Can Congress Vote On Immigration Reform Before Its Vacation?

The House has been in session for an average of only 33 days every summer for the last ten years, and the Senate 38.

  • Share
  • Read Later
William Philpott / REUTERS

Capitol Hill interns sit on the National Mall in Washington.

The clock is ticking for immigration reform. On Tuesday, President Obama urged Congress to move quickly on the sweeping reform bill the Senate began debating this week. “There’s no reason Congress can’t get this done by the end of the summer,” he said. The president’s urgency was reminiscent of the way President George W. Bush pushed for his own immigration reform package in 2007. Six years ago this Wednesday, Bush visited Capitol Hill to “make a personal appeal” to Republican senators on behalf of his plan, which included a goal that they vote before Congress’s July 4 recess—the same target recently set for this year’s Senate reform effort by New York Democrat Chuck Schumer.

The Senate couldn’t deliver a vote by July 4 in 2007, however, and Bush’s bill eventually died in the doldrums of summer. Proponents of this year’s version hope for more success. But, they too face a calendar challenge. Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, says that he “wouldn’t bet a great deal of money on meeting the July 4th deadline” this year.

A significant delay in the Senate could make it harder for the House to vote on immigration reform before Congress goes on vacation. The House is scheduled to be in session for just 16 days following the July 4 holiday before lawmakers begin their month-long vacation on August 5th. House Speaker John Boehner has said he hopes the House can vote before then.

Reform advocates worry that if a bill isn’t passed before August, opponents might marshal intense opposition to it in the media and at lawmakers’ town hall meetings, just as they did with Obama’s health care plan in the summer of 2009, which threatened to derail that bill. Ornstein thinks immigration reform could survive Congress’s recess, but that the delay would make passage more difficult.

One question is why August has to be a deadline in the first place. Congress’s annual summer break is a relatively new phenomenon. Back when Congress had no air conditioning, and then only crude “manufactured weather” in its chambers, lawmakers were desperate to escape Washington before the peak of the city’s heat and humidity. But the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970, passed well after the arrival of modern air conditioning, mandated an annual summer break.

Even before August arrives, Capitol Hill often slows down as temperatures rise. According to archived congressional calendars, over the past ten years the House has met for an average of 33 sessions each summer (which lasts for 64 or 65 weekdays). The Senate has convened on approximately 38 days. Staying in touch with constituents is vital for an elected official, but members of Congress usually spend almost half the summer away from the seat of government. That could be bad news for President Obama’s immigration reform goal. (The president, by the way, will reportedly take off two weeks this August.)

Of course, lawmakers could agree to recess later, or not at all. But that’s about as likely as finding cool temperatures in Washington this August.

31 comments
kouvsh790
kouvsh790

Congress should do the right thing and pass the Senate bill best for the best for the United States and immigrants in United States Congress should passed the Senate reform bill Republican should we vote to change and the phone immigration and passed the Senate bill that's what to do need to be done I'm not to the 11 million on documents t*** or more in United States and let the immigration to the port the family of a mi grant in United States.....

kouvsh790
kouvsh790

We need to reform the immigration law and give it eas law to immigrant we are human rgiht nation we should not deporte the families of immigrant if they been here for five years or more Congress should pass the Senate bill immigration reform but 10 years is to long to Upton and green cad thats like a punishment not fair to the emigrant. ...

kouvsh790
kouvsh790

immigration law is vary harsh rgiht not we need to geve amnstey fo 11 milluon on document it in this country because right now immigration deporting lot of people Republicans in Congress should pass the Senate immigration reform bill that's what we are..not to deport the family

DavidFarrar
DavidFarrar

I would certainly hope Congress would do the right thing and table any reconciliation amnesty bill until after the 2014 elections. In this way, the voice of the people can be heard on a piece of legislation that will affect us all.


ex animo

davidfarrar

KennethGlennKoons
KennethGlennKoons

The mess that the Gang put forward in 1200 pages is Obamacare redux. It will be monstrosity after monstrosity trying to con Americans to allow even more illegals in with amnesty and now our Putin on the Potomac will want Syrian Muslims to enter after he fouls up that situation. This unending attack of our American heritage, history and values is due to the insanity of liberalism and socialist utopianism combined in the fevered brains of the Dems in both Houses. It is worse since the RINOS have decided to kill the only opposition to the Dems, the GOP with this bill as they did when they did not go full out to stop Obamacare. Instead of putting these Dems on the ropes with their inept policies and un-American ones to boot, the Pubs cave. See Rubio as he fumbles around on border security. And the Speaker in the House: another dunce who wants the Pubs to be a permanent minority with his clever little deals with Bama and Reid. Yikes.

maldonado_2008
maldonado_2008

yes i need reform immigration NOW for the economy of united states to be better

GrayLiddell
GrayLiddell

All the scandals are a ruse so Congress can pass Immigration without the American people being aware that they are legalizing 11 million illegals who, with family chain immigration, can all bring in their families. So multiply 11 million by about 5 or 6 and you get 55 to 66 million new immigrants. Do you like being a minority? Do you like traffic jams?

 http://dailycaller.com/2013/06/11/wake-up/



curt3rd
curt3rd

Why are they always trying to rush bills through Congress?  Are they scared that the American public might actually find out what is in the bill before it is passed?  They rushed the Obamacare through and look how horrible that has turned out.

CharlesEdwardBrown
CharlesEdwardBrown

NO AMNESTY and NO LEGALIZATION of illegal aliens. The Senate bill must be changed to remove the pathway to US citizenship for illegal aliens and must include laws to make it impossible for an illegal alien to get or keep a job.

progressNconserve
progressNconserve

There is nothing good in this "comprehensive immigration reform" for the average citizen of the US.  It must be stopped.

Visit NumbersUSA and learn how to send free faxes to Senators and Representatives demanding that it be stopped.

Nogig
Nogig

It seems corporations are right -- Americans are just too stupid to keep their jobs.  The magician has shown us BOTH his hands -- and yet no one has even asked the most basic of questions.   

Just WHY is the Senate advancing an historic and MASSIVE of corporate OUTSOURCING even as citizens cry for work and their wages fall?

And make no mistake, this legislation was written by corporate lobbyist before wrapping as "immigration reform".   This is legislation so bereft of protections that corporations will have free reign to recruit foreigners for direct replacement of their US workforce.

And don't believe the propaganda emulating from the tech Titians -- and the hundreds of millions they‘re now spend on lobbying, propaganda, diverting attention and silencing the voice of citizens.    Every element in the corporate script, from "skilled labor shortage", 1000s of unfilled jobs" through "best and brightest", is now a PROVEN falsehood. 

Just where are the corporate chieftains willing to assert these "facts" under sworn oath -- and penalty of perjury?   Lacking any factual basis, they’re now resorting to armies of non-citizens (ref. KeepUsHere.org) to advance their case.  Yet there's an abundance of citizens with all skills, education and intelligence for every available jobs.  They just can't get hired.

And why, in the fact of widespread evidence of visa fraud, worker abuse -- and the top ten users who being off-shore outsourcers,  would the Senate increase these by 1.6 million in just the first year?  These programs are corupt, ill-conceived, highly damaging to our nation and citizens.  Even their creator agrees.

And has anyone thought through the impact to our children – and the cost of higher education – from tech CEO's dream of unlimited green cards for foreign graduates?  Yet, it is now included in this Senate legislation. 

If you're not actively writing your Senators and Congressmen, then you are a FOOL.  NO ONE is representing YOUR interests.   Those fortunate to have jobs will soon train foreign replacements and clean out their desks.

cent-fan
cent-fan

Considering the House will only look at the bill if there is a machinegun emplacement every 100 yards along the entire Mexican border (no fears of Canada) and they'll insist on paying for it by dissolving the EPA and the ATF then no, nothing will happen.  An article even debating the possibility is a waste of internet space.

NP042
NP042

"According to archived congressional calendars, over the past ten years the House has met for an average of 33 sessions each summer (which lasts for 64 or 65 weekdays). The Senate has convened on approximately 38 days."



They still work more than those blasted teachers herp derp!

grape_crush
grape_crush

> "Can Congress Vote On Immigration Reform Before Its Vacation?"

Yes they can. 

No they will not.

MrObvious
MrObvious

That require work and that one half of the political system want to legislate in the first place. They don't - so no. It's all smoke and mirrors anyways,

CharlesEdwardBrown
CharlesEdwardBrown

The Senate bill is terrible and will require a lot of work. NO AMNESTY and No Pathway to US Citizenship for illegal aliens. We need a policy that will not reward people for breaking the law. The E-Verify provisions are a joke. We need to make it impossible for illegal aliens to get or even keep a job in the United States. Deport all illegal aliens.

retiredvet
retiredvet

There's absolutely nothing more important to Congress than time off.

DavidFarrar
DavidFarrar

The one unassailable lesson we have all learned, or should have learned, since the last 1986 'experiment' in finding 'pathways to citizenship' is that nobody can stop illegal immigration unless the economic incentives are first removed. That's the cold, hard truth of the matter. One of the first and, perhaps the biggest, and yet the least talks about incentives is terminating birthright citizenship for illegal alien offspring born in this country. It must end before any serious 'pathway to citizenship' can be accepted. 

ex animo

davidfarrar

drudown
drudown

Taken to its illogical conclusion, proponents of the immigration "reform" seem incapable of even "debating" the necessary and proper Constitutional scrutiny. This desire to "hurry" along such a sweeping change to the direction of our Nation? A commercially reasonable concern that the larger populace desires a cost/benefit analysis BEFORE our corrupted Congress "materially dilutes" the People's voting power, that is- without a vote or official declaration. From whence comes this unseasonable opposition to identifying the source of funds to subsidize this and future migrations? 

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties." - Samuel Adams

While some GOP deem global warming to be a "hoax", everyone agrees "loose nukes" are a real threat, regardless of unpredictable weather that burns too warm or to endure seasons too wet. Pity, isn't it, that the Congress cannot even protect our own borders as a mere courtesy, as if, in the end, this underground highway cannot extend, or the piggy bank won't break under the "no new taxes, ever" dogma, but "all our problems will end".

Oh, that's right. Thanks again, GOP. Forget actually raising money to make our lives better and, well, at least regulate the depletion of fish stocks and forests that will sharply grow thinner, it is your refusal to concede your positions are made solely on account of being paid, that resembles a drowning boy or hapless swimmer. 

Sadly, here with the immigration "reform", when I hear my fellow liberals try to stifle such a robust debate on the merits under the auspices that, well, the "subject" indirectly "relates to race" is it not regrettably reminiscent of the same "groupthink" learned minds rejected in the what seemed like the GOP's self-fulfilling prophecy invasion of Iraq under false pretenses? "We...just...can't...consider...a better, more fiscally prudent...alternative" With Iraq, few people in Congress even asked "why are US taxpayer funds being diverted to 'rebuilding' Arab sovereigns not our own?" By analogy, why should US taxpayer funds be used to subsidize the "dreams" of Foreign nationals that violated our laws to enter our jurisdiction? With the latter, talk about an unconscionable subversion of the Equal Protection Clause. It (literally) singles out a "class" of citizens based on their race and culture. Tell me, how is THAT not illegal, but the IRS "targeting" sham charities pursuing political agendas is? Any such favoritism or "targeting" for political ends is unlawful across the board, is it not?

What, THIS "class" of lawbreakers gets "amnesty"...but not, say, medicinal marijuana users authorized by their private physician to seek relief? Tell me, why don't other "classes" of people that violated other statutes receive "amnesty" like the Latino voting bloc? Here, it is a naked, arbitrary expression of State Action that improperly favors a SUSPECT CLASS for mere partisan advantage. The fact it will ultimately "help" the party I vote for is immaterial to the "least reported" aspect of the "reform", i.e., how does it not violate the Equal Protection Clause on its face, much less via application? What, "only" Latino people here illegally get "amnesty"? Or is the State going to just "reward" EVERY person here illegally to comport with the Equal Protection Clause? 

(sigh.) 

Unbelievable. Hmm, has ANYONE in the Media (on the right or left) has even questioned whether or not such State Action is even legal to begin with and, by logical extension, why or why not? Taken to its illogical conclusion, the SAME CRITICS of the IRS "scandal" apparently have no problem with the State "singling out" Latinos for different "treatment", i.e., as long as it suits the GOP's political ends, it isn't a "scandal" to the "Conservative" Media. 

What a farce. 

Conspicuously, the proponents of this "amnesty" plan seem to live in this make believe world where half the Congress is not adamantly opposed to raising a THIN DIME of new revenue. And yet, inexplicably, they point to some Social Security "study", as if, in the end, there are not OTHER, substantial educational, legal, judicial, penal, health care and administrative costs that simply arise from being a member of US society. Simply "bestowing" citizenship does NOT pay for the foreseeable costs anymore than providing them an American flag shall provide shelter. These are all REAL WORLD considerations that seem to become obfuscated by placing the "race card", however ill-advised that may be, i.e., the entire "reform" purports to treat a single "class" of citizens differently under the law. I make these inferences dispassionately. 

Either the State Action is impartial, or it is not impartial. Playing the "race card" is immaterial. 

We cannot turn away from the express mandate of the plain language of the Constitution, or it be rendered a mere nullity.

Lest we change the very definition of the rule of law and our sovereignty. 

"Though I look down again on the dusty world/

What is that land of dreams to me?" - Han Shan


tkulaga
tkulaga

Not with Boehner in charge of the House.

BeckyLove
BeckyLove

@DavidFarrar Are you kidding?  People's voices had been here for too long now .... it is time to get up and do something or have the courage and the manhood to straight away deny and not keep millions of people on hope forever;  what would you do if the doctors kept on taking time and did not even tell you whether he can treat you or not?  You will never understand because basically you are selfish with a hard heart.

BeckyLove
BeckyLove

@maldonado_2008 and yes i need the reform to save millions of families from being broken apart in addition to the economy of course.  I agree with you fully.

BeckyLove
BeckyLove

@GrayLiddell The people are already here ... you are singing the nursery rhymes of the 18th century with closed eyes;  open your eyes and try to see ....  

the traffic jam will be there but with people more careful as they will have a license and will be easily detected and not to mention for the fear of paying the traffic violation tickets ... you will not only face economic crisis without immigration but also a probable civil war .... i guess ....

BeckyLove
BeckyLove

@curt3rd People like you NEED NOT SEE THE BILL ... cause you don't have the credibility to understand it as you seem to be a blind selfish person who is so stubborn to see the truth....

BeckyLove
BeckyLove

@CharlesEdwardBrown Nobody is talking about amnesty here - but I guess you are purposely saying the wrong words to confuse people to get to your side;  if you think it is amnesty, then you deserve to deport yourself.  This is a land of intelligent and hard working sincere people not you.

BeckyLove
BeckyLove

@progressNconserve And you sound like Zimmerman who thought Trayvon was up to no good .... and so he killed him.  You are either a hard-core tea bag or blind-folded due your personal benefits.

TatianaRomanova
TatianaRomanova

@cent-fan  Do you think the HOuse can be that sensible?  I sure hope so.


This effort to legalize criminals and import cheap labor will be defeated by a coalition of working class democrats and working class Republicans who will unite and undo the fat cat cheap labor plan.  The only immigration reform we need:   If you hire an illegal, you lose your citizenship

CharlesEdwardBrown
CharlesEdwardBrown

@tkulaga Let us all pray that we can deport all the 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States or we will have 30 million more in 30 years.

NP042
NP042

@CharlesEdwardBrown @tkulaga The (relatively) sudden and potentially violent uprooting of 11 million people certainly seems like something God would be in favor of.