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STANDING RULES AND ORDERS
FOB CONDUCTING BUSINESS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
Touching the duty of the Speaker. 1. He shall take the Chair every day precisely at the hour to which the House shall have adjourned on the preceding day; shall immediately call the members to order; and, on the appearance of a quorum, shall cause the Journal of the preceding day to be read.
2. He shall preserve order and decorum; may speak to points of order in preference to other members, rising from his seat for that purpose; and shall decide questions of order, subject to an appeal to the House by any two members; on which appeal no member shall speak more than once, unless by leave of the House.
3. He shall rise to put a question, but may state it sitting.
4. Questions shall be distinctly put in this form, to wit: “As many as are of opinion that (as the question may be) say Ay;" and, after the affirmative voice is expressed, “ As many as are of the contrary opinion, say No.” If the Speaker doubts, or a division be called for, the House shall divide: those in the affirmative of the question shall first rise from their seats, and afterwards those in the negative. If the Speaker still doubts, or a count be required, the Speaker shall name two members, one from each side, to tell the members in the affirmative, which being reported, he shall then name two others, one from each side, to tell those in the negative, which being also reported, he shall rise and state the decision to the House.
5. When any motion or proposition is made, the question, “Will the House now consider it?" shall not be put, unless it is demanded by some member, or is deemed necessary by the Speaker.
6. The Speaker shall examine and correct the Journal before it is read. He shall have a general direction of the Hall. He shall have the right to name any member to perform the duties of the chair, but such substitution shall not extend beyond an adjournment.
7. All committees shall be appointed by the Speaker, unless otherwise specially directed by the House, in which case they shall be appointed by Lallot; and if, upon such ballot, the number required shall not be elected by a majority of the votes given, the House shall proceed to a second ballot, in which a plurality of votes shall prevail; and, in case a greater number than is required to compose or complete a committee shall have an equal number of votes, the House shall proceed to a further ballot or ballots.
8. In all other cases of ballot than for committees, a majority of the votes given shall be necessary to an election; and when there shall not be such a majority on the first ballot, the ballot shall be repeated until a majority be obtained.
9. In all cases of ballot by the House, the Speaker shall vote: in other cases he shall not vote, unless the House be equally divided, or unless his vote, if given to the minority, will make the division equal; and in case of such equal division, the question shall be lost.
10. In all cases where other than members of the House may be eligible to an office by the election of the House, there shall be a previous nomination.
11. All acts, addresses, and joint resolutions, shall be signed by the Speaker; and all writs, warrants, and subpænas, issued by order of the House, shall be under his hand and seal, attested by the Clerk.
12. In case of any disturbance or disorderly conduct in the galleries or lobby, the Speaker (or Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House) shall have power to order the same to be cleared.
13. No person, except members of the Senate, their Secretary, Heads of Departments, Treasurer, Comptroller, Register, Auditor, Postmaster Gene. ral, President's Secretary, Chaplains to Congress, Judges of the United States, Foreign Ministers, and their Secretaries, Officers who, by name, have received, or shall hereafter receive, the thanks of Congress for their gallantry and good conduct displayed in the service of their country, the Commissioners of the Nary Board, Governor, for the time being, of aay. State or Territory of the Union, who may attend at the seat of the Gene ral Government during the Session of Congress, and who niay choose to avail himself of such privilege, such gentlemen as have been Heads of Departments, or members of either branch of the Legislature, and, at the discretion of the Speaker, persons who belong to such Legislatures of Foreign Governments as are in amity with the United States, shall be admitted within the Hall of the House of Representatives.
14. Stenographers, wishing to take down the debates, may be admitted by the Speaker, who shall assign such places to them, on the floor or elsewhere, to effect their object, as shall not interfere with the convenience of the House.
Order of Business of the Session. 15. After six days from the commencement of a second or subsequent session of any Congress, all bills, resolutions, and reports, which originated in the House, and at the close of the next preceding session remained undetermined, shall be resumed and acted on in the same manner as if an adjournment had not taken place.
Order of Business of the Day. 16. As soon as the Journal is read, the Speaker shall call for petitions from the members of each State, and delegates from each Territory, beginning with Maine: and if, on any day, the whole of the States and Territories shall not be called, the Speaker shall begin on the next day where he left off the previous day: Provided, That, after the first thirty days of the session, petitions shall not be received except on the first day of the meeting of the House in each week.
17. The petitions having been presented and disposed of, reports, first from the standing, and then from the select committees, shall be called for, and disposed of. Resolutions shall then be called for in the same order, and disposed of by the same rules which apply to petitions: Provided, that no member shall offer more than one resolution, or one series of resolutions, all relating to the same subject, until all the States and Territories shall have been called. And not more than one hour in each day shall be devoted to the subject of reports from committees, and resolutions; after which, the Speaker shall dispose of the bills, messages, and communications, on his table, and then proceed to call the orders of the day.
18. The business specified in the two preceding rules shall be done at no other part of the day, except by perniission of the House.
Local or Private Business. 19. Friday and Saturday in every week shall be set apart for the consideration of private bills and private business, in preference to any other, 'unless otherwise determined by a majority of the House.
Of Decorum and Debate. 20. When any member is about to speak in debate, or deliver any matter to the House, he shall rise from his seat, and respectfully address himself to “Mr. Speaker,” and shall confine himself to the question under debate, and avoid personality.
21. If any member, in speaking or otherwise, transgress the rules of the House, the Speaker shall, or any member may, call to order; ia which case the member so called to order shall immediately sit down, unless permitted to explain; and the House shall, if appealed to, decide on the case, but without debate: if there be no appeal, the decision of the Chair shall be submitted to. If the decision be in favor of the member called to order, he shall be at liberty to proceed; if otherwise, he shall not be permitted to proceed without leave of the House; and, if the case require it, he shall be liable to the censure of the House.
22. When two or more members happen to rise at once, the Speaker shall name the member who is first to speak.
23. No member shall speak more than twice to the same question, without leave of the House, nor more than once until every member choosing to speak shall have spoken.
24. If a question depending be lost by adjournment of the House, and revived on the succeeding day, no member, who shall have spoken twice on the preceding day, shall be permitted again to speak without leave.
25. Whilst the Speaker is putting any question, or addressing the House, none shall walk out of or across the House: nor, in such case, or when a member is speaking, shall entertain private discourse, nor, whilst a member is speaking, shall pass between him and the chair.
26. No member shall vote on any question in the event of which he is immediately and particularly interested, or in any case where he was not present when the question was put.
27. Upon a division and count of the House on any question, no member without the bar shall be counted.
28. Every member who shall be in the House when the question is put shall give his vote, unless the House, for special reasons, shall excuse him.
29. When a motion is made and seconded, it shall be stated by the Speaker; or, being in writing, it shall be handed to the Chair, and read aloud by the Clerk before debated.
30. Every motion shall be reduced to writing, if the Speaker or any member desire it.
31. After a motion is stated by the Speaker, or read by the Clerk, it shall be deemed to be in the possession of the House, but may be withdrawn at any time before a decision or amendment.
32. When a question is under debate, no motion shall be received but to adjourn, to lie on the table, for the previous question, to postpone to a day certain, to commit or amend, to postpone indefinitely; which several motions shall have precedence in the order in which they are arranged: and no motion to postpone to a day certain, to commit, or to postpone indefinitely, being decided, shall be again allowed on the same day, and at the same stage of the bill or proposition. A motion to strike out the enacting words of a bill shall have precedence of a motion to amend, and, if carried, shall be considered equivalent to its rejection.
33. When a resolution shall be offered, or a motion made, to refer any subject, and different committees shall be proposed, the question shall be taken in the following order:
The Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union; the Committee of the Whole House; a standing committee; a select committee.
34. A motion to adjourn shall be always in order: that, and the motion to lie on the table, shall be decided without debate.
35. The previous question shall be in this form: “ Shall the main question be now put?” It shall only be admitted when demanded by a majority of the members present; and, until it is decided, shall preclude all amendment, and further debate of the main question.
36. On a previous question there shall be no debate.
37. When a question is postponed indefinitely, the same shall not be acted upon again during the session.
38. Any member may call for the division of a question, which shall be divided if it comprehends questions so distinct that, one being taken away, the rest may stand entire for the decision of the House: a motion to strike out and insert shall be deemed indivisible. But a motion to strike out being lost, shall preclude neither amendment, nor a motion to strike out and insert.
39. Motions and reports may be committed at the pleasure of the House.
40. No motion or proposition on a subject different from that under consideration shall be admitted under color of amendment.
41. When a motion has been once made and carried in the affirmative or negative, it shall be in order for any member of the majority to move for the reconsideration thereof, on the same or the succeeding day: and such motion shall take precedence of all other questions, except a motion to adjourn.
42. When the reading of a paper is called for, and the same is objected to by any member, it shall be determined by a vote of the House.
43. The unfinished business in which the House was engaged at the last preceding adjournment shall have the preference in the orders of the day;
and no motion on any other business shall be received, without special leave of the House, until the former is disposed of.
44. Every order, resolution, or vote, to which the concurrence of the Senate shall be necessary, shall be read to the House, and laid on the table, on a day preceding that in which the same shall be moved, unless the House shall otherwise expressly allow.
45. Petitions, memorials, and other papers, addressed to the House, shall be presented by the Speaker, or by a member in his place: a brief statement of the contents thereof shall verbally be made by the introducer, and shall not be debated or decided on the day of their being first read, unless where the House shall direct otherwise, but shall lie on the table, to be taken up in the order they were read.
46. A proposition requesting information from the President of the United States, or directing it to be furnished by the head of either of the Executive Departments, or by the Postmaster General, or to print an extra number of any document or other matter, shall lie on the table one day for consideration, unless otherwise ordered by the unanimous consent of the House; and all such propositions shall be taken up for consideration in the order they were presented, immediately after reports are called for from select committees; and, when adopted, the Clerk shall cause the same to be delivered.
47. Any fifteen members (including the Speaker, if there be one) shall be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members.
48. Upon calls of the House, or in taking the yeas and nays on any question, the names of the members shall be called alphabetically.
49. Any member may excuse himself from serving on any committee at the time of his appointment, if he is then a member of two other committees.
50. No member shall absent himself from the service of the House unless he have leave, or be sick and unable to attend.
51. Upon the call of the House, the names of the members shall be called over by the clerk, and the absentees noted; after which, the names of the absentees shall again be called over, the doors shall then be shut, and those for whom no excuse, or insufficient excuses are made, may, by order of those present, if fifteen in number, be taken into custody as they appear, or may be sent for and taken into custody, wherever to be found, by special messengers to be appointed for that purpose.
52. When a member shall be discharged from custody, and admitted to his seat, the House shall determine whether such discharge shall be with or without paying fees; and, in like manner, whether a delinquent member, taken into custody by a special messenger, shall, or shall not, be liable to defray the expense of such special messenger.
53. A Sergeant-at-Arms shall be appointed, to hold his office during the pleasure of the House, whose duty it shall be to attend the House during its sitting; to execute the comman of the House from time to time, together with all such process, issued by authority thereof, as shall be directo ed to him by the Speaker.
54. The fees of the Sergeant-at-Arms shall be, for every arrest, the sum of two dollars; for each day's custody and releasement, one dollar; and for travelling expenses for himself or a special messenger, going and returning, one-tenth of a dollar per mile.