The House of Representatives will be in session for 132 days next year, 20 more days than in 2014.
According to the official House calendar, released this week by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the first session of the 114th Congress will begin on Jan. 6, 2015.
“In the coming year, we have much work to do on behalf of the American people, and this calendar reflects our commitment to a thorough and transparent legislative process,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy said that morning hours will be reserved for committees, so that they “have the necessary time to carry out their essential policymaking and oversight duties.” Floor votes are scheduled in the afternoons and evenings. Votes will take place until 7 p.m. during the week, with the exception of appropriation bills, which may require later votes.
There are no five-day work weeks scheduled, and on the last day in session, votes will take place no later than 3 p.m. in order to facilitate the members’ travel back to their districts.
District work weeks provide an invaluable opportunity for us to meet with and listen to our constituents. Discussing ideas and concerns is a critical function of our responsive, representative democracy, and for this reason, our schedule will continue to provide considerable time for constituent services in our district each month.
According to McCarthy, the calendar provides “certainty” to members and their staffs, and provides “the most efficient, productive Congress possible for the people we represent.”
“This calendar ensures that ‘the People’s House’ always remains in touch with those who sent us here to serve,” said McCarthy.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, released a draft calendar this week. The upper chamber is slatted to be in session for 188 days in 2015, beginning on Jan. 6. That’s also an increase from 2014.
So will the increased number of days Congress is in session make a difference?
Dan Holler, the communications director at Heritage Action for America, said that “the number of legislative days is less important than the actions taken in those days.”