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STANDING RULES AND ORDERS
FOR CONDUCTING BUSINESS IN
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES.
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. April 7, 1789.
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-April 7, 1789; on which appeal no member shall speak more than once, unless by leave of the House.—December 23, 1811.
[Rule 22 makes it the duty of the Sergeant-at-Arms to aid in the enforcement of order, under the direction of the Speaker; and, pending the election of a Speaker, under the direction of the Clerk.]
[On the subject of “decorum,” see rules 57, 58, 61, 62, and 65.]
[Difficulties have often arisen as to a supposed discrepancy between the appeal contemplated in this rule and that referred to in Rule 61. There is no discrepancy. The question of order mentioned in the second rule relates to motions or propositions, their applicability or ncy, or their admissibility on the score of time, or in the order of business, &c. The“ call to order," mentioned in Rule 61, on which, in case of an appeal, there can be no debate, has reference only to “transgressions of the rules in speaking,” or to indecorum of any kind. See also Rule 133, in which debate on an appeal, pending a call for the previous question, is prohibited.] 3. He shall rise to put a question, but may state it sitting.–April
7, 1789. 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 doubt, or a division be called for, the House shall divide; those in the affirmative of the question shall first rise from their seats, and afterward those in the negative. If the Speaker still doubt, or a count be required by at least one-fifth of a quorum of the members, the Speaker shall name two members, one from each side, to tell the members in the affirmative and negative; which being reported, he shall rise and state the decision to the House.—March 16, 1860.
5. The Speaker shall examine and correct the journal before it is read. He shall have a general direction of the hall, and the unappropriated rooms in that part of the Capitol assigned to the House shall be subject to his order and disposal until the further order of the House. He shall have a right to name any member to perform the duties of the Chair, but such substitution shall not extend beyond an adjournment; provided, however, that in case of the personal illness of the Speaker, he may make such appointment for a period not exceeding ten days, with the approval of the House at the time the same is made.- December 23, 1811, May 26, 1824, and April 28, 1876.
6. No person shall be permitted to perform divine service in the chamber occupied by the House of Representatives, unless with the consent of the Speaker.-May 19, 1804.
7. In all cases of ballot by the House, the Speaker shall vote; in other cases he shall not be required to 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.--April 7, 1789.
[On a very important qnestion, taken December 9, 1803, on an amendment to the Constitution, so as to change the form of voting for Presideut and VicePresident, which required a vote of two-thirds, there appeared eighty-three in the affirmative, and forty-two in the negative; it wanted one vote in the affirmative to make the Constitutional majority. The Speaker (Macon, notwithstanding a prohibition in the rule as it then existed, claimed and obtained bis right to vote, and voted in the affirmative; and it was by that vote that the amendment to the Constitution was carried. The right of the Speaker, as a member of the House, to vote on all questions is secured by the Constitution. No act of the House can take it from him wben he chooses to exercise it.] 8. All acts, addresses, and joint resolutions, shall be signed by the Speaker; and all writs, warrants, and subponas, issued by order