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Thursday, January 19, 2023

The Work of a House Member

Former Rep. Peter King (R-NY)  at NYT:
For a member of Congress to be effective, be it through legislation or committee work or deal-making or favor-trading or helping out a constituent, you have to have relationships. It’s very hard to get anything done alone. Meaningful achievement begins with some measure of cooperation with colleagues based on friendship, ideology, party affiliation, shared interests, previous collaboration or some combinations thereof. And almost always, mutual trust is a bedrock part of those relationships.

What’s it like to be shamed and shunned as a member of Congress, to be a walking outcast among your peers? We have so few examples — Mr. Santos takes us into new territory. New members of Congress get to know one another by sharing stories about where they come from and where they went to school and exploring areas of common interest; Mr. Santos apparently made almost all of this up. New members meet with senior members who can show them the ropes, help them get some early legislative wins; what senior members will want to work with this guy?

Typical House members have 100 things coming at them at any one time — calls to make and return, constituent services to prioritize and deliver, good news and bad news to deliver to your district, decisions decisions decisions. Your ability to do all of this often depends on getting people on the phone or into a meeting to get the answers or results you need. Who will pick up the phone when George Santos is calling or take him seriously when they do?