When Does Congress Adjourn for the Year?

The August recess was initiated because the Capitol's poor ventilation made long summer sessions unpleasant.(ref 4)
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The U.S. Congress convenes its annual session on January 3 each year unless provisions are made to begin on a different day. Annual congressional sessions usually last most of the year, adjourning in December. There is no actual set date for the adjournment of congressional sessions, though Congress is required to take an August recess in odd-numbered years if not already adjourned by July 31.

1 When Congress Adjourns

In order for either chamber of Congress to adjourn for the year -- or to adjourn for any period longer than three days -- it must obtain permission from the other chamber of Congress. Before adjourning, congressional leaders typically make arrangements to call Congress back into session should an emergency warrant it. Additionally, the president has the authority to call Congress out of adjournment for a special session under extraordinary conditions.

Dell Markey is a full-time journalist. When he isn't writing business spotlights for local community papers, he writes and has owned and operated a small business.