Immigration Reform 2013: Whether Or Not a Bill Passes, Congress Gets Its Summer Vacay

In the midst of voting on immigration reform, Congress is gearing up for its summer recess, though legislators are hopeful that a decision will be made on immigration reform before the July 4 vacation comes around. Many believe it is unlikely that Congress will be able to pass a bill before this deadline, knowing at the same time that delaying the bill will make passage more difficult. The task then is to make sure all loose ends are tied up before going on a summer break, because at this point it is almost mandatory for Congress to have a summer vacation.

Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said he “wouldn’t bet a great deal of money on meeting the July 4th deadline,” according to a TIME article. Even so, missing July 4 would slow the pace for events in the coming weeks and days.

President Obama himself is planning to take two weeks off in August and Congress usually takes at least a month of vacation as well. The advocacy group Obama for America is pushing for immigration and health care reform this summer with plans to organize and promote throughout the summer. As this TIME article points out the practice of an annual summer break by Congress became mandated after the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970. Of course, before this time those in Congress were still eager to escape Washington before the onset of the heat.

The most one can hope for at this point is for some sort of preliminary agreement. Lawmakers could agree to push back the date of a decision, though that is unlikely to occur. For his part, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was quoted as saying to reporters that, “I don’t see any way of bringing an immigration reform bill to the floor that doesn’t have the majority support of Republicans.” 

Those in Congress want and probably need a break, since suffering through Washington, D.C. heat and humidity over the summer isn't really anyone's idea of a good time. Should they get a break? Well, at this point one has to remember that even though it hasn't accomplished anything, this hasn't stopped Congress from treating itself well in the past. They're going to have a summer recess whether we like it or not.