FACT CHECK: Did Congress Only Work 111 Days In 2016?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims that Congress only worked 111 days in 2016.

Verdict: False

In 2016, the House and Senate were in session for 131 and 164 days, respectively.

Fact Check:

Though the House and Senate operate independently on different schedules, Congress is always in session during the same two periods each year. The 114th Congress met for its second session from Jan. 4, 2016, to Jan. 3, 2017.

The image, which has been shared on Facebook more than 88,000 times (at the time of publication), alleges that Congress only worked 111 days in 2016 to criticize the work ethic of its legislators.

“That means they did not work almost two-thirds of the year,” reads part of the caption. (RELATED: Have Congressional Salaries Gone Up 231 Percent In The Past 30 Years?)

However, calendars from the 114th Congress indicate that this claim is inaccurate. The Senate met on a total of 165 days during its second session, with 164 days in 2016 and one in 2017; the House met on 131 days. There were 113 days on which the two chambers were in session together.

That isn’t to say legislators don’t work when Congress is not in session. Lawmakers often return to their home states during recesses to meet with constituents and staff, though some choose to stay in D.C. On election years, they may fundraise and campaign for reelection. Their offices in D.C. also remain open.

The 116th Congress, which is currently in its August recess, is set to return from that break Sept. 9.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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