Pinterest Google+

From our friends at Cloture Club

The background on August recess.

Cloture Detective: August Recess

Dear Cloture Detective,

With it being June and I’m already expecting a crazy summer with the Appropriations bills and the debt ceiling debate, I’m already looking forward to August Recess.  This got me thinking about the background of where August Recess came from.  Did like, Members always have a nice month long break or is this something that is relatively recent.  Thanks!

~ Heart of Dixie Staff Assistant.

Dear Heart of Dixie,

I can’t WAIT for August Recess…. ugh, it’s going to be a rough few months.  That said, there have been periods of time where Congress adjourned throughout the month of August as far back as the second session of the 1st Congress in 1790.  Congress is known to have adjourned in the month of August for the first time on August 12, 1790 which lasted until the beginning of the 3rd session of the 1st Congress on December 6, 1790.  However, the official ‘August Recess’ as it is known today is actually a relatively recent occurance in the history of Congress.  The formalization of an ‘August Recess’ occured in 1970 with the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970.  Section 132(a) of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 provides as follows:

“Unless otherwise provided by the Congress, the two Houses shall—

(1) adjourn sine die not later than July 31 of each year; or (2) in the case of an odd-numbered year, provide, not later than July 31 of such year, by concurrent resolution adopted in each House by roll call vote, for the adjournment of the two Houses from that Friday in August which occurs at least thirty days before the first Monday in September (Labor Day) of such year to the second day after Labor Day.
(b) This section shall not be applicable in any year if on July 31 of such year a state of war exists pursuant to a declaration of war by the Congress.”

Since that time, Congress has occasionally met in August, as sometimes the session continued into the first couple of days.  Hope that answers your question!  Both House and Senate leadership determine when their respective chambers are to leave for August Recess, so I’d make plans for Disney World or Ocean City Maryland by first checking out the Legislative Calendars for each chamber on the House and Senate Majority Leader’s websites.  Have a fun and safe summer!