89 percent satisfied);
“Feeling invested in the work you are doing” (84 percent very important; 89 percent satisfied);
“Understanding how your job contributes to society as a whole” (75 percent very important; 90 percent satisfied).
While 68 percent of members cited “Spending time with family” as very important, only 16 percent were satisfied with this aspect, giving it the lowest satisfaction rating among all 25 job aspects studied.
- See more at: http://www.congressfoundation.org/news/press-releases/996-members-of-congress-work-70-hours-a-week-but-think-its-worth-it#sthash.MWXq7Jln.dpuf
Visit OPENCONGRESS.Org where you can track a member of Congress
Markwayne Mullin is plumber who ran for Congress and won. He began serving in 2013.
If it is really hard on families, how long will Congressman Mullin choose to serve at the expense of his young family?
Reflective Questions
Do we want all young congressmen to quit?

You can follow all of Congressman Mullin's votes: how many people will do it? If they do not, then how will they support or explain their vote for him in 2016?

Former Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe - Arizona -- He served on the Armed Services Committee.
The busy week in the life of a Congressman
By J. Tony Litherland

The following week is imaginary,
a simplified week but based on real experiences of Senators and U.S. Representatives from Oklahoma and other states.

7:30 = Arrives at Reagan National Airport and is picked up by a staffer and driver. The Limo used the preferred parking lot at Reagan National. Drive to Capitol for breakfast with labor union officials. They want you to stop illegal aliens being used in sweatshops.

8:00 = After shaking hands, you quickly eat a bite of eggs and coffee. People around you keep interrupting your meal. After 20 minutes of remarks, you answer 30 minutes of questions. At the end, the union political action committee (pac) hands you a five thousand dollar campaign donation.

175,000 per year????
as of 2013
9:00 = A staffer is waiting outside conference room A with a briefing sheet and a quick review of who is inside. The briefing includes key questions to ask. The Ambassador of El Salvador is inside and wants to discuss immigration policy and farm imports and exports with Oklahoma. Excuse yourself at 9:50 and the staffer stays behind to wrap up the details.
10:00 = Another staffer is waiting outside conference room B with a similar briefing. State Department officials are inside to discuss the finer points of law on immigration and trade policy with South America. You want a complete explanation as to how we can humanely handle children crossing the border. Excuse yourself at 10:50 to make your next meeting.

11:00 = Meet with Farm Bureau officials that flew to Washington at their own expense to discuss farm policies. Oklahoma farmers want to export to Communist Cuba. You want to normalize relations with communist Cuba. Excuse yourself at 11:45 to make the next meeting. The driver picks you up outside.
12:00 = Attend the American Bankers Association in the 17th floor in downtown Washington. As Chairman of the Banking committee, you explain upcoming changes in federal banking laws.
1:30 PM = Leave meeting for Capitol - Receive 5,000 dollar campaign donation.

2:00 = Banking committee convenes
2:30 = Bells ring to go vote – rush to go vote, subway: vote is on foreign aid bill, staffer whispers in ear on how to vote.
2:45 = Vote is finished
3:30 = bells ring to vote again – staff whispers in ear on how to vote on the amendment on 8 billion for aid relief on the border.
4:30 = committee meeting ends

5:00 = meet with staff - discuss options on trade policy, immigration and how to stop Mr. Obama in using troops in the MIDDLEAST.
6:00 = depart for Energy corporate reception in downtown hotel
6:30 = Receive 5,000 campaign donation
7:00 = Arrive at White House at the same time YOUR SPOUSE arrives for White House reception and dinner with the Ambassador from and President of El Salvador. Wife and spouse sit at separate tables.
10:30 = Depart White House dinner
11:00 = crawl into bed to read homework.
11:20 = wife gently takes off eyeglasses and turns off the light.
What role did investigation, expertise, and rational policy making play?

6:00 = wake-up routine RING, RING, RING
7:30 = Depart for CSPAN headquarters
8:00 = Appear on CSPAN broadcast to discuss border security
9:00 = Depart for Capitol – visit radio office to record a radio message to voters in Oklahoma
10:00 = Meet in Press Conference with other Senators to speak against White House Plan on Drug Abuse
11:00 = Meet with Dell officials who announce plan to donate 1 million dollars of equipment to Oklahoma schools.
12:00 = Appear on closed circuit television with teachers, students and administrators about technology in the classroom. Announce the donation of the new DELL computers
4:00 Am Ring, ring, ring
4:05 AM -- ring, ring, ring
4:10 AM -- ring,ring, ring
5:00 AM -- Board a flight from OKC to Reagan National Airport
8:00 AM -- arrive at Reagan National Airport
9:00 AM -- staff meeting

You, the voter, must decide many interpretations.
You can accept one of two narratives that congressmen are:
A: Lazy, corrupt, of no practical use, a waste of time and money, and know nothing, etc.

(negative political efficacy)
(negative political efficacy)

ou are the subcommittee chairman of the Technology subcommittee. You are called to investigate the growing INERNET all around the world.

The use of the INTERNET has a shadowy underbelly where criminals conduct illegal trade and deals on human trafficking, drugs, arms, munitions, prostitution, and international spy operations. The military, CIA, NSA and countless foreign operatives use this hidden, secret and immoral network to conduct operations.

They use BITCOINS and many layers of encryption to totally disguise what they do. They can visit websites without revealing their identity and buy and sell without revealing who they are.
Who has access to the INTERNET?
AFRICA, ASIA, and South America lag behind access to the INTERNET.

Once they gain access similar to the US, Australia and Europe, will that increase security risks?

What role will your committee play in keeping America safe as the INTERNET grows?
6:00 = Wake up call routine
6:05 = Second wake-up call, etc.
7:00 = Depart for office
7:30 = Meet with staff
8:00 = Meet with other Senators to pressure them to vote on a bill to clean up the environment near large corporate farms.
9:00 = Depart for the White House.
9:30 = Brunch with the President to talk about cutting taxes.
11:00 = Participate in a news conference where you announce that you will support additional tax cuts if Congress can cut spending by 5% every year over the next 5 years.
12:00 = Eat lunch with a small group of weapons manufacturers in a private dining room in a plush hotel.
2:00 fly to make a speech on education

6:30 = wake up routine
8:00 = depart for Tulsa
9:00 = meet with Special Olympics
10:00 = donate 5,000 to the special Olympics
11:00 = Depart for Stillwater
12:00 = Arrive for luncheon at OSU
1:30 = attend bedlam football game.
4:30 = depart for press conference.
5:00 = meet with editors to convince them that you are working hard for Oklahoma
6:30 = depart for OKC
8:00 = attend a fundraiser in OKC hotel.
10:30 = depart for home
12:00 = crash into bed.

Where are you by now?
Are you effective in what you are doing?
Your reaction to crisis???
All of your schedule changes
if and when there is a crisis:
what will you do if there is a major terrorist attack in your district?
What will you do if one of your fellow congressmen are wounded or killed?
Congresswoman Gabi Gifford was targetted by conservative groups as anti-gun and needed to be removed.
7:30 = wake up call: prepare for Sunday SCHOOL lesson.
9:00 = depart for church
9:30 = teach Sunday School lesson
11:00 = Attend the worship service and be recognized
12:00 = Attend youth lunch for mission trip
1:30 = break away to office.
2:00 = work in office for 3 hours: answer phone, make calls, write letters and write a speech.
5:00 = attend a garden party for donors
7:00 = depart for home and meet with key staff
10:30 = call wife in DC
11:00 = go to sleep

Senator Jim Inhoffe has traveled to Africa numerous times on mission trips
6:30 = wake up call
6:35 = second wake up call
7:00 = depart for local factory
7:30 = stand in line with a hard hat and shake hands as workers arrive and depart.
8:00 = change clothes and have breakfast with factory owners and staff.
9:00 = Depart for OKC to conduct hearings.
10:00 = Convene hearings in OKC public library on the shortage of oil and where oil can be secured. Listen to several oil executives, homeowners, farmers and truckers relate their problems to the committee.
12:00 = Lunch with Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. Receive a $5,000 check for campaign

1:30 = Return to the OKC library for other hearings on the state of public housing.
4:30 = depart for a tour of public housing. A caravan of 17 cars takes the press and the dignitaries to the housing are.
5:00 = Visit an old dilapidated housing area. Television crews film rats, dripping faucets etc.
5:30 = travel to new facility
6:00 = Visit new facility and get interviews in the living room of a happy family with kids. At end of interview, kiss the baby.
6:30 = Depart for Capitol to meet with Governor for dinner.
7:00 = Dinner begins
10:30 = Attend a late night fundraiser with party supporters
11:30 = depart for hotel near airport.
Midnight: fall into bed exhausted.

Analysis and difficulties
Time Management
Can you function on irregularity and lack of sleep?
My trip from Tampa Bay to Tallahasee with Senator Bob Graham. He wanted to __________/
Hardship on the family
Do we want all people in Congress to be older?
If not, then what is the number one cause of young congressmen to quit serving? ___________?

Frequent flyer
If you fly first class, how does talk radio react?
If you fly economy, can you catch any "much needed sleep?"
Who should get the Frequent flyer miles? ______________?
What does the schedule represent and mean?
Do Congressmen work hard?
They work more than 18 hours some days
What role do staff play?
17 staffers for members of the House and up to 70 staffers for a large state Senator:
Is that too many?
Constituent Service: Helping citizens with their problems - the role of the OMBUDSMAN.

Should Congressmen meet so many foreigners?

What are the Meaning of things?
What role does money play?
Is salary and campaign donations considered the same?
What role do interest groups play?
How busy is a Congresswoman?
More or less busy than a Congressman?
What role does staff play?
What role do foreigners play?
Are voters well represented?
What kind of strains are on the family?
How much travel is involved in a congressman’s life?
Are Congressmen overpaid, paid just right, or underpaid?

Is there an iron triangle developing around secrecy?

What can be done to make intelligence and the INTERNET open and above board?
The End
A Day in the Life of Congressman Sensenbrenner
Does the previous slide tell the Truth?
Is the Congressman always in a formal meeting?

The real bulk of work is smaller meetings, fundraising and constituent service

A Day on Capital Hill in Pics
Congressmen work hard but value the job
Congressmen are motovted to do public service, contrribute to society, and thier work.
35% of the work week on Legisaltive/policy work
32% on constituent service
17-18% on campaign work

They work 70 hours per week when in session
They work 59 hours per week when in recess

40 hours
x 50weeks
60 hours
x 50
= 3000
divided by 3,000 hrs
= 58 an hour
What role did staff play?
What role did money play?
The US government helped create a web inside the web.
It was designed to be a secret system that could spy on others.
The criminal world has infiltrated it and now use it to buy and sell everything illegal you can image.
What will your committee do about it?
Are you still married?
Married in name only
Are you involved in your children's lives?
Are you tired yet?
Have you spread yourself too thin?
AA: Sinners but quite capable of making great policy decisions, need to be checked and balanced, capable of investigation, rational critical thinking, and do balance the home constituency with the demands of a Washington career, etc.
(positive political efficacy)
tom cole
Full transcript