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Rep. Kingston Defends 3-Day Work Week, Claims Members Can ‘Keep In Touch’ With BlackBerrys

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"Rep. Kingston Defends 3-Day Work Week, Claims Members Can ‘Keep In Touch’ With BlackBerrys"

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Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) is upset that the new leadership of the 110th Congress plans to work five days a week. From today’s Washington Post:

“Keeping us up here eats away at families,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who typically flies home on Thursdays and returns to Washington on Tuesdays. “Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families — that’s what this says.”

Today on Fox News, he defended his comments. “With BlackBerrys, cell phones, you can stay in touch with what’s going on in Washington.”

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2006/12/kingston.320.240.flv]

Congress has tried it Kingston’s way and it didn’t work. The 109th Congress — which has “been in session for a grand total of 103 days this year” — “failed to enact a host of once top-priority legislation on issues such as overhauling Social Security, immigration and lobbying laws.” Congress even failed its basic responsibility of providing a budget for the government, completing “just two of the 11 fiscal 2006 appropriation bills.”

Full transcript:

GIBSON: Congressman, you actually commented about this. Let me put your quote up here. You said, to a newspaper, I believe, keeping us here is eating away at families. Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families — that’s what this says. What did you mean by that?

KINGSTON: Well, members of Congress work 60 to 70 hours a week every week. I mean, the idea that we only work when we are in Washington, D.C., is ridiculous. When we’re back home, we’re visiting schools, we’re talking to groups, we’re meeting with constituents. We’re getting real information on the ground. We’re listening and we’re learning. I think there was a time when all the brains were in Washington. I don’t know when that was. But it’s certainly not the case anymore. With BlackBerrys, cell phones, you can stay in touch with what’s going on in Washington. But you know, when you’re back home with the real people, folks can grab you by the collar and say, what in the heck did you guys do when you passed that bill?

GIBSON: Congressman, what about — let me put up this graphic, this reality check is going to mean a new calendar for you guys. There you’re going to be five days a week. Most Americans work five days a week. And most Americans, as I recall, were pretty ticked to Congress in the last election. What did you guys get done in the 109th Congress?

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