Rep.-elect Allen West of Florida wants to work. He wants to work so badly that he’s willing to go head-to-head with his party’s leadership in order to spend more time in Washington.
After Majority Leader-Elect Eric Cantor announced a 2011 House schedule with 123 days in 32 weeks of work (a number of days similar to other first sessions of Congress, but an 11 percent decrease in weeks), West sent a message of his own: members of Congress need fewer days off.
“I believe this schedule does not sufficiently reflect the concerns of the American people as expressed on November 2,” wrote West, who was a favorite of the tea party in the midterms. West said that it is not enough to work as much as Congresses past, that the 112th Congress needs to work more and harder to address job creation, deficit reduction and strengthening the economy. He also says members should be in Washington for more days to “limit the size of government.”
Cantor, on the other hand, said more days is akin to more government.
In a statement to CNN, Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring said, "More days in Washington has historically resulted in bigger government, greater waste, and more spending – not more production. What's important is who's in charge and the process put in place, not the number of days in session."
Part of the problem, West wrote is that the House will not meet the mark of 90 days in session until September of 2011, which is shortly before the end of the Fiscal Year.
“The American people expect Congress to do a thorough review of our nation’s spending priorities,” he wrote. “And I believe the number of days in session do not provide an adequate amount of time for such oversight.”