What Happens on January 3 of Odd Numbered Years?


Quick Answer

At noon on January 3 of each odd-numbered year following a general election, the first session of a new Congress commences. Congress may authorize a different day by law if it chooses to do so.

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Full Answer

Each Congress is in session for two years, with each year making up a separate session. Under the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970, Congress must adjourn by July 31 of each year unless there is a declared war or Congress has made other provisions. Congress is required to take a recess in August in odd-numbered years if it does not adjourn by July 31. Neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives is allowed to adjourn for longer than three days, excluding weekends and holidays, without the consent of the other legislative body.

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