The Hill’s History-Cast: August Recess and Manufactured Weather

Everyone in Washington loves August recess. Everyone outside D.C. sees Congress's annual monthlong break as a symptom of what's wrong with a broken and dysfunctional legislature. But August recess is the only congressional break that's actually mandated by law.


The story of how Congress came to take a month off is the story of a nation's growing pains, of a part-time job that suddenly became a year-round profession, and of a generation of younger senators who wanted to get back home to visit with their constituents.


And August recess is a great way to beat the heat - better than one proposal to put giant blocks of ice in the Capitol, or another that would have knocked out a wall of the Senate chamber to get the air circulating.


In our latest episode, we take a deep dive into the history of August recess, why Congress gets to take a month off - and why it's not really a vacation at all.