The House and the Senate released their legislative schedules for 2013 on Friday, and while they will share a more consistent recess schedule, at least through October, they appear to uphold the recent congressional tradition of working fewer than five days per week when in session.
The House is not scheduled to meet any more than four days per week during the first session of the 113th Congress. A Senate leadership aide said that, although the Senate schedule released did not denote each and every day the chamber would be in session, the assumption going forward is that the Senate will generally be working five-day weeks.
Earlier this week, a group of long-time Washington hands brought together by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Woodrow Wilson Center issued a report aimed at improving how Congress functions. One of the key recommendations was that Congress work five days a week.
The report was summarized and written by Roll Call columnist Don Wolfensberger, who is a scholar at both centers.
Opening day will be Thursday, Jan. 3, as the Constitution requires. The summer recesses for both the House and the Senate will start Aug. 5 and last five weeks — until the Monday after Labor Day, to allow for Rosh Hashana the previous week.
The other recesses on both sides of the Capitol will be the week of Feb. 18 (which begins on Presidents Day), the weeks of March 25 and April 5 (which take in both Passover and Easter), the week of April 29, the week of May 27 (which starts on Memorial Day), the week of July 1 (Independence Day is that Thursday), and the week of Oct. 14 (which starts on Columbus Day).
As has been the Democratic leadership’s custom for many years now, there is no target adjournment for the Senate. But Cantor envisions a fall for the House including recesses the weeks of Nov. 4 and Nov. 25, and an adjournment for the year by Dec. 13. The Senate schedule only goes through Nov. 11, which is marked as a day off to observe Veterans Day.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.