“Now is the time,” said Daniel Webster, “when men work quietly in the fields and women weep silently in the kitchen. The Legislature is in session, and no man’s property is safe.”

Webster’s words are well over 100 years old, but his sentiments seem to be gaining new credence in these days of government rollback. One of those worried about the amount of time the Legislature spends in session is Dallas Congressman Jim Collins.

Collins thinks that keeping the Legislature out of session would help balance the budget, reduce costly staff expenses and cut down on what he considers useless regulations. To that end, he has proposed a bill to limit congressional sessions to approximately 120 days a year.

Trying to prove his point by flying home “almost every weekend,” Collins claims that members of Congress “tend to work harder at home.” So why does the Legislature in Washington regularly meet well beyond its recess date?

“It’s the Democrats dillydallying around,” says Collins, who has already made clear his intentions of running against Democrat Lloyd Bentsen for the Senate next fall.

Collins maintains that if the Texas Legislature, which meets only five months every two years, can get its housekeeping done, then surely the U.S. Congress can do the same.

One of the reasons the sessions run so long, he suggests, is the desire of the Democratic leadership to keep itself on the front pages of the “Eastern liberal press.” Not to mention the need to keep their ever-swelling staffs occupied. “The more we meet, the more we spend,” explains Collins, “and the more regulations we make and the more taxes we raise.”

Admitting his bill has little chance of passing the Democratically controlled House, Collins still believes his proposed cutback is a worthwhile idea, and is pleased to see the current administration’s moves in that direction. But the key, he insists, “is to keep us out of Washington.”

Maybe the thing to do, Jim, is just to eliminate government altogether.


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