This Is How Hard The Democrat-Led House of Representatives Plans To Work in 2021

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

It looks as though Democrats in the House of Representatives plan on using the COVID crisis to stay comfortably working from home well into next year should their schedule, released today, hold. Behold, a comprehensive view:

For clarity’s sake, the highlighted blue sections are when members’ presences will ostensibly be required for votes. The days not highlighted are “committee work days” — implemented during coronavirus to allow members to “work” remotely — and “district work days,” when members are supposed to be working in their home districts but are often unofficially used in many cases for vacation. The point is, during August 2021 for example, Congressional House members aren’t required to be in Washington for the entire month. A cursory glance at the other months shows they’ll be remote more often than in their offices.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), upon release of the schedule, said the calendar is subject to change “with sufficient notice.”

“When the new Congress convenes in January, we will be meeting in the middle of a raging pandemic. To that end, next year’s schedule is designed to ensure that the House will be productive and get its work done while keeping Members, staff, and House employees safe,” Hoyer said in a statement.

“This schedule continues the use of Committee work days, which were created and implemented earlier this year to facilitate the House’s work during the pandemic,” he added. “There was significant positive feedback that not only did this promote safe work periods, it also allowed Committee work to occur uninterrupted by House votes. It is important to note that Committee work days may be changed to voting days with sufficient notice.”

House Republicans, no doubt mirroring many Americans who may stumble upon this news, are already rolling their eyes.

Some Republicans argued that the 2021 schedule means lawmakers will spend too much time out of Washington at a time when they should be tackling legislative priorities.

“Why don’t they want to go to work for the American people? Look at the number of session voting days in the Democrats’ majority vs recent Republican-led Congressional calendars,” Mark Bednar, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), said in an email after the calendar was released.

Even with several vaccines on the way, Americans’ representatives in the House are planning on literally phoning (or zooming) it in for much of 2021. One wonders if they simply don’t consider themselves essential workers. And if they don’t, should we?