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What Does It Mean When Congress Adjourns?


Clouds move as the sun sets against the west front of the United States Capitol building
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Definition: A Congressional session runs for one year, 3 January to sometime in December. There are two sessions for each "Congress" (odd year to odd year). Adjournment means that Congress is out of session, it is closed to business. This is in contrast to a recess, which we might think of as "time off" or "pause."

After Congress is adjourned, there are formal processes involved in reconvening. The Constitution forbids either the Senate or the House to adjourn for more than three days without the permission of the other chamber.

Congress will adjourn sine die at the close of a session. In election years, this has historically been in October.

Also see Recess


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