GAO Recommends Downsizing of U.S. Senate
Study reveals Senate "getting along just fine" despite 1/3 of members being away on full-time campaign trail
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a move bound to send shock-waves through all three branches of the federal government, the Government Accounting Office has issued a report recommending that the number of U.S. Senators should be sharply reduced, perhaps by as much as 50%.
"This may sound radical, but in the light of the current situation, it's really a no brainer," says GAO head Marvin Brickheader. "We've got nearly a dozen sitting senators running for president or thinking of running for president. People like McCain, Clinton, Obama, Dodd, Biden. A presidential campaign is obviously a full-time job for these people. They're rarely in Washington during a campaign that is now stretching to two years or more in length. That's a full third of their six year term.
"And yet, even without them, the Senate is getting along just fine. Apparently we can downsize, still get the work done, and save taxpayers some money. What's wrong with that?"
The report is receiving negative reaction from the senators themselves. "This is a dumb idea," said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who met briefly with reporters after his breakfast meeting at the Rotary Club in Mill Pond, New Hampshire. "I'm keeping up just fine with Senate business. I have a cell phone and a Blackberry. I'm in touch. As much as I need to be." McCain promised to give more detail on his reaction to the GAO report after a luncheon in Dubuque, Iowa and a fund-raising dinner in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
"Let's be realistic," Brickheader countered. "How many working people in America could say to their bosses, 'You know, for the next two years, I won't be in the office much because I've pretty much taken on a second full-time job. But thanks for continuing to pay me a salary and cover all my medical benefits.' Who's going to get away with that? And yet, that's exactly what these senators are doing."
Under the GAO plan, the number of senators would be reduced to 50, one per state. In addition, a senator announcing that he or she is a candidate for higher office would automatically be removed from their senate seat and a special election held to find a replacement. "It could even make some people think twice about running," added Brickheader, "and that might not necessarily be a bad thing."