All Work? Congress Averaging 70-Hour Work Week

The dome of the Capitol building, nearly obscured by scaffolding at dawn in Washington, D.C.  The House and Senate are adjourned until after the midterm election.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The dome of the Capitol building, nearly obscured by scaffolding at dawn in Washington, D.C. The House and Senate are adjourned until after the midterm election. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CQ Roll Call/MCT) - Who are some of the hardest-working men and women in Washington, D.C.? Congress, apparently. Members of Congress work an average of 70 hours per week when in session and nearly 60 hours per week for district work periods, with approximately 13 meetings a day, according to a report by the Business-Industry Political Action Committee and the Congressional Management Foundation. Congress gets knocked for its work practices constantly — and the 113th is on track to be one of the least productive congresses — but members are busy with active schedules.

“Perceptions of Congress inside the Beltway are significantly different because we all know people who work on Capitol Hill, and the work that is involved with that,”said Bo Harmon, BIPAC’s senior vice president for political affairs.”People outside of Washington don’t always have that direct relationship with Capitol Hill. Perceptions are very different.”

The report is a compilation of research the CMF conducted from 2011 to 2013, including approximately 200 interviews with members of Congress and senior staff.

Other findings include the change in communication surrounding social media. Offices report a 3,000 percent increase in constituent communication over the past decade, largely attributed to the ease of sending written messages. Nearly two-thirds of senior and social media managers surveyed said social media is a “somewhat or very important tool” for understanding constituents’ views and opinions.