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Unformatted text preview: The Do-Nothing 109 th Congress: The Days in Session for the 109 th Congress Compared to Previous Congresses from 1947-2006 Paul Blumenthal The Sunlight Foundation 2 252 239 230 240 250 260 80th Congress 109th Congress (Projected) Introduction: The second session of the 109 th Congress is set to spend the least amount of time in Washington of any Congress since the second session of the 80 th Congress of 1947-48. The House of Representatives is projected to meet for only 99 days in session, nine days fewer than in 1948. The Senate will wrap up business on the same day as the House, October 6 th . The Senate is projected to meet for 129 days, tying the sixth fewest days a Senate session has met since 1948. The data in this report indicates that this year has produced two of the least convened sessions of Congress since the end of World War II. The House of Representatives: Since 1947 only 16 sessions of Congress have met for less than 130 days. This year the House of Representatives scheduled a mere 88 days in session. At least 23 of those days have votes occurring after 5:30 or 6:30 pm with one voting day ending at 2 pm for Rosh Hashanah. Twelve of these 23 postponed voting days occur on a Monday or a Tuesday following a Monday off. This allows members to come in late on Mondays or Tuesdays just in time to cast a vote. There are also 37 days with no votes on the calendar. Congress has so far failed to meet for 23 of those 37 no vote days with four no vote days remaining. Of the ten no vote days that the House has met, nine of them lasted for no more than 11 minutes. Fewer than one-out-of-three no vote days become a day in session. So far, the House has met for 84 days. Adding up the days left in their schedule (16 days) and calculating that every one-out-of-three No Votes Scheduled days will become a day in session the projected number of days in session for this second session of the 109 th House of Representatives is 99 days (all calculations in this report use this projected number). The 99 days far surpasses the second session of the 80 th House as the least convened session of Congress in the post- war era. This trend of Congress meeting for fewer days has accelerated since 2001. Of all post-war decades Congress met the fewest times on average -- 257 days for both sessions of Congress -- in the 1950s. The three 21 st century Congresses are projected to meet on average for fewer days than the Congresses of the 1950s -- 248 days on average. The number of days days on average....
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This note was uploaded on 02/20/2009 for the course GOVT 3181 taught by Professor Shefter, m during the Spring '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).
- Spring '07
- SHEFTER, M