American Morning

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August 4th, 2011
05:17 AM ET

Talkback: When is it okay for political leaders to take a break from Washington?

After passing the debt ceiling legislation on Tuesday, Senators left Capitol Hill for summer recess without reaching an agreement on extending funding for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Without the extension, the FAA is limited in its ability to complete maintenance and construction projects and nearly 4,000 inspectors and other employees are on furlough.

Talkback: When is it okay for political leaders to take a break from Washington?

Let us know what you think. Your answer could be included in this morning's broadcast.


Filed under: AM Asks
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Tory

    The recent crisis over the debt was about jobs and revenue and yet Congress is seemingly willing to walk away from $1 Billion in airline ticket taxes, and more importantly, leaving many thousands without a paycheck, without a backward glance. It makes the drama of last week over the debt ceiling seem like nothing but posturing. They need to come back and fix it...

    August 4, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  2. Dave

    Aren't our congressmen and Senators supposed to be "employed" by the states they represent? Let each state decide their vacation policy for their elected representatives in Washington. While we're at it each state should pay the salary of their Senators and Congressmen; the saved funds from the Federal Government not paying them and providing health insurance and pensions could be used to pay down the National debt.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:03 am |
  3. Tom Bruno

    We need to hold ALL OF THEM accountable!!! These people act like their job is just a debate class that never really resolves anything. We pay them top dollar, provide them pensions, and the best health benefits money can buy while the average American has none of this. In fact, pensions don't exist anymore...they get all of this after serving only 2 years in office! The biggest problem is the whole world is disgusted at them, not only the American people. Since the whole world is aggravated with our lack luster performance from our politicians, that they need to shape up or ship out! They're costing us all way too much money at a time that the world needs them the most!!! Must be nice to not have to worry about your well being either way... They need to take a massive pay cut, lose their pensions since we've lost ours, and start taking care of issues rather than just debating over the same issues ,for over a period of decades, and accomplishing nothing beneficial to our country. I blame all in office... they will never understand nor empathize if they continue to have the best of everything regardless; they just have to work 2 years and we pay them for life, whether voted out or not!!! What other profession could offer such great incentives... hey kids, take debate class, the country will need you!!! We'll cut spending alright, less pay for you guys. We'll pay you well when our country is doing great, and take from your pay when the country needs it the most. This is not a joke anymore, the world is ticked at them and they are so disconcerned with reality that they just can't adapt and cut vacay short. I don't care whether they claim they're working or not, they're not where they need to be at a time like this. Actions speak louder than words, and congress' actions have proven to be completely opposite of all the rhetoric. By the way, isn't it obvious we can't cut spending much more... we really want no police force, worse education when our public education has already failed us, no fire fighters, etc. Time for the wealthiest to pay their fair share!

    August 4, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  4. Eugene

    I think that we sould look in to how much time they have off and make new laws giving them less time off, like people like us that work for a living. The most time we get off is about 4 weeks a year.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:00 am |
  5. Diane C

    Typical Democratic move. When the going gets tough, they leave town. I've got a number of flights booked this upcoming year. In addition to everything else, I now get to worry about whether my next flight will be my last. Get back to work and get the job done, then you can take vacation!!!!!! Thanks. P.S. Don't try to pin the blame on Bush for this latest debacle.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  6. Vish

    The political leaders are "elected officials" and Americans expect them to do their job for what they are elected for. Loosing 1.5 billion in tax revenue is not the way to run this country in this economy. One word – irresponsible!!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  7. BWIII

    Whenever a golf course, fundraiser or oandering-opportunity calls...

    August 4, 2011 at 7:41 am |
  8. Stephanie

    I think they should take weekends or a scheduled vacation from their job like most Americans but depending on Business needs and what is happening in work or family life you make adjustments or decisions about the timing of taking off- Washington has a deficit in good decision making too. Carol, why in your report do you refer to President Obama as Mr. Obama- He is the PRESIDENT and when you are talking about him and Mitt Romney or other candidates don't disrespect him – he earned the title.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:40 am |
  9. Elizabeth

    What in the world? Both parties are totally out of touch with the constituencies they are supposed to serve. Most of us get weekends, holidays and two weeks paid vacation. How can they look themselves in the mirror knowing they left thousands of American out of work and costing the government $30MM/day? I think the lost revenue should come out of their pockets. Theirs are pretty expensive vacations that we are all paying for, when many Americans can't afford to even think about taking a vacation.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:38 am |
  10. Steve Coker

    If a student procrastinates a project for months, then pulls an allnighter to complete it at the last moment, he is not excused from other assignments because he's been working so hard. The debt and deficit issues should have been put to bed months, if not years ago. The irresponsible way congress handled this does not relieve them of other responsibilities.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  11. John D. Chitty

    Yes. Take a break. We're sick of hearing about the Congress. If the Left had been willing to compromise on their commitment to wasteful spending, then the FAA employees and projects could have returned to work. But this is what happens in the name of ever-increasing Big Gov't.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  12. Chris Huber

    I can not wait for this Tuesday in Wisconsin. As Wisconsin goes, so will the nation in the next Presidential election. Hopefully, 1% of the population will lose its ability to create artificial crisis that lead to self inflicted wounds.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  13. CAthy Moore

    I wish they knew what it was to do a real days work! 1st they hold the country hostage by threatening not to send out social secutity to the people who severed this country wel and depend on it. We paid into social secutity over 40 yrs. Know what just send us our money back! Then they go on vacation and leave our airport workers without work or a check! What the H! I bet they got paid but they care nothing about the people they serve! I say we throw them all out and start over. Thomas Jefferson said a little revolution is good for the country. These people need a reality check big time!

    August 4, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  14. Roger

    If leaders know how they effect regular people they would not go on vacation because to are the one that make the laws and process going to effect everything in lives why they complaining about the president goes on vacation he cant get though to the people that want him to fail and doing things that hurt the country to make the tea party look like they fighting for the people they are not

    August 4, 2011 at 7:28 am |
  15. Benita Ryan

    They should take a break when they finish the job they were hired to do...protect, and defend the rights of the people...Stressful yes...bur so is being a policeman, air traffic controller...you get the point! They have a good life!

    August 4, 2011 at 7:26 am |
  16. Kent Morlan

    When the Constitutional Convention concluded, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin what kind of government court country was going to have and he said a "Republic if we could keep it." We are once against struggling to keep our republic. Our political leaders need to focus on making our Republic work rather than just getting re-elected.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  17. Frankie

    You might point out that the GOP also blocked the Senate from formally taking a break so that President Obama cannot appoint a director of Consumer Financial Protection. The GOP with their Tea Party totally disgusts me. What's worse they always claim that they are doing what I (i.e. the American people) asked them to do. No employee in the real world does nothing but stall and obstruct company business to the detriment of the company, for weeks and weeks including on overtime, then receives a 5 week vacation without even being clocked out.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  18. Rick

    Being the fact that they are considered essential personnel after the critical issues are resolved. I think that if you applied some of the rules to congress as in the private sector that they will get thing done on time, more so ahead of schedule. For instance, some contractors are fined every day they go beyond original deadline for a project. I think this could be a good rule for congress to keep them focus on the task at hand!!! I think a lot of this is because they lose focus on important issues until the last minute, than have the undesired prolongation bluff. We did not elect you to worry about steroid in sport, or BCS selection procedures. These are NCAA, MLB, NFL, etc., and court issues!!!! Stay focus on Federal Government related issues!!

    August 4, 2011 at 7:24 am |
  19. peter dohan

    when all their work is done and clearly it was not in this case. 4000 jobless. they have no shame and are truly dysfunctional, peter h. dohan, md

    August 4, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  20. Cynthia

    I care for a chronically ill husband. When he took a downturn, I lost my insurance AND my vacation time. I"m grateful to have a job. I find it hard to be sympathetic to politicians at the moment, since they don't seem to have any comprehension of the real world.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:16 am |
  21. Joey Berg

    12-13 month tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with a 2 week R&R 6 months in. My brother & Sister-in-Law have done this twice in the last 3 years. Seriously!

    August 4, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  22. Joey Berg

    Are you kidding? 2 years with a +$175,00 salary? And they give their selves raises during the recession while the average Americans salary went down! Stand around and Talk? http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/uscongress/a/congresspay.htm

    August 4, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  23. Phillip Shinn

    T.H.R.O., Inc. (Throw the Hypocritical Rascals Out!) Time for a rebirth of a movement begun by Jack Gargan in the early 90's

    August 4, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  24. steph

    I believe it should be the same as the middle and lower class, 2 weeks or less of vacation, pay at least 30% of health insurance, what ever you save yourself is your retirement. Oh and a 25% cut in pay for the "good" of the company or in this case the country

    August 4, 2011 at 6:59 am |
    • annieM

      Perfect

      August 4, 2011 at 7:58 am |
  25. Rick

    Being the fact that they are considered essential personnel after the critical issues are resolved. I think that if you applied some of the rules to congress as in the private sector that they will get thing do on time, more so ahead of schedule. For instance, some contractors are fined every day they go beyond original deadline for a project. I think this could be a good rule for congress to keep them focus on the task at hand!!! I think a lot of this is because they lose focus on important issues until the last minute. We did not elect you to worry about steroid in sport, or BCS selection procedures. These are NCAA, MLB, NFL, etc., and court issues!!!! Stay focus on Federal Government related issues!!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 6:58 am |
  26. Norman Donchin

    The question is too broad. It should be "What do you think of legislators leaving town while the FAA has been de-funded?" The answer: The situation wouldn't exist were it not for the insane ideological position of Republicans that public sector workers shouldn't have the same collective bargaining rights as private sector workers. The Democrats must come out front on this more effectively than they did in the debt ceiling "debate". They must let Americans know that, just as Republicans were willing to let our country go over the economic cliff by not approving an increase in the debt ceiling, they are similarly willing to sacrifice the safety of millions of Americans, not to mention breaking another union, by not approving a re-authorization of FAA funding.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  27. michelle m

    I just saw the comment posted by the rnc chairman. Not that i am a big fan of obama, but he has reached a milestone that people usually take a minute to celebrate. But since his republicans are so hard at work in washington...oh wait a minute...they are on a 5 week paid vacation. And because of them there are 4000 people laid off and they are losing more money than they are quibbling over. Maybe he needs to check his own house before complaing about anybody elses.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:27 am |
  28. Bill

    This particular congress should go home now. AFTER turning in their resignations.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:26 am |
  29. Cindy Plachinski

    If these folks made movies, we would have no endings.
    Seems to be no end to the problems! Shame on members of Congress for leaving the FAA issue unresolved and people on furlough with no pay. Bad for everyone!
    Wake up, do your job, no time for vacations!

    August 4, 2011 at 6:26 am |
  30. Todd K

    They should leave immediately. Do not pass go, Do not collect $200, go directly to high school civics class.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:26 am |
  31. tod hale

    Does the House and the Senate have less on it's plate than a business with 535 employees? "The American people this...the American people that.." is all we here from them. Guess what? The American people get 2 WEEKS VACATION AND WE CAN'T ALL GO AT THE SAME TIME!!!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 6:25 am |
  32. Kipp In Texas

    I think it's perfectly fine for the President to take a break from playing golf to attend his birthday party.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:23 am |
  33. Mark

    When their term is finished.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:18 am |
  34. Caleb Failes

    It's only OK on national holidays or whenever eceryone else gets some time off, but as for just getting some time off for making a debt deal, no that isn't.

    August 4, 2011 at 5:46 am |