House Republicans overhaul work calendar
December 9th, 2010
01:26 AM ET
12 years ago

House Republicans overhaul work calendar

WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Republicans promised to run the House of Representatives differently than the Democrats, and they are starting with an overhaul of the work calendar for next year.

Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, released a schedule on Wednesday which plans for mostly four-day work weeks in Washington, and also includes regular "constituent work weeks" for members to spend back in their districts. House sessions would go for two weeks, followed by a week back home in the district.

Cantor said Republicans told leaders they wanted to cut back time in Washington to interact with constituents back home during the week, instead of mainly on weekends.

"American voters sent us a resounding message in November - Washington is out of touch with their concerns and priorities," he said in a letter.

"Through much deliberation during the transition process, members indicated the need to return home to listen to their constituents on a regular basis."

GOP members frequently criticized Democratic leaders for short work weeks, often only three days in session, with few votes on the floor.

Cantor's letter indicated their new schedule will have the House in session for about the same number of days as the Democrats did – 123 for 2011.

But a House Democratic aide tells CNN that the House was in session 148 days last year.

Cantor's letter explained, "The goal for this Congress is to stress quality over quantity in terms of the flow of legislation to the House floor. I intend to lengthen the time for consideration of bills in order to improve quality and deliver results."

Republicans pledge no more late night votes, the first votes of the week will be at 6:30 p.m. and the last vote each week will be no later than 3 p.m.

In order to give committees time to hold hearings and work on legislation, votes won't be any earlier than 1 p.m. or any later than 7 p.m. on most days.

GOP leaders already announced they are banning votes on bills that congratulate sports teams or commemorate individuals or groups.

The new session will start January 5, when new members will be sworn in and the House will vote on rules governing the chamber.

It will also officially vote to elect John Boehner as the Speaker of the House.

In previous years, the House set a "target adjournment date" to wrap up business for sometime in the early fall.

But because leaders are often unable to finish legislative business by then, the GOP has set December 8 as the final day of session for next year.

Filed under: House
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Ken in NC


    So they will work 2 fewer weeks next year than this year. That is equal half of one month of earnings. That should save the country a sum of money also. OOOOoooops. I bet they are not going to make a financial adjustment down in their pay for the 2 weeks they are not working next year. What am I thinking. They are Republicans and their first objective is smaller government and this is going to be their first step in that direction. Of course it's also one way of skirting the Pay Raise Law which prevents Congress from voting a pay raise that would benefit the sitting Congress. In this manner, by working fewer days at the same rate of pay, they in effect give themselves a pay raise. Ya gotta love these Republicans.

    December 9, 2010 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
  2. Chris

    Typical Republican hypocrisy – the GOP criticized the Democrats for spending enough days working. Then once they get in power, they create a schedule that has them working even less days than the Dems.

    And who wants to bet "spending more time with their constituents" will translate into playing more rounds of golf? Oh, I forgot – country clubs are the best places to meet the kind of constituents that the Republicans actually care about.

    December 9, 2010 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  3. Willy Brown

    Spend more time with the voters in their districts tan the democrats ever did. How shocking, this is Bush’s fault.

    December 9, 2010 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  4. 8 Years of "Trickle Down" economics has only left a dribbling wet spot on working Americans's shoes!

    Translation of Republicanese: We want more vacation time and even LESS working for our salary.

    December 9, 2010 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  5. Name king

    Cantor you need to get yourself in order and understand that sometimes what the people want is not what the people needs. You have broken the first objective of what the people wanted and needed, by holding hostage unemployment for millions of people and push farward tax cut ls which the people told you didn't want. You represent all the people not just the tea baggers that is willing to doom themselves, to make the rich live comfortable. The Trikle down pie have to share to all the world, where big corporations are operating at, so tell me how much of that pie will be left for America when china and India gets it's share. It's time you guys help America and stop putting down the middle class, so that it's wages, mirrors over seas wages to pay every one the same
    minimum wage.

    December 9, 2010 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  6. anthony

    Given that they have already gotten what they want (tax cuts for the next two years), other than political posturing (repealing the health care bill), there is little for them to do in Washington. Oh sure they can try to defund the health care program, but once the voters see that the deficit does not go down after Republicans take over the House next year and spending is restored to 2008 level, they will finally understand where the deficit came from (the Bush tax cuts, the recession, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan).

    December 9, 2010 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  7. Kathy

    Wow! I wish I could get free healthcare paid by taxpayers and a 4 day work week, but, I actually work for a living. And please tell me how putting the King of Pork (Hal Rogers) in charge of the purse strings is a smart thing to do??? Maybe the abandoned airport in his home town needs another 16 million dollars!!

    December 9, 2010 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  8. slipthalo

    Less days in session so they can spend more time with the constituents at home? I think it's more like they can spend more time on the golf courses but no less pay. Let's see how much they get done with about 1/3 of the year actually spent being on the job. Ridiculous but then it's the Republicans.

    December 9, 2010 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  9. FM

    "House Republicans promised to run the House of Representatives differently than the Democrats"
    This is the big joke. These are the people who were almost to eat the Dems alive that they made a deal during Health Care Reform, while now we have witnessed the deal they agreed on Bush Tax Cut. It is all the same. They should not to fool anyone!

    December 9, 2010 08:18 am at 8:18 am |