House of Representatives
Session Dates

Fast Facts

Members of the House take an oath to uphold the Constitution on the House Floor on the opening day of a new Congress.

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Background Information

The Constitution (Article I, Section 4) originally provided that "The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by law appoint a different day." Pursuant to a resolution of the Congress of the Confederation in 1788, the first session of the First Congress under the Constitution convened March 4, 1789. Up to and including May 20, 1820, 18 acts were passed providing for the meeting of Congress on other days in the year. The first and second sessions of the First Congress were held in New York City. Subsequently, Philadelphia was the meeting place through the first session of the Sixth Congress and, since then, Congress has convened in Washington, D.C. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution, proclaimed as ratified February 6, 1933, established noon on the 3rd day of January as the meeting date, unless the Congress by law appoints a different day.