[Constitution, Jefferson's Manual, and the Rules of the House of Representatives, 115th Congress]
[House Document 114-192]
[Jeffersons Manual of ParliamentaryPractice]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]
sec. xviii--orders of the house
Sec. 380. Keeping of the doors of the House.
Of right, the
door of the House ought not to be shut, but to be kept by porters, or
Sergeants-at-Arms, assigned for that purpose. Mod ten. Parl., 23.
any Member has a right to have the House or gallery cleared of
strangers, an order existing for that purpose; or to have the House told
when there is not a quorum present. 2 Hats., 87, 129. How far an order
of the House is binding, see Hakew., 392.
As a request for unanimous consent to consider a bill is in effect a
request to suspend the order of business temporarily, a Member has the
right at any time to demand the ``regular order'' (IV, 3058). If the
regular order is demanded pending a request for unanimous consent,
further reservation of the right to object thereto is precluded (Speaker
Foley, Nov. 14, 1991, p. 32129; Nov. 7, 2009, pp. 27189, 27190).
Occasionally a Member may incorrectly demand the ``regular order'' to
assert that remarks are not confined to the question under debate. On
such an occasion the Chair may treat the demand as a point of order
requiring a ruling by the Chair (May 1, 1996, pp. 9888, 9889).
Absent an existing order for that purpose, a Member may not demand
that the galleries be cleared, because this power resides in the House
(II, 1353), which has by rule extended the power to the Speaker (clause
2 of rule I) and the chair of the Committee of the Whole (clause 1 of
rule XVIII), but not to the individual Member.
Sec. 381. Right of the Member to demand execution of the
The only case where a Member has a right to insist on
anything, is where he calls for the execution of a subsisting order of
the House. Here there having been already a resolution, any person has a
right to insist that the Speaker, or any other whose duty it is, shall
carry it into execution; and no debate or delay can be had on it.
The rule of the House providing for raising the question of
consideration (clause 3 of rule XVI) has, in connection with the
practice as to special orders of business, superseded this provision of
the parliamentary law. The House always proceeds with business at its
hour of meeting, unless prevented by a point that no quorum is present
Sec. 383. Parliamentary law as to proceeding with orders
of the day.
But where an order is made that any particular matter be taken
up on a particular day, there a question is to be put, when it is called
for, whether the House will now proceed to that matter? Where orders of
the day are on important or interesting matter, they ought not to be
proceeded on till an hour at which the House is usually full [which in
Senate is at noon].
The House found the use of ``Orders of the day'' as a method of
disposing business impracticable as long ago as 1818, and not long after
abandoned their use (IV, 3057), although an interesting reference to
them survives in clause 1 of rule XIV. The House proceeds under rule XIV
unless that order is displaced by the use of special orders of business
or the intervention of privileged business.
Sec. 384. Orders of the day now obsolete.
Orders of the day
may be discharged at any time, and a new one made for a different day, 3
Grey, 48, 313.
This provision is obsolete so far as the practice of the House is
concerned, because business goes on uninterruptedly until the Congress
expires (clause 6 of rule XI).
Sec. 385. Business at the end of a session.
When a session
is drawing to a close and the important bills are all brought in, the
House, in order to prevent interruption by further unimportant bills,
sometimes comes to a resolution that no new bill be brought in, except
it be sent from the other House. 3 Grey, 156.
The House, by clause 6 of rule XI and the practice thereunder, has
modified the rule of Parliament as to business pending at the end of a
session that is not at the same time the end of a Congress. Some
standing orders, however, like those providing for the hour of daily
meeting of the House (I, 104-109), expire with a session. In 1866 the
House discussed its power to imprison for a period longer than the
duration of the existing session (II, 1629), and in 1870, for assaulting
a Member returning to the House from absence on leave, Patrick Woods was
committed for a term extending beyond the adjournment of the session,
but not beyond the term of the existing House (II, 1628).
Sec. 386. Effect of end of the session on existing orders,
especially as to imprisonment.
All orders of the House determine with the
session; and one taken under such an order may, after the session is
ended, be discharged on a habeas corpus. Raym., 120; Jacob's L. D. by
Ruffhead; Parliament, 1 Lev., 165, Pitchara's case.
its organization (I, 242-245; V, 6765, 6766). It also has been
determined, after long discussion and trial by practice, that one House
may not continue its rules in force to and over its successor (I, 187,
210; V, 6002, 6743-6747; Jan. 22, 1971, p. 132). Congress may bind
itself in matters of procedure (II, 1341; V, 6767, 6768), but its
ability to so bind a succeeding Congress has been called into doubt (V,
6766). In one case the Chair denied the authority of such a law that
conflicted with a rule of the House (IV, 3579). The theories involved in
this question have been most carefully examined and decisively
determined in reference to the law of 1851, which directs the method of
procedure for the House in its constitutional function of judging the
elections of its Members; and it has been determined that this law is
not of absolute binding force on the House, but rather a wholesome rule
not to be departed from except for cause (I, 597, 713, 726, 833; II,
1122). In modern practice, existing statutory procedures, including
provisions of concurrent resolutions, are readopted as Rules of the
House at the beginning of each Congress (see, e.g., H. Res. 6, Jan. 4,
1995, p. 462). This practice was codified in clause 1 of rule XXVIII
(current rule XXIX) when the House recodified its rules in the 106th
Congress (H. Res. 5, Jan. 6, 1999, p. 75, see Sec. 1105, infra). Where
the House amended a standing rule of general applicability during a
session and the amended rule did not require prospective application,
the rule was interpreted to apply retroactively (Sept. 28, 1993, p.
Sec. 387. Jefferson's views as to the constitutional
power to make rules.
Where the Constitution authorizes each House to
determine the rules of its proceedings it must mean in those cases
(legislative, executive, or judiciary) submitted to them by the
Constitution, or in something relating to these, and necessary toward
their execution. But orders and resolutions are sometimes entered in the
journals having no relation to these, such as acceptances of invitations
to attend orations, to take part in procession, etc. These must be
understood to be merely conventional among those who are willing to
participate in the ceremony, and are therefore, perhaps, improperly
placed among the records of the House.
As to the participation on occasions of ceremony, the House has
entered its orders on its journal; but it rarely attends outside the
Capitol building as a body (July 25, 2002, p. 14645), usually preferring
that its Members go individually (V, 7061-7064) or that it be
represented by a committee (V, 7053-7056) or other delegation (May 28,
1987, p. 14031). It has discussed, but not settled, its power to compel
a Member to accompany it outside the Hall on an occasion of combined
business and ceremony (II, 1139). But the House remains in session for
the inauguration of the President on the portico of the Capitol (Jan.
20, 1969, pp. 1288-92) and the mace is carried to the ceremony.
Sec. 388. The House's construction of its power to adopt
The House has frequently examined its constitutional power to make
rules, and this power also has been discussed by the Supreme Court (V,
6755). It has been settled that Congress may not by law interfere with
the constitutional right of a future House to make its own rules (I, 82;
V, 6765, 6766), or to determine for itself the order of proceedings in