House to work 17 days in first two months of 2010, says Hoyer

The House will work a total of 17 days during January and February of next year, according to the 2010 legislative calendar released Wednesday by the Majority Leader’s office.

Finishing what many veteran Capitol Hill aides described as the busiest legislative year they can remember, the House now appears to be setting itself up for a significant downshift in 2010.

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“The 111th Congress has confronted enormous national challenges and been incredibly productive during its first session,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in releasing the 2010 House work schedule. “The House has passed major legislation on a range of critical issues, from strengthening our economy to improving healthcare, increasing access to college, and strengthening our national security.”

House leaders have already indicated that plans for a jobs bill, which they’ve pegged as their highest priority now that the fate of healthcare reform lies in the hands of the Senate, may have to wait until January.

But between Democratic and Republican retreats, House leaders have penciled in only eight working days for the entire month of January. That will be followed by a February composed of only nine full working days.

And with midterm elections looming, Democrats have targeted Friday, Oct. 8 as their final day in session.

“The House vote schedule for 2010 allows ample time for us to build on our work from this year, so that we continue creating jobs and addressing our nation’s long-term fiscal problems,” Hoyer said. “The schedule also ensures that members have the opportunity to conduct important work in their districts and hear directly from their constituents about the challenges they are facing.”