Congress Shortens Number Of Sessions For 2016 Calendar

| by Robert Fowler
The U.S. Capitol HillThe U.S. Capitol Hill

On Nov. 3, Congressional leaders released the 2016 schedules for both the House and Senate. Both chambers have shortened their number of workdays for the upcoming election year.

The newly released schedules show that the House will only convene for 111 days in 2016, which is a good deal less than the 150 days they won't in session, the Associated Press reports. This is typical in an election year, affording congressmen time to raise campaign funds in their home states and stump for presidential candidates. The Senate will meet for 149 days, and they will have off for 112 days. 

While an August break is common in the House, in 2016 the chamber will not convene from July 15 to Sept. 6, CBS reports. Both parties will host their presidential conventions during this break period. The Republican National Convention will be held from July 18-21 ,while the Democratic National Conventions spans from July 25-28.

The House will also be breaking throughout the month of October in order to prepare for the 2016 election, which is also normal procedure during an election year.

2016 will be the fewest amount of workdays for the House in a decade, the AP reports.

The calendars were released by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

"This calendar ensures that 'the People's House' always remains in-touch with those back home," McCarthy said, according to AP. "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."

This shortened work schedule follows a modestly productive year for Congress, with 49 bills passed as of Aug. 28, the Pew Research Center notes. This compares favorably to 2013, when only 31 bills had been passed as of the August recess.

The newly released schedules arrive after Congress had passed a budget bill to avoid the U.S. defaulting on its debts, AP reports in a separate article. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law Nov. 2, one day before the default deadline.

Sources: AP via Star Tribune, AP via Yahoo! NewsCBS, Pew Research Center / Photo Credit: Wally Gobetz/Flickr, Elliott P./Flickr