Video

Why do members of Congress have to gavel in and gavel out during recess?

Roll Call explains the pro forma session

Unless the House and Senate agree on an adjournment resolution, both chambers must gavel in twice-weekly for pro forma sessions during August Recess. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

For lawmakers, August recess is a time to meet with constituents and public officials, and spend time with their families. Unless, of course, they have to come back to Washington to preside over twice-weekly pro forma sessions.

So, why do members have to come back to Washington to turn the chamber lights on and off? Watch as CQ Roll Call’s senior Senate reporter, Niels Lesniewski, explains.

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