Congressman Scott Peters

Representing the 52nd District of California

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House Dem calls for five-day workweek

Apr 3, 2015
In The News

Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) wants the House to work five days a week when it is in session.

 

Lawmakers typically fly in from their districts for Monday votes at 6:30 p.m. and depart Washington by mid-afternoon Thursday. Occasionally the House starts its week Tuesday evening and adjourns Friday afternoon.

But Peters introduced a resolution — on the eve of a two-week congressional recess — that would change the House's standing rules so that it meets five days a week for 39 weeks each year. Weeks that include holidays would be shortened to four voting days.

The California Democrat, who will likely face one of the toughest reelection races next year, argued that establishing five-day workweeks would save money and help lawmakers get to know each other. The resolution is part of Peters's plan of measures to "#FixCongressNow."

"Average Americans work five days a week so there is no reason Congress should not be required to as well. A five-day work week would increase the time members of Congress are able to spend together working on substantive legislation and would help foster bipartisan working relationships. It would also save taxpayer money by reducing travel costs of members traveling between Washington and their districts," a summary from Peters's office states.

The House is currently scheduled to be in session for 34 weeks this year with 18 recess weeks, including the five-week August break. Peters's resolution would allow a maximum of 13 recess weeks.

Many lawmakers have called for five-day congressional workweeks in the past without success. Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) urged the House Rules Committee to make a similar change late last year, but it was not included in the final rules package for the new Congress.