House Rule I - The Speaker

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Rule for the 111th Congress (2009-2010)

Approval of the Journal

1. The Speaker shall take the Chair on every legislative day precisely at the hour to which the House last adjourned and immediately call the House to order. Having examined and approved the Journal of the last day's proceedings, the Speaker shall announce to the House approval thereof. The Speaker's approval of the Journal shall be deemed agreed to unless a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner demands a vote thereon. If such a vote is decided in the affirmative, it shall not be subject to a motion to reconsider. If such a vote is decided in the negative, then one motion that the Journal be read shall be privileged, shall be decided without debate, and shall not be subject to a motion to reconsider.

Preservation of order

2. The Speaker shall preserve order and decorum and, in case of disturbance or disorderly conduct in the galleries or in the lobby, may cause the same to be cleared.

Control of Capitol facilities

3. Except as otherwise provided by rule or law, the Speaker shall have general control of the Hall of the House, the corridors and passages in the part of the Capitol assigned to the use of the House, and the disposal of unappropriated rooms in that part of the Capitol.

Signature of documents

4. The Speaker shall sign all acts and joint resolutions passed by the two Houses and all writs, warrants, and subpoenas of, or issued by order of, the House. The Speaker may sign enrolled bills and joint resolutions whether or not the House is in session.

Questions of order

5. The Speaker shall decide all questions of order, subject to appeal by a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner. On such an appeal a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not speak more than once without permission of the House.

Form of a question

6. The Speaker shall rise to put a question but may state it sitting. The Speaker shall put a question in this form: Those in favor (of the question), say 'Aye.' ; and after the affirmative voice is expressed, Those opposed, say 'No.' . After a vote by voice under this clause, the Speaker may use such voting procedures as may be invoked under rule XX.

Discretion to vote

7. The Speaker is not required to vote in ordinary legislative proceedings, except when such vote would be decisive or when the House is engaged in voting by ballot.

Speaker pro tempore

8. (a) The Speaker may appoint a Member to perform the duties of the Chair. Except as specified in paragraph (b), such an appointment may not extend beyond three legislative days.

(b)(1) In the case of illness, the Speaker may appoint a Member to perform the duties of the Chair for a period not exceeding 10 days, subject to the approval of the House. If the Speaker is absent and has omitted to make such an appointment, then the House shall elect a Speaker pro tempore to act during the absence of the Speaker.
(2) With the approval of the House, the Speaker may appoint a Member to act as Speaker pro tempore only to sign enrolled bills and joint resolutions for a specified period of time.
(3)(A) In the case of a vacancy in the office of Speaker, the next Member on the list described in subdivision (B) shall act as Speaker pro tempore until the election of a Speaker or a Speaker pro tempore. Pending such election the Member acting as Speaker pro tempore may exercise such authorities of the Office of Speaker as may be necessary and appropriate to that end.
(B) As soon as practicable after the election of the Speaker and whenever appropriate thereafter, the Speaker shall deliver to the Clerk a list of Members in the order in which each shall act as Speaker pro tempore under subdivision (A).
(C) For purposes of subdivision (A), a vacancy in the office of Speaker may exist by reason of the physical inability of the Speaker to discharge the duties of the office.

Other responsibilities

9. The Speaker, in consultation with the Minority Leader, shall develop through an appropriate entity of the House a system for drug testing in the House. The system may provide for the testing of a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House, and otherwise shall be comparable in scope to the system for drug testing in the executive branch pursuant to Executive Order 12564 (Sept. 15, 1986). The expenses of the system may be paid from applicable accounts of the House for official expenses.

Designation of travel

10.The Speaker may designate a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House to travel on the business of the House within or without the United States, whether the House is meeting, has recessed, or has adjourned. Expenses for such travel may be paid from applicable accounts of the House described in clause 1(j)(1) of rule X on vouchers approved and signed solely by the Speaker.

Committee appointment

11. The Speaker shall appoint all select, joint, and conference committees ordered by the House. At any time after an original appointment, the Speaker may remove Members, Delegates, or the Resident Commissioner from, or appoint additional Members, Delegates, or the Resident Commissioner to, a select or conference committee. In appointing Members, Delegates, or the Resident Commissioner to conference committees, the Speaker shall appoint no less than a majority who generally supported the House position as determined by the Speaker, shall name those who are primarily responsible for the legislation, and shall, to the fullest extent feasible, include the principal proponents of the major provisions of the bill or resolution passed or adopted by the House.

Recess and convening authorities

12.

(a) To suspend the business of the House for a short time when no question is pending before the House, the Speaker may declare a recess subject to the call of the Chair.
(b)
(1) To suspend the business of the House when notified of an imminent threat to its safety, the Speaker may declare an emergency recess subject to the call of the Chair.
(2) To suspend the business of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union when notified of an imminent threat to its safety, the Chair of the Committee of the Whole may declare an emergency recess subject to the call of the Chair.
(c) During any recess or adjournment of not more than three days, if the Speaker is notified by the Sergeant-at-Arms of an imminent impairment of the place of reconvening at the time previously appointed, then the Speaker may, in consultation with the Minority Leader--
(1) postpone the time for reconvening within the limits of clause 4, section 5, article I of the Constitution and notify Members accordingly; or
(2) reconvene the House before the time previously appointed solely to declare the House in recess within the limits of clause 4, section 5, article I of the Constitution and notify Members accordingly.
(d) The Speaker may convene the House in a place at the seat of government other than the Hall of the House whenever, in the opinion of the Speaker, the public interest shall warrant it.

Changes to rule in the 110th Congress

There were no changes to the rule in the 110th Congress.

Rule for the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

Approval of the Journal

1. The Speaker shall take the Chair on every legislative day precisely at the hour to which the House last adjourned and immediately call the House to order. Having examined and approved the Journal of the last day’s proceedings, the Speaker shall announce to the House his approval thereof. The Speaker’s approval of the Journal shall be deemed agreed to unless a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner demands a vote thereon. If such a vote is decided in the affirmative, it shall not be subject to a motion to reconsider. If such a vote is decided in the negative, then one motion that the Journal be read shall be privileged, shall be decided without debate, and shall not be subject to a motion to reconsider.

Preservation of order

2. The Speaker shall preserve order and decorum and, in case of disturbance or disorderly conduct in the galleries or in the lobby, may cause the same to be cleared.

Control of Capitol facilities

3. Except as otherwise provided by rule or law, the Speaker shall have general control of the Hall of the House, the corridors and passages in the part of the Capitol assigned to the use of the House, and the disposal of unappropriated rooms in that part of the Capitol.

Signature of documents

4. The Speaker shall sign all acts and joint resolutions passed by the two Houses and all writs, warrants, and subpoenas of, or issued by order of, the House. The Speaker may sign enrolled bills and joint resolutions whether or not the House is in session.

Questions of order

5. The Speaker shall decide all questions of order, subject to appeal by a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner. On such an appeal a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not speak more than once without permission of the House.

Form of a question

6. The Speaker shall rise to put a question but may state it sitting. The Speaker shall put a question in this form: ‘‘Those in favor (of the question), say ‘Aye.’ ’’; and after the affirmative voice is expressed, ‘‘Those opposed, say ‘No.’ ’’. After a vote by voice under this clause, the Speaker may use such voting procedures as may be invoked under rule XX.

Discretion to vote

7. The Speaker is not required to vote in ordinary legislative proceedings, except when his vote would be decisive or when the House is engaged in voting by ballot.

Speaker pro tempore

8. (a) The Speaker may appoint a Member to perform the duties of the Chair. Except as specified in paragraph (b), such an appointment may not extend beyond three legislative days.

(b)(1) In the case of his illness, the Speaker may appoint a Member to perform the duties of the Chair for a period not exceeding 10 days, subject to the approval of the House. If the Speaker is absent and has omitted to make such an appointment, then the House shall elect a Speaker pro tempore to act during the absence of the Speaker.
(2) With the approval of the House, the Speaker may appoint a Member to act as Speaker pro tempore only to sign enrolled bills and joint resolutions for a specified period of time.
(3)(A) In the case of a vacancy in the office of Speaker, the next Member on the list described in subdivision (B) shall act as Speaker pro tempore until the election of a Speaker or a Speaker pro tempore. Pending such election the Member acting as Speaker pro tempore may exercise such authorities of the Office of Speaker as may be necessary and appropriate to that end.
(B) As soon as practicable after his election and whenever he deems appropriate thereafter, the Speaker shall deliver to the Clerk a list of Members in the order in which each shall act as Speaker pro tempore under subdivision (A).
(C) For purposes of subdivision (A), a vacancy in the office of Speaker may exist by reason of the physical inability of the Speaker to discharge the duties of the office.

Other responsibilities

9. The Speaker, in consultation with the Minority Leader, shall develop through an appropriate entity of the House a system for drug testing in the House. The system may provide for the testing of a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House, and otherwise shall be comparable in scope to the system for drug testing in the executive branch pursuant to Executive Order 12564 (Sept. 15, 1986). The expenses of the system may be paid from applicable accounts of the House for official expenses.

Designation of travel

10. The Speaker may designate a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House to travel on the business of the House within or without the United States, whether the House is meeting, has recessed, or has adjourned. Expenses for such travel may be paid from applicable accounts of the House described in clause 1(j)(1) of rule X on vouchers approved and signed solely by the Speaker.

Committee appointment

11. The Speaker shall appoint all select, joint, and conference committees ordered by the House. At any time after an original appointment, the Speaker may remove Members, Delegates, or the Resident Commissioner from, or appoint additional Members, Delegates, or the Resident Commissioner to, a select or conference committee. In appointing Members, Delegates, or the Resident Commissioner to conference committees, the Speaker shall appoint no less than a majority who generally supported the House position as determined by the Speaker, shall name those who are primarily responsible for the legislation, and shall, to the fullest extent feasible, include the principal proponents of the major provisions of the bill or resolution passed or adopted by the House.

Recess and convening authorities

12. (a) To suspend the business of the House for a short time when no question is pending before the House, the Speaker may declare a recess subject to the call of the Chair.

(b)(1) To suspend the business of the House when notified of an imminent threat to its safety, the Speaker may declare an emergency recess subject to the call of the Chair.
(2) To suspend the business of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union when notified of an imminent threat to its safety, the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole may declare an emergency recess subject to the call of the Chair.
(c) During any recess or adjournment of not more than three days, if the Speaker is notified by the Sergeant-at-Arms of an imminent impairment of the place of reconvening at the time previously appointed, then he may, in consultation with the Minority Leader—
(1) postpone the time for reconvening within the limits of clause 4, section 5, article I of the Constitution and notify Members accordingly; or
(2) reconvene the House before the time previously appointed solely to declare the House in recess within the limits of clause 4, section 5, article I of the Constitution and notify Members accordingly.
(d) The Speaker may convene the House in a place at the seat of government other than the Hall of the House whenever, in his opinion, the public interest shall warrant it.

Rule for the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Approval of the Journal

1. The Speaker shall take the Chair on every legislative day precisely at the hour to which the House last adjourned and immediately call the House to order. Having examined and approved the Journal of the last day’s proceedings, the Speaker shall announce to the House his approval thereof. The Speaker’s approval of the Journal shall be deemed agreed to unless a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner demands a vote thereon. If such a vote is decided in the affirmative, it shall not be subject to a motion to reconsider. If such a vote is decided in the negative, then one motion that the Journal be read shall be privileged, shall be decided without debate, and shall not be subject to a motion to reconsider.

Preservation of order

2. The Speaker shall preserve order and decorum and, in case of disturbance or disorderly conduct in the galleries or in the lobby, may cause the same to be cleared.

Control of Capitol facilities

3. Except as otherwise provided by rule or law, the Speaker shall have general control of the Hall of the House, the corridors and passages in the part of the Capitol assigned to the use of the House, and the disposal of unappropriated rooms in that part of the Capitol.

Signature of documents

4. The Speaker shall sign all acts and joint resolutions passed by the two Houses and all writs, warrants, and subpoenas of, or issued by order of, the House. The Speaker may sign enrolled bills and joint resolutions whether or not the House is in session.

Questions of order

5. The Speaker shall decide all questions of order, subject to appeal by a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner. On such an appeal a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not speak more than once without permission of the House.

Form of a question

6. The Speaker shall rise to put a question but may state it sitting. The Speaker shall put a question in this form: “Those in favor (of the question), say ‘Aye.’ ”; and after the affirmative voice is expressed, “Those opposed, say ‘No.’ ”. After a vote by voice under this clause, the Speaker may use such voting procedures as may be invoked under rule 20.

Discretion to vote

7. The Speaker is not required to vote in ordinary legislative proceedings, except when his vote would be decisive or when the House is engaged in voting by ballot.

Speaker pro tempore

8. (a) The Speaker may appoint a Member to perform the duties of the Chair. Except as specified in paragraph (b), such an appointment may not extend beyond three legislative days.

(b)(1) In the case of his illness, the Speaker may appoint a Member to perform the duties of the Chair for a period not exceeding 10 days, subject to the approval of the House. If the Speaker is absent and has omitted to make such an appointment, then the House shall elect a Speaker pro tempore to act during the absence of the Speaker.
(2) With the approval of the House, the Speaker may appoint a Member to act as Speaker pro tempore only to sign enrolled bills and joint resolutions for a specified period of time.
(3) (a) In the case of a vacancy in the office of Speaker, the next Member on the list described in subdivision (b) shall act as Speaker pro tempore until the election of Speaker or a Speaker pro tempore. Pending such election the Member acting as Speaker pro tempore may exercise such authorities of the Office of Speaker as may be necessary and appropriate to that end.
(b) As soon as practicable after his election and whenever he deems appropriate thereafter, the Speaker shall deliver to the Clerk a list of Members in the order in which each shall act as Speaker pro tempore under subdivision (a).
(c) For purposes of subdivision (a), a vacancy in the office of Speaker may exist by reason of the physical inability of the Speaker to discharge the duties of the office.

Other responsibilities

9. The Speaker, in consultation with the Minority Leader, shall develop through an appropriate entity of the House a system for drug testing in the House. The system may provide for the testing of a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House, and otherwise shall be comparable in scope to the system for drug testing in the executive branch pursuant to Executive Order 12564 (Sept. 15, 1986). The expenses of the system may be paid from applicable accounts of the House for official expenses.

Designation of travel

10. The Speaker may designate a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House to travel on the business of the House within or without the United States, whether the House is meeting, has recessed, or has adjourned. Expenses for such travel may be paid from applicable accounts of the House described in clause 1(i)(1) of rule X on vouchers approved and signed solely by the Speaker.

Committee appointment

11. The Speaker shall appoint all select, joint, and conference committees ordered by the House. At any time after an original appointment, the Speaker may remove Members, Delegates, or the Resident Commissioner from, or appoint additional Members, Delegates, or the Resident Commissioner to, a select or conference committee. In appointing Members, Delegates, or the Resident Commissioner to conference committees, the Speaker shall appoint no less than a majority who generally supported the House position as determined by the Speaker, shall name those who are primarily responsible for the legislation, and shall, to the fullest extent feasible, include the principal proponents of the major provisions of the bill or resolution passed or adopted by the House.

Recess and convening authorities

12. (a) To suspend the business of the House for a short time when no question is pending before the House, the Speaker may declare a recess subject to the call of the Chair.

(b) To suspend the business of the House when notified of an imminent threat to its safety, the Speaker may declare an emergency recess subject to the call of the chair.
(c) During any recess or adjournment of not more that three days, if the Speaker is notified by the Sergeant-at-Arms of an imminent impairment of the place of reconvening at the time previously appointed, then he may, in consultation with the Minority Leader ---
(1) postpone the time for reconvening within the limits of clause 4, section 5, article I of the Constitution and notify Members accordingly; or
(2) reconvene the House before the time previously appointed solely to declare the House in recess within the limits of clause 4, section 5, article I of the Constitution and notify Members accordingly.
(d) The Speaker may convene the House in a place at the seat of government other than the Hall of the House whenever, in his opinon, the public interest shall warrant it."

Articles and resources

References

Note: Updates to the rules for the 110th Congress were obtained by Congresspedia staff from House Rules Committee staff. The full source is available upon request.

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