House GOP Shakes Up Schedule

by Robert Costa

The House GOP is shaking up the congressional calendar — 123 days and 32 weeks of session.

Details from GOP Whip Eric Cantor here:

It is my intention to start floor votes no sooner than 1:00 p.m. and to regularly end voting on the floor no later than 7:00 p.m. each evening.  When necessary, the House may continue to debate and consider legislation after 7:00 p.m., but votes will not be held past that point.  As a result, Members will be able to plan their days with more certainty. 

In addition, I intend to begin votes at 6:30 p.m. on the first day of each week and end votes at 3:00 p.m. on the last day of each week.  (Votes on the last day may be necessary prior to 1:00 p.m.)  All Members will have the ability to return home to their district by Thursday or Friday evening each week, however, the last day of the week will no longer be treated in a perfunctory manner.

Including this year, the House has not adjourned until December for eight straight years.  Therefore, the House’s target adjournment has been moved from the end of the fiscal year to Thursday, December 8, in order to better reflect the anticipated workload of the Congress.  This will allow Members to plan their fall and early winter schedules now.  If we are able to adjourn before December 8, it will be the first time in fourteen years that the House has finished prior to its target adjournment date.

More:

Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, committee oversight hearings have declined by roughly 500 percent.  If we are to reflect the commitment we have made to the voters who elected us, we must reverse this trend. 

During the 112th Congress, it is my intention to create protected committee time each morning we are in session.  Committee meetings will commence at 9:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m.  On the first day of each week, committees will be able to meet – uninterrupted – prior to 6:30 p.m. or after 7:00 p.m.  During the middle two days of each week, committees will be protected from floor votes until 1:00 p.m. and after 7:00 p.m.  Every effort will be made on a last day of the week to limit the number of floor votes from interrupting committee action.  And we will hold ourselves accountable in conducting meaningful and deliberative work by posting committee attendance and votes online.