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House Members to Spend More Time at Home Next Congress

Members of the House will spend at least one full week in their districts each month during the 112th Congress, according to the new schedule released Wednesday by Republicans.

Majority Leader-designate Eric Cantor (Va.) announced the new schedule in a letter to Members. The schedule will alternate between a Monday-through-Thursday workweek and a Tuesday-through-Friday week.

Votes will be in the afternoon in order to allow committees to meet uninterrupted in the morning, according to Cantor. Special orders on the floor will also take place in the morning.

“It is my intention to start floor votes no sooner than 1:00 p.m. and to regularly end voting on the floor no later than 7:00 p.m. each evening,” Cantor wrote.  “When necessary, the House may continue to debate and consider legislation after 7:00 p.m., but votes will not be held past that point.  As a result, Members will be able to plan their days with more certainty.”

Cantor said 123 days would be spent in session during 2011 and adjournment will be in December.

During their tenure in the minority, Republicans complained frequently that the schedule had become erratic.

Members of the House Republican transition team said last month that the extra time in Members’ districts was particularly important to freshmen. Many of them defeated Democratic incumbents in part because voters thought incumbents had stopped listening and spent too much time in Washington.

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