WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that lawmakers need to start putting in more hours again.
During a lengthy speech from the floor lamenting how the institution of the U.S. Senate has changed for the worse in recent years, McConnell called for a longer work week in D.C. for senators.
“We need to learn how to put in a decent week’s work around here,” he said, noting the typical three-days a week workday for senators in D.C. and saying “most Americans” would “be astonished to find out that’s about it around here.”
“The only way 100 senators will truly be able to have their say, the only way we’ll be able to work through our tensions and disputes, is if we’re here more,” McConnell said.
He referenced how consensus used to occur on Thursday night, when senators were anxious to come to resolutions before going home for the weekends.
“We almost never get worn out around here,” McConnell said.
The Kentucky Republican also specifically mentioned how Senate Democrats last year pulled the trigger on the so-called nuclear option in the Senate, making it impossible for Republicans to stop the president from nominating anyone he wants to many positions in the government.
“As we begin a new year, I think it’s appropriate to step back from all the policy debates that have occupied us over the past few years and focus on another debate we’ve been having around here,” McConnell said. “And the debate we’ve been having over here is the state of this institution.”
Referencing the nuclear option, McConnell said, “On some level, every single one of us has to be at least a little bit uneasy about what happened here in November.”
Among other suggestions, McConnell called for the Senate to restore a “vigorous” committee process and reinstate a longer work week.
“The Senate should be setting national priorities, not simply waiting on the White House to do it for us,” McConnell said.