CAPITOL HILL BUZZ: House in session 111 days next year

AP News
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Posted: Nov 03, 2015 3:28 PM
CAPITOL HILL BUZZ: House in session 111 days next year

WASHINGTON (AP) — Good news for members of Congress who want to really, really, really listen to their constituents (or run really, really, really hard for re-election): The House plans to be out of session far more weekdays than it actually meets next year.

The House has scheduled 111 days in session in 2016, according to the official calendar Republican leaders announced Tuesday. That's fewer than the 150 weekdays the chamber will be dark.

The calendar includes two months when the House doesn't plan to be in session at all: August and October. Congress usually takes most of August off and typically gives lawmakers time to go home in October to campaign in election years, which 2016 is.

The 111 days in session are the fewest House workdays since 2006, when the gavel sounded on 101 days.

Another way to look at it: A full-time worker who gets four weeks of vacation would have roughly 230 days of work next year.

"This calendar ensures that 'the People's House' always remains in-touch with those back home," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a statement as he released the calendar. "Discussing ideas and concerns is a critical function of a responsive, representative democracy, and for this reason, our schedule will continue to provide members considerable time for constituent services in their districts each month."

July, usually a busy month as lawmakers clear the deck for summer, has just nine House workdays scheduled. That's to accommodate the two parties' presidential conventions, with Republicans gathering in Cleveland the week of July 18 and Democrats meeting in Philadelphia the following week.

The Senate is scheduled to meet 149 days next year, compared to 112 weekdays out of session — almost the reverse of the House calendar.

Lawmakers' actual workloads could change if Congress encounters problems completing must-do tasks before legislative deadlines — such as passing spending bills to keep federal agencies open in time for the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year.

But what could go wrong?

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This story has been corrected to show that the House is scheduled to not be in session 150 weekdays next year, not 149.