Both Democrats and Republicans admit it’s harder to get legislation passed in Congress during presidential election years.
Federal lawmakers on both sides say how a particular bill will help or hurt their presidential ambitions is considered in these years, so U.S. Rep. Bob Dold (R-Kenilworth) says it’s a good thing Congress got some major legislative battles worked out late in 2015.
“The transportation bill, in terms of an education bill, in terms of making sure we have a two-year budget agreement, many of those things have been able to be taken off the table,” Dold said.
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While Dold has been through only one presidential election year during his time in Congress, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago) has been through this four times already in his 19-year tenure on Capitol Hill. He agrees that the political climate certainly affects Congress, but feels added pressure from voters will shine a brighter light on what lawmakers are, and aren’t, doing.
“Voters are going to be as engaged as they can possibly be on their issues trying to convince the political parties that if you do this, it’s not just good for us, but it’s also good for you,” Davis said.
Some lawmakers, like U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (R-Taylorville), are simply looking forward to having a new president.
“I think with a lot of the attention that’s been brought to the Republican field it’s going to be good for our eventual nominee,” Davis said.
One noticeable effect of the elections is Congress will spend fewer days in session. The current calendar for the House has 110 scheduled session days, down from 133 in 2015. That includes several long breaks from July 16 to Sept. 6, then again from Oct. 1st to Nov. 14.