House Republican leaders plan to continue the practice of scheduling one week of recess during each month next year – and will free members up almost entirely in the month before the Nov. 4 mid-term elections, and the week after.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor formally announced the 2014 election year House calendar Thursday, and there's plenty of time outside Washington.
There's a nearly two week spring break in April, and then lawmakers will be out of session for the entire month of August and beyond – extending into first full week of September, which includes Labor Day.
The House will be in recess for another week near the end of September, before returning to Washington for just two days on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30. Lawmakers will then be in Washington the following week for their only two scheduled session days during the entire month of October.
Indeed, there are just 15 scheduled session days over the final two months of the year.
Officially, the second session of this 113th Congress is set to begin with the convening of the House Jan. 7, but that is just one week before government funding officially expires on Jan 15.
Whether the timing becomes an issue depends on whether—and when—the budget conference committee produces a plan to fund the government beyond mid-January, and whether the two chambers approve that plan.
Cantor described the schedule in a statement as a continuation of an approach since Republicans took over the majority in 2011 that "has created certainty, increased efficiency and productivity in the committee process."
But some have criticized Congress this year as being exactly the opposite – historically unproductive. For instance, the House Ways and Means Committee, the powerful tax-writing panel, had yet to move any substantive revenue bills by the beginning of October this year.
And few are likely to consider the shutting down of government for 16 days as a measure of productivity.