Congress’ Summer Recess: When Does It Begin & End?

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Getty The U.S. Capitol is shown June 5, 2003 in Washington, DC.

Congress has begun its summer recess. So how long is Congress scheduled to be gone? When does the recess begin and end?

July 28th was the House of Representatives’ last day before the August recess; their recess lasts from July 29th all the way until September 5th. That’s how long the Senate’s recess was originally supposed to last, but earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would delay their August recess two weeks. That meant that the Senate’s last day would be Friday, August 11th, and they will return on September 5th.

“In order to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle, the Senate will delay the start of the August recess until the third week of August,” McConnell said upon announcing the delay, according to The Hill.

In actuality, though, the Senate held its final vote on Thursday, August 3rd.

August 3rd was when legislative work ended, although there will still be pro forma sessions held nine times over the next month.

When Mitch McConnell announced that the recess would be extended, he was hoping that the Senate could pass a health care bill in that time. But on Friday, July 28th, the Senate failed to pass an Obamacare repeal bill, and McConnell subsequently said that they would be “moving on.” The Senate took no further action on Obamacare over the following week, much to President Trump’s chagrin.

There had previously been some talk of delaying the August recess in the House just as the recess was delayed in the Senate, but that did not happen. Representative Andy Biggs said on Fox News right before the break week that he couldn’t believe that the House was still taking its full month off.

“Unfortunately, I think we’re going to be gone in August, which is mind-boggling to me,” Biggs told Fox News. “There is so much work to be done…it blows my mind that we’re probably not going to be here in August.”

Then, on Friday afternoon, the House of Representatives officially left for their recess.

When the House of Representatives returns in September, they will work for eight days before taking another week off; they have a recess scheduled for September 15th through September 24th. The Senate does not have this same break.