Charting Days Members of Congress Spend in ‘Session’

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Policy & Politics

Time is winding down on another year of congressional business. How much time have representatives and senators worked this year compared to the past?

Senators, on average, were in session about 155 days a year over the last three decades. This year: 169. Representatives worked less: about 138 days, on average, over that time. This year (as of Dec. 20): 170. 

To be sure, governing America is different than the average American job. But how much might they have been expected to work compared to the rest of us? Some context

There are 365 days per year and about 104 weekend days. This is 260 days. If you subtract the 10 legal bank holidays taken this would be about 250 business days a year.

This chart, created from Library of Congress records, shows how many days each chamber was in session over the last three decades. The Senate’s top year was 1995, after Republicans took over the House in the “Contract with America” sweep (209 days). The House’s top year was 1979 (173 days): 

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One thought on “Charting Days Members of Congress Spend in ‘Session’

  1. Our elected officials should be no different than anyone else. With the few No. of days worked each year, these officials sholuld be required to attend 95% of the sessions or their pay shokuld be docked for each additional day misses. We did not elect these people to take an indefinat e vacation. They are suppose to be helping to better this coun try aand not play politics.

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