[Constitution, Jefferson's Manual, and the Rules of the House of Representatives, 109th Congress]
[House Document 108-241]
[Rules of the House of Representatives]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]
broadcasting the house
2. (a) The Speaker shall administer a system subject to his direction
and control for complete and unedited audio and visual broadcasting and
recording of the proceedings of the House. The Speaker shall provide for
the distribution of such broadcasts and recordings to news media, for
the storage of audio and video recordings of the proceedings, and for
the closed-captioning of the proceedings for hearing-impaired persons.
Radio and Television Correspondents' Galleries, and all radio and
television correspondents who are so accredited, shall be provided
access to the live coverage of the House.
(b) All television and radio broadcasting stations, networks,
services, and systems (including cable systems) that are accredited to
(c) Coverage made available under this clause, including any recording
(1) may not be used for any political purpose;
(2) may not be used in any commercial advertisement; and
(3) may not be broadcast with commercial sponsorship except as
part of a bona fide news program or public affairs documentary program.
3. The Speaker may delegate any of his responsibilities under this
rule to such legislative entity as he considers appropriate.
Before the House recodified its rules in the 106th Congress, this
provision was found in former clause 9 of rule I (H. Res. 5, Jan. 6,
1999, p. 47). It was adopted initially in the 96th Congress (H. Res. 5,
Jan. 15, 1979, p. 7). The requirement that the televised broadcasts of
the proceedings of the House be closed captioned for hearing-impaired
individuals was added in the 101st Congress (H. Res. 5, Jan. 3, 1989, p.
72). The authority of the Speaker to make rules governing
telecommunications functions within the House was added in the 102d
Congress (H. Res. 5, Jan. 3, 1991, p. 39).
casting of House proceedings and to report to the House thereon; and (3)
directed the Speaker after receipt of the committee's report to
establish a system subject to his direction and control for audio and
visual broadcast and recording of House proceedings and to provide for
distribution and access to the news media (H. Res. 866, Oct. 27, 1977,
pp. 35425-37). The Speaker, after receipt of that report (H. Rept. 95-
881, Feb. 15, 1978), directed implementation of full audio coverage,
with distribution to the media, on June 8, 1978 (p. 16746). Public Law
95-391 (Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 1979) contained the
following proviso in section 306 relating to the broadcasting of House
proceedings: ``No funds in this bill may be used to implement a system
for televising and broadcasting the proceedings of the House pursuant to
House Resolution 866, Ninety-Fifth Congress, under which the TV cameras
in the Chamber purchased by the House are controlled and operated by
persons not in the employ of the House.''
In the 95th Congress the House considered as a question of the
privileges of the House and adopted a resolution directing the Committee
on Rules to investigate the impact on the safety, dignity, and integrity
of House proceedings, of a test authorized by the Speaker under his
general control over the Hall of the House for the audiovisual broadcast
of House proceedings within the Capitol and House Office Buildings (H.
Res. 404, Mar. 15, 1977, p. 7608). The resolution directed the Committee
on Rules to report to the House at the earliest practicable date its
findings and recommendations, including whether such coverage should be
made available to the public. The committee reported and the House
adopted another resolution that: (1) authorized the Speaker to establish
a closed-circuit system for in-House broadcasting of House proceedings;
(2) directed the Committee on Rules to study methods for providing
complete audio and visual broad
Pursuant to his authority under this rule, the Speaker directed the
Clerk in the 98th Congress to immediately implement periodic wide-angle
television coverage of all ``special-order'' speeches at the end of
legislative business (with captions at the bottom of the screen
indicating that legislative business has been completed) (May 10, 1984,
p. 11894) but not during ``interim'' special orders (Dec. 19, 1985, p.
38106). However, in the 103d and 104th Congresses, the Speaker
prohibited wide-angle coverage but continued the caption at the bottom
of the screen not only during special-order speeches but also during
morning-hour debates (Speaker Foley, Feb. 11, 1994, p. 2244; Speaker
Gingrich, Jan. 4, 1995, p. 551). In the 99th Congress, the House adopted
a resolution, raised as a question of the privileges of the House,
authorizing and directing the Speaker to provide for the audio and
visual broadcast coverage of the Chamber while Members are voting (H.
Res. 150, Apr. 30, 1985, p. 9821). Although paragraph (a) requires
complete and unedited broadcast coverage of House proceedings, the House
held (by tabling an appeal of a ruling of the Chair) that it does not
require in-House microphone amplification of disorderly conduct by a
Member following expiration of his recognition for debate (Mar. 16,
1988, p. 4081).
Sec. 684. Broadcasting of House proceedings.
1. The Speaker
shall administer a system subject to his direction and control for
closed-circuit viewing of floor proceedings of the House in the offices
of all Members, Delegates, the Resident Commissioner, and committees and
in such other places in the Capitol and the House Office Buildings as he
considers appropriate. Such system may include other telecommunications
functions as the Speaker considers appropriate. Any such
telecommunications shall be subject to rules and regulations issued by