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Ken Adelman
Political advisor

Ken Adelman

A Reagan-era Ambassador and Arms Control Director, Ken Adelman is co-founder and vice-president of Movers and Shakespeares, which offers executive training and leadership development.

Why not a ten week recess?

Q: With the economy slowing again, scores of nominations awaiting confirmation and major issues such a climate change and immigration unresolved, Congress has left town for its traditional 6-week August recess. Is that smart leadership? At what point should leaders upset well-established routines to signal that business-as-usual is no longer acceptable?

Leaders should break routine and be at work in critical circumstances - albeit presuming that the leader's presence is helpful. Not the case here.

As a conservative, I believe the less Congress the better (especially a liberal Democratic one). Better than the "six week August recess" (who knew that month had six weeks?) would be an eight weeks August recess. Best, ten.

One exception to this viewpoint concerns Senate confirmation for nominees. Here we do need Congress, which should either approve the President's nominee, or turn her down, but not "hold" the nomination or delay it endlessly.

As one confirmed by the US Senate some five times, I found it maddening to fill out piles of papers on financial and personal matters, always wondering who reads all this stuff? whoever could? -- and then waiting around -- for nothing, really -- 'til the Senate got around to acting.

Government needs good people in place, confirmed and working for the Nation. We need Congress primarily to get those people in place. Otherwise, Congress, party all night, and vacation all year long!

By Ken Adelman

 |  August 17, 2010; 8:53 AM ET
Category:  Congressional leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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