Washington Free Beacon EXPOSE!!!1! Some Dems Still Working From Home, Because There's A Pandemic.
During President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, he declared that it’s "time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again. People working from home can feel safe to begin to return to the office.” Of course, those of us who work from home don’t need to “get back to work.” We never left. However, many Americans consider a tedious commute in rush hour traffic a vital sign that life is returning to normal. The commercial real estate industry is also eager to have office space filled again with unhappy employees.
The Washington Free Beacon, a bastion of respectable journalism, apparently spent the weeks since Biden’s presidential address digging into Biden’s claims about the resurgence of the great American workplace. Reporters Joseph Simonson and Matthew Foldi — it took two people to write this story — discovered that despite Biden’s “call for Americans to return to the office after two years of COVID-19 restrictions, numerous Democratic offices in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have failed to end their work-from-home policies.”
A Washington Free Beacon investigation after Biden's speech found that many Democratic offices completely closed and unstaffed, with several displaying signs that they were not returning to work due to COVID-19. Included among the shuttered offices was none other than that of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.). In the middle of the workday his front desk was unstaffed, and there was nobody in sight. His office did not respond to a request for comment about when its teleworking policy would end.
The Free Beacon makes it sound as if the Democratic offices are all shuttered record stores in a failing shopping mall. It’s real Dust Bowl-style coverage. You can almost picture tumbleweeds rolling past Chuck Schumer’s office.
The office of #NVSEN @SenCortezMasto, who faces a tough reelection battle in the fall, was closed as well, with a sign on the door that says, "Cleaning not required." \n\nhttps://freebeacon.com/democrats/dem-offices-on-cap-hill-remain-closed-after-bidens-call-for-return-to-normalcy/\u00a0\u2026\n\n(5/21)pic.twitter.com/pc3BOCL0hp— Matthew Foldi (@Matthew Foldi) 1647882942
Other @SenateDems and @HouseDemocrats have embraced "COVID theater." Both #MISEN @SenStabenow and #NJSEN @SenatorMenendez have signs on the front of their offices that warn visitors to avoid handshakes.\n\nStabenow isn't even keeping her lights on!\n\nhttps://freebeacon.com/democrats/dem-offices-on-cap-hill-remain-closed-after-bidens-call-for-return-to-normalcy/\u00a0\u2026\n\n(13/21)pic.twitter.com/Znsp1M7aYJ— Matthew Foldi (@Matthew Foldi) 1647882952
Simonson and Foldi were shocked to discover that Senator Patty Murray’s office was “fully closed on Monday and Friday.” It’s more than a little silly to bust Congress members’ chops about not being in the office, especially during a pandemic. In 2017, Congress was in session for 145 days out of 261 work days. That number decreased during the 2018 midterm elections. These guys have never kept regular business hours.
Foldi tweeted Tuesday:
Other @SenateDems and @HouseDemocrats have embraced "COVID theater.” Both #MISEN @SenStabenow and #NJSEN @SenatorMenendez have signs on the front of their offices that warn visitors to avoid handshakes. Stabenow isn't even keeping her lights on!
Why should Senator Debbie Stabenow keep the lights on in her office if no one’s there? She probably has decent home training. Senators Bob Menendez and Stabenow are also wise to avoid shaking hands with random people during a pandemic. It's a simple way to avoid spreading COVID-19, the seasonal flu, and overall grossness.
Foldi pointed out that some Democrats up for reelection this year were working remotely. He is aware that Congress members’ constituents don’t actually live in Washington DC? Elected officials can take calls from voters anywhere. Voters aren’t arriving from grueling, cross-country trips to discover that the Capitol’s closed for COVID-19 repair. But Foldi laments: "In total, six @SenateDems have signs outside their doors indicating that no staffers work in person!!!! Another six offices appeared closed, with no staff at the front desk, doors locked, etc.”
Biden's call for workers to return to the office was seen as an attempt to instill a sense of normalcy in the country following numerous polls that show Americans growing weary of COVID-19 restrictions. Many Democratic governors and mayors, including Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser, have called on employers to end their work-from-home policies, citing the damage it inflicts on local businesses.
You’ll notice that I’m actually linking to the poll I cite that shows that most Americans don’t believe COVID-19 is fully under control and still support the restrictions necessary to manage the virus. And most Americans aren’t in a hurry to return to the office. Few people want to needly expose themselves and their families to COVID-19 to keep the office Starbucks open. And if you work from home in most major cities, including DC, you can still walk to a local coffee shop or restaurant during a break.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki just tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time, so maybe the safest bet is not working in a crowded office unless absolutely necessary. Very little that takes place in the Washington DC is absolutely necessary.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."