HOUSE DEMOCRATS PLAN ONLY THREE FULL WEEKS NEXT YEAR

How many weeks a year do you work? Do you they pay you if you don't show up? Maybe you should run for Congress to lighten the load a bit.

A 2008 calendar distributed to congressional offices Monday shows the House holding five-day weeks only three times next year, exposing Democrats to charges that they are backing away from a pledge to work harder than Republicans did when they ruled the House.

To be fair, the schedule, while lighter than this year’s, is more rigorous than ones in Republican years. Republicans typically held a three-day week, from Tuesday night to Thursday afternoon, allowing lawmakers Mondays and Fridays in their districts.

Next year’s planned schedule falls in between the past two years in terms of legislative activity. It shows the House holding four-day weeks most of the time, arriving on Monday night and leaving Thursday, or arriving Tuesday night and leaving Friday.

In the proposed 2008 schedule, the House will meet 248 days in the 110th Congress, compared with 211 days in the last Republican-led Congress, according to figures maintained by the majority leader’s office. President Bush would deliver his last State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Jan. 22. And the targeted adjournment date is Sept. 26.