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Senators spending more days, but fewer hours per day in session

Data: Brookings Institution, U.S. Senate; Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

Senators are spending more days in session than past congresses — but fewer hours per day on average, according to data from the Brookings Institution and the U.S. Senate.

Why it matters: The Senate pushed to wrap up negotiations on the bipartisan infrastructure package on Wednesday ahead of its longest break of the year. Other lingering work is likely to cut into senators planned August recess, though.


Flashback: In 2018, then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) canceled August recess to pass appropriations bills — taking away critical campaigning time for senators up for re-election that year.

The big picture: Despite those instances, the summer break has generally gotten longer for senators during election years, per Pew.

  • The Senate spent an average of 16 days on August recess during election years between 1972 and 1982. That rose to 38 days between 2006 and 2016.

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