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US Government

What is the difference in congressional recess and adjournment?


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Adjournments are distinct from recesses, with different procedural implications. In the House, recesses are normally taken for short periods during a legislative day, while adjournments are used to end the day. In the Senate, recesses are usually taken during the day and frequently to end the day as well. In both chambers, a recess keeps the body in the same legislative day, even if the recess extends overnight into another calendar day, while an adjournment ends a legislative day. The distinction between a legislative day and a calendar day has significant procedural consequences in the Senate, but matters little in the House. Contrary to an adjournment, when the House is in recess, the chamber remains "open" for certain specific business: bills may be introduced, messages from the President or the other chamber may be received, committee reports may be filed, and the mace remains in place on its pedestal on the rostrum. When the Senate stands in recess, it is considered "closed," with no business in order. The Constitution (Article I, section 5), says that neither House of Congress may adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other. Adjournments There are four types of adjournment: * (1) adjournments to end the day, which are accomplished through a motion to adjourn. * (2) adjournments of a stated period of three days or less, which are achieved by adoption of a motion to adjourn; * (3) adjournments of more than three days, which require the consent of the other chamber are accomplished by adoption of a concurrent resolution in both bodies; and * (4) adjournments "sine die", which end each session of a Congress, require the consent of both chambers, and which are realized by adoption of a concurrent resolution by both. Recesses In the House, a recess is taken by either (1) the presiding officer using his authority under standing rules to declare a brief recess "subject to the call of the Chair"; (2) adoption by the chamber of a motion to recess for up to three days, or (3) adoption by the chamber of a motion granting the Chair authority to declare one or more recesses within a stated period of time. In the Senate, the Chair has no inherent authority to declare recesses. Recesses are accomplished only (1) by the full body giving unanimous consent to hold recesses "subject to the call of the Chair," or (2) by adopting a motion to recess, offered by any Senator from the floor.