We hope you're all enjoying your well-earned five-week vacation.

What, didn't get one?

Why, then, you need to get elected to Congress.

Then you'll be guaranteed that luxuriously long holiday -- whether you've earned it or not.

Heck, you really don't have to do much of anything.

On track to be the least productive Congress ever -- and with a nearly 80 percent disapproval rating -- our elected officials in Washington, D.C., skipped town last week for their annual summer break.

Left unfinished is a budget bill to keep the country running after the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year, a deal to raise the debt ceiling, rolling back sequestration before it affects our national security, comprehensive immigration reform, a transportation and housing bill to maintain our nation's infrastructure, a farm bill to fund agricultural programs ...

The list of non-accomplishments is as long as the line of cars trying to leave the congressional parking lot last week.

Why would members of Congress decide now is a good time for a vacation?

It's a tradition, of course, dating back to the first Congress.

Some lawmakers also say they need the time to reconnect with their constituents and hear their concerns.

Here's a concern: They're not doing anything.

We sent these men and women to Washington to work for us. Perhaps we should have added, "... and don't come back until the job is done."

There's something to be said for traditions, but every once in a while we should examine them to see if they still make sense.


In the early years, summer recesses were a way for Congress to avoid the oppressive summer heat, according to the U.S. Senate's website.

Well, we have a little invention called air conditioning these days, although we don't think it would be such a bad thing for our legislators to sweat a little.

After all, only 15 percent of Americans approved of their job performance in the most recent Gallup poll.

That's a smidge better than the all-time low of 10 percent recorded by Congress last August, but still dismal by any standard.

Times have indeed changed, and this long summer recess is a tradition that deserves to buried once and for all.

Maybe if members of Congress were working hard the other 47 weeks of the year -- and managing the business at hand -- the break could be justified.

But it only gets worse, actually.

The House has only 126 session days scheduled this year, while the Senate is expected to work 292 days (10 weeks off).

For this hectic work schedule, rank-and-file members of Congress are compensated about $174,000 a year.


You should be.