Wednesday, February 15, 2006

109th Congress, Second Session, schedules

I've updated the calendars over at Texas AIDS Net to show the schedule for the 109th Congress. The emphasis, of course, is on those times when Congress is not in session, when our congresscritters are (theoretically) available for visits in the home district.

During those periods, called "district work periods" by the House and just plain "not in session" by the Senate, the clever community advocate would make an effort to set up a meeting with the congresscritter in person. Another useful activity in these periods is to invite the congresscritter to visit a local facility so that they can put faces on the epidemic and see what's actually going on in the district. (Food, drink, and awards are sometimes helpful inducements for their attention, by the way.) These things sometimes take a while to set up, so it's not a bad idea to start checking the calendar and planning ahead.

There is some small difference between the Senate schedule and that of the House. I've taken to highlighting the Senate schedule in green on the Network calendars, the House in yellow. Also note that there are lots of one-week breaks early in the year, one long break in August, and an early adjournment "target" in October. The August break is traditionally considered to be an actual vacation time by folks who hang around Washington, DC, too much. (It gets hot and muggy there in August, so they think it's a vacation to come back to Texas in August???) The adjournment target is also just a "target." If they get their work done, they'll get out of school early. If not, that date could change.

Since, however, this is an election year, the House, at least, will be working pretty hard to hit that target. And speaking of election year, after the March primary, there should be some campaign activities around the state. These may also be opportunities to snag a quick visit with a member of Congress. If there are district forums, you can at least attend and ask a question.

No comments: