[House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House] [Chapter 36. Order of Business; Privileged Business] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov] [[Page 653]] CHAPTER 36 - ORDER OF BUSINESS; PRIVILEGED BUSINESS HOUSE PRACTICE A. The Daily Order of Business Sec. 1. In General; Varying the Order of Business Sec. 2. Sequence of Particular Business Sec. 3. The Daily Practice B. Privileged Business Sec. 4. In General; Under the Constitution Sec. 5. Business Privileged by House Rule Sec. 6. -- Privilege of Particular Business Sec. 7. -- Privileged Motions Research References 4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 3056-3152 6 Cannon Sec. Sec. 708-757 Deschler Ch 21 Sec. Sec. 1-8, 28-31 Manual Sec. Sec. 869-901 A. The Daily Order of Business Sec. 1 . In General; Varying the Order of Business Generally The order or sequence in which business is taken up for floor consideration is governed by various House rules. A general rule for the ``daily order of business'' is set forth in rule XIV clause 1. Manual Sec. 869. The order of business may be affected by rule XV, Business in Order on Special Days, which includes: Suspensions (clause 1), the Discharge Calendar (clause 2), the Private Calendar (clause 5), the Corrections Calendar (clause 6), and Calendar Wednesday (clause 7). Manual Sec. Sec. 885-900. The order of business specified by rule XV may be varied by a special order of the House as described in Consideration and Debate and Special Orders of Business. Although rule XIV states the daily order of business, it does not bind the House to a fixed daily routine. Other House rules make certain important subjects privileged so as to permit the daily order of business to be inter [[Page 654]] rupted or even supplanted entirely for days at a time. See Sec. Sec. 4-7, infra. Indeed, rule XIV clause 1 qualifies the daily order of business with the following parenthetical: ``(unless varied by the application of other rules and except for the disposition of matters of higher precedence).'' Although privileged matters may interrupt the order of business, procedural questions-- such as a vote on adopting a special rule, a motion to resolve into the Committee of the Whole, or the question of consideration--may precede their consideration. This system enables the House to give precedence to its most important business without losing the power by majority vote to go to any other bills on its calendars. For a list of privileged matters that may interrupt the order of business, see Manual Sec. Sec. 870, 871. The order of business also may be affected by the Speaker's discretionary authority to recognize Members on particular questions. See Recognition. Scheduling Business The business of the House is scheduled by the Speaker and the Members who constitute the leadership of the majority party, acting in concert with the leadership of each standing committee and the majority members of the Committee on Rules. Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 1. The daily or weekly agenda of the House is ordinarily formulated by the Leadership and implemented by special rules reported from the Committee on Rules and adopted by the House. The legislative schedule for the House is announced to the Members by the Majority Leader or Whip or his designee or, rarely, by the Speaker himself. Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 1.1. Such announcement is usually a response to a question asked by the Minority Leader or his designee during a ``customarily long one-minute speech'' at the end of the legislative week. 105-2, Mar. 27, 1998, p ____. Sec. 2 . Sequence of Particular Business The general rule specifying the daily order of business is set forth in rule XIV clause 1 as follows:
First: Prayer by the Chaplain. Second: Reading and approval of the Journal, unless postponed under rule XX clause 8. Third: The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. Fourth: Correction of reference of public bills. Fifth: Disposal of business on the Speaker's table as provided in clause 2. Sixth: Unfinished business as provided in clause 3. Seventh: The morning hour for the consideration of bills called up by committees as provided in clause 4. [[Page 655]] Eighth: Motions that the House resolve into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union subject to clause 5. Ninth: Orders of the day. Ranked first in the daily order of business is the prayer. No business is in order before the prayer, which is offered daily when the House meets. Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 2. The next order of business is the approval of the Journal. Only messages from the President or the Senate may be received and questions of the privileges of the House raised before the approval of the Journal. No other business, including privileged business, may intervene. See Journal. Following the approval of the Journal is the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, which is led by a Member at the invitation of the Speaker. One-minute speeches, although not provided for by rule XIV, are sometimes entertained by unanimous consent following the Pledge of Allegiance. Sec. 3, infra. It is then in order to offer motions or unanimous-consent requests to correct the reference of public bills. See Introduction and Reference of Bills. Rule XIV next provides for the disposal of business on the Speaker's table. Under rule XIV clause 2, such business consists of the referral of executive communications, messages from the President, and messages from the Senate; motions to dispose of certain Senate bills and resolutions; and motions to dispose of Senate amendments. Manual Sec. 873. Messages from the President and messages from the Senate are matters of privilege and may be received, laid before the House, and disposed of whenever business permits. Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 2. Disposition of Senate bills, see Senate Bills; Amendments Between the Houses. Under the prescribed order of business in rule XIV, the motion to resolve into Committee of the Whole is in order after the morning hour for consideration of bills reported by committees and before ``orders of the day.'' The morning hour and ``orders of the day'' have not been used in many years, the House relying instead on special orders, which often supersede the regular order of business for lengthy periods. 4 Hinds Sec. 3056; see Special Orders of Business. An order of business resolution reported from the Committee on Rules, permitting the Speaker to declare that the House resolve into the Committee of the Whole to consider a particular bill, gives precedence to such declaration when no other business is pending. Rule XVIII clause 2(b). Under rule XVIII clause 4, the motion to resolve into the Committee of the Whole is privileged for consideration of general appropriation bills. The motion to resolve into the Committee of the Whole may also be made privileged by the provisions of a statute. Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 30.8. [[Page 656]] As to when particular matters are in order, see Appropriations; Calendars; Conferences Between the Houses; District of Columbia Business; Private Calendar; Questions of Privilege; Quorums; Resolutions of Inquiry; and Veto of Bills. Sec. 3 . The Daily Practice The sequence of events on the House floor on any given day may, and usually does, vary from the order prescribed by rule XIV clause 1. Certain customs and norms have developed over recent years that allow Members to express their concerns on matters not pending before the House or scheduled for consideration in the daily or weekly agenda. One-minute speeches, special-order speeches, and ``morning-hour'' debate are all vehicles for this type of free expression. See Consideration and Debate. On each legislative day, certain events do occur in a predictable order. The prayer, the approval of the Journal, and the Pledge of Allegiance all occur in sequence, although the actual vote on the approval of the Journal may be postponed. Before reaching the scheduled business of the day, the Speaker usually agrees to recognize Members for one-minute speeches. He may limit the number if the anticipated legislative schedule is full. See Consideration and Debate for practices and norms relating to such speeches. Because of the precise language in the rules governing the Private Calendar, the Corrections Calendar, and the discharge rule, one-minute speeches may await the disposition of those types or classes of business. Following the disposition of one-minute speeches, and throughout the legislative day, the Chair lays down messages received from the President or the Senate. The Chair also makes announcements concerning appointments or informing the House of communications addressed to him in his official capacity. Following one-minute speeches, the House normally proceeds to business holding a privileged status for that day. That special status may be set by a standing rule, by a special order reported by the Committee on Rules, or by an order previously adopted by the House either by unanimous consent or motion to suspend the rules. Once this business is reached, the prescribed order is still subject to some flexibility. Certain record votes may be postponed or ``clustered'' to occur in sequence, pursuant to the Speaker's authority under rule XX clause 8. When scheduled business has been completed, it is again customary for Members to be given an opportunity to address the House on other subjects. [[Page 657]] Special-order speeches may be granted, by unanimous consent for five minutes or by designation of party leaders for up to one hour a Member. Limits on the number and duration of such speeches have been mutually agreed upon by the leadership of the two parties and enforced by the exercise of the Speaker's power of recognition. B. Privileged Business Sec. 4 . In General; Under the Constitution Privileged business is business of such importance as to enjoy precedence over the regular order of business. It is business that can supersede or interrupt other matters that might otherwise be called up or be pending before the House. Manual Sec. Sec. 853-856, 870, 871. Privileged questions are to be distinguished from what are termed ``questions of privilege.'' Privileged questions relate to the order or priority of business under the rules of the House, whereas ``questions of privilege'' pertain to the safety and dignity of the House, to the integrity of its proceedings, or to the rights or reputation of its Members under rule IX. 3 Hinds Sec. Sec. 2654, 2718; see Questions of Privilege. Privilege may derive from language used in the Constitution, from the rules and practices of the House, and from statutes enacted pursuant to the legislative rulemaking power. For example, a veto message from the President is privileged for consideration when received by the House. This privilege arises from article I, section 7, clause 2 of the Constitution. See Veto of Bills. Likewise, since the exclusive power of the House in the impeachment of civil officers arises from article I, section 2, clause 5 of the Constitution, the House has determined that propositions to impeach, and reports from a committee investigating charges of impeachment, are highly privileged. See Impeachment. Similarly, since article VI, clause 3 of the Constitution provides that Representatives shall take an oath, the administration of the oath to Members is privileged. A Member-elect appearing during a session may be administered the oath as a matter of the highest privilege that may interrupt other business. See Oaths. Certain propositions are privileged for consideration because of indirect constitutional mandate. Examples include concurrent resolutions for adjournment sine die or to a day certain and motions incident to establishing a quorum, which are discussed in Adjournment and Quorums. However, privilege is not conferred merely because the question is one committed to the House under the Constitution. Manual Sec. 702. For example, a resolution to confirm the nomination of the Vice President, a duty committed to the [[Page 658]] House under the 25th amendment to the Constitution, is not privileged for consideration. Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 28. Sec. 5 . Business Privileged by House Rule A variety of bills, reports, resolutions, and motions are privileged under the House rules. Some committees are given the power to report to the House at any time on certain subjects. See Committees. Certain kinds of reports by a committee are privileged, including reports on the contempt of witnesses and on resolutions of inquiry, which are discussed in Contempt and Resolutions of Inquiry. In order to retain its privilege, a privileged report must be submitted as privileged from the floor while the House is in session (and not filed in the hopper). A committee may, however, obtain by unanimous consent permission to file a privileged report with the Clerk while the House is not in session, or a committee may file with the Clerk without unanimous consent after the time for compiling views has expired. Rule XIII clause 2(c); Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 29. Privilege of matters relating to election contests, see Election Contests and Disputes. Sec. 6 . -- Privilege of Particular Business The House rules make certain important subjects privileged, which permit the daily order of business to be interrupted or even supplanted entirely for days at a time. Among the privileged matters that may interrupt the order of business are: General appropriation bills. Rule XIII clause 5. Conference reports. Rule XXII clause 7. Motions to request or agree to a conference. Rule XXII clause 1. Special orders reported by the Committee on Rules. Rule XIII clause 5. Consideration of amendments between the Houses after disagreement. Rule XXII clause 4. Questions of privilege. Rule IX; see Questions of Privilege. Bills coming over from a previous day with the previous question ordered. 5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 5510-5517. Bills returned with the objections of the President. 4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 3534-3536. Some propositions are privileged for consideration on certain days of the week or month. On any Monday or Tuesday, for example, the Speaker may recognize Members to move to suspend the rules and pass bills. Rule XV clause 1. The second and fourth Mondays of the month are set apart for District of Columbia business. Rule XV clause 4. Bills on the Private [[Page 659]] Calendar are called on the first Tuesday of the month and also on the third Tuesday if directed by the Speaker. Rule XV clause 5. The Speaker has the discretion to dispense with the call of the Private Calendar on the third Tuesday. Manual Sec. 897. The Speaker has discretion to direct the call of Corrections Calendar bills on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. Rule XV clause 6. Other classes of business not only are given a prescribed day but also are keyed to a specific reference in the order of business prescribed in rule XIV clause 1. For example, motions to discharge, when perfected and otherwise eligible, can be called up after the approval of the Journal. Rule XV clause 2. District of Columbia business is given a position following ``disposal of such business on the Speaker's table as requires reference only.'' Rule XV clause 4. Both the provisions that designate a day for the class of business, and those that give the class a specified place in the order of business, can be changed by the House by adoption of a special order from the Committee on Rules, a unanimous-consent agreement, or a motion to suspend the rules. The privileged status that is conferred on certain classes of business does not necessarily carry with it an exemption from applicable layover requirements of the House rules. Thus, a conference report may be called up for consideration as privileged business only after the report has been filed and is in compliance with the three- day and two-hour availability requirements of rule XXII clause 8. See Conferences Between the Houses. When the Speaker is faced with competing Members seeking recognition for consideration of different items of business, he must determine whether one class or type of business is of a higher precedence than the other. In making these determinations, he relies on the House rules that give the matter precedence and on prior rulings of the Chair that may predetermine his choice. For a compilation of such rulings, see Deschler Ch 21 Sec. 31. They are of lesser relevance in the modern practice since the House usually determines the order of consideration by adoption of a special order reported from the Committee on Rules. Also, the priority of propositions of equal privilege may be determined by the Chair as within his power of recognition. Sec. 7 . -- Privileged Motions Certain motions relating to the order of business are given precedence under the rules of the House. Examples include the motion to suspend the rules, which may be used to change the order of business as well as to adopt a measure, and the motion to dispense with Calendar Wednesday. See Sus [[Page 660]] pension of Rules and Calendar Wednesday. The motion that the House resolve itself into the Committee of the Whole to consider a general appropriation bill is likewise privileged under the rules. See Appropriations. When called up pursuant to the provisions of the discharge rule under rule XV clause 2(d), a motion to discharge a committee is privileged; and the Speaker may decline to recognize for a matter not related to the proceedings. 7 Cannon Sec. 1010. Such motions take precedence over business merely privileged under the general rules of the House. 7 Cannon Sec. 1011; see Discharging Measures From Committees. If authorized by the committee (or committees) with jurisdiction over the bill, a motion to send a matter to conference is privileged under rule XXII clause 1. Manual Sec. 1069. The motion is privileged at any time the House is in possession of the papers if the appropriate committee has authorized the motion and the Speaker in his discretion recognizes for that purpose. Manual Sec. 1070. A motion to discharge or instruct conferees is privileged under rule XXII clause 7(c). See Conferences Between the Houses. For a discussion of precedence of secondary motions, see Amendments; Lay on the Table; Postponement; Previous Question; Reconsideration; and Refer and Recommit.