They’re gone ‘til November.
After swiftly dispatching with their labors of keeping the government funded and authorizing the training of Syrian rebels, Congress headed home Thursday night for its scheduled break for the rest of the month.
And next month. And part of the NEXT month.
The U.S. House has been in session for roll call votes a total of 92 days in 2014 – or 35% of the year up until now. (They had "pro forma" sessions - without any legislative business - for an additional 25 days.)
The Senate’s been working slightly less, holding roll call votes on just 87 days this year, with an additional 30 days of "pro forma' sessions, when most lawmakers aren't in Washington.
Those of us working a typical 5-day work week, with public holidays, would have been clocking in for a total of somewhere around 181 days during that time.
Congress always takes a hefty break from legislating to go about campaigning. Members up for re-election need time to court their constituents, the logic goes. And – frankly – not that much useful legislating gets done when pesky controversial votes could be used in last-minute political ads.
But this Congress has done even less work in the pre-election doldrums than it did in the last two election cycles.
In that time, the House held 515 roll call votes. In 2012 – a presidential election year – it held 603 votes before the fall break. And in the midterm cycle in 2010, the House mustered 565 votes.
So far this year, Congress has passed just 163 bills into law. At the same time in the 112th Congress, 173 bills had made it to the president's desk.
Their next chance to pick up the pace? When they get back to work -- on November 12.