Former Sen. Olympia Snowe says the lack of a five-day work week in the Senate makes it nearly impossible to attend to even routine matters, much less deal with complex legislation and issues.
"Isn't that amazing? To work a five-day work week," the Maine Republican observed in an interview Monday with National Public Radio
Snowe, who served 18 years in the Senate and 16 years in the House, is promoting a new book: "Fighting for Common Ground: How We Can Fix the Stalemate in Congress."
Snowe said few senators work on Senate business on Monday or Friday, days usually reserved for weekend travel back home.
"Monday night we'd have what you'd call a bed-check vote, just to get the machinery of the Senate up and running so that we can start the committee process on Tuesday morning."
But by Thursday, she said, "the smell of jet fumes" is in the air. "Everybody's heading home, wanting to know when they can adjourn on Thursday so they can leave."
The "very short version of a work week makes it very difficult to deal with complex issues," added Snowe. "And basically they're not even getting the routine matters of business accomplished. We can't pass a budget, which is preposterous."
Snow, 66, did not seek re-election last year, citing the gridlock and the intense partisanship in Congress as why she left national politics.
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