...[M]ost members fly home every week, usually leaving Washington on Thursday night and returning Tuesday morning. That leaves little time for bonding with colleagues.
Today, most families of new senators stay in their home states, putting even more pressure on lawmakers to spend less time in Washington.
Yes, contact with constituents is vital, but limiting lawmakers' time in the nation's capital means they are less able to respond to the issues that their constituents care about....
The Senate needs more, not less, socializing and relationship-building. We need more family outings, dinners with spouses, congressional delegation trips abroad and quiet nights spent in our beautiful Capitol building [Tom Daschle, "How to Govern in a Deeply Divided Congress," Washington Post, 2010.11.07].
Politics is an intensely social job. Politicians need to interact with the voters back home to hear their problems and ideas to inform their policymaking. But to perform the extraordinarily difficult work of melding the disparate needs of 50 states and 435 Congressional districts into a national governing agenda, Congresspeople need to interact with each other. They need strong social connections so they can view each other as colleagues, as real human beings with the same goals, not partisan enemies. Building such relationships and doing the job right requires spending lots of time in their workplace, our nation's capital.