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WASHINGTON-Inside the beltway appears a ghost town in the month of August. This is by design: both tradition and law. There was a plan to bust down walls in the Senate, but a less expensive plan for a “manufactured weather” system was implemented instead in 1929, according to www.senate.gov. However, this proved insufficient for many of the hottest days. Finally, in 1970, in the face of consistently longer congressional sessions, Congress passed the Legislative Reorganization Act, establishing the August recess among other things. The first official August recess began Aug. 6, 1971 and runs through Sept. 9. Though existing law required the House and Senate to adjourn sine die no later than July 31, that had not been accomplished since 1956. Even then it may have been the result of political maneuvering regarding civil rights legislation rather than the typical recess. Legislative business in the 1960s kept Congress busy 296 day a year in contrast to 252 days the previous decade. CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica, a former Democratic representative from Florida, pointed out, “Congress, in the early days, didn’t meet in the summer anyway.” He is also a member of the Congressional Historical Society. He explained that the United States used to be a highly agrarian society and August and September were harvest times for corn and wheat, respectively. Not to mention, D.C. summers are “stifling,” Mica added. “There is an awful lot of humor about Congress and their work schedule.but getting on and off a plane 50 times a year and working weekdays often until 8 at night-it’s a job as well as an honor,” he said. In election years in particular, the recess is not much of a recess, but it is a “welcome relief” in those odd-numbered years. And, that depends on where the legislator is from. Those in California may not get back to their districts as often as Mica was able to-nearly every weekend-because of the long flights. Additionally, he pointed out that in the off-year, it is the only time to catch an extended vacation with the family. Congress’ vacation leaves credit unions hanging on many important issues. What is the future of CURIA in this Congress? A regulatory relief bill was introduced in the House but what will happen in the Senate? Will there be a recess appointment of an NCUA Board member? -

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