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Duties of the committees.
Committees, how appointed.
Member may be appointed on, be
in the Department of State, on Expenditures in the Treasury Department, on Expenditures in the War Department, on Expenditures in the Post Office Department, on Expenditures in the Navy Department, on Expenditures in the Interior Department, on Expenditures on the Public Buildings, to consist of five members each.—Rule 102.
For the duties of the several committees, see under their respective names.
"All committees shall be appointed by the Speaker. unless otherwise specially directed by the House, in which case they shall be appointed by ballot; 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."-Rule 67. [The latter mode of appointing committees is, of late years, never resorted to; but the practice has been for the House to adopt an order "that the Speaker be authorized to appoint the regular standing committees." And after adopting such order, it is usual for the House to adjourn over for two or three days to enable him to make the appointments.]
Before a return be made a member elected may be fore he is sworn. named of a committee, and is to every extent a member, except that he cannot vote until he is sworn.—Manual, p. 61. [While this is the law, it has never been the practice in the House to appoint a member on a committee until he has been sworn.]
"The first-named member of any committee shall be the chairman; and in his absence, or being excused by the House, the next-named member, and so on, as often as the case shall happen, unless the committee, by a majority of their number, elect a chairman."-Rule 68.
"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."—Rule 69. [And under the practice, it is sufficient for him to offer such an excuse at any subsequent period of the session.]
meeting of a com
"It shall be the duty of a committee to meet on the Who shall call a all of any two of its members, if the chairman be absent, mittee. or decline to appoint such meeting."-Rule 70.
not sit while House
"No committee shall sit during the sitting of the Committees shall House without special leave."-Rule 72. And "so soon is sitting, without as the House sits, and a committee is notified of it, the chairman is in duty bound to rise instantly, and the members to attend the service of the House."-Manual, p. 70. [But upon the suggestion to the House by a member of a committee that it is important to the despatch of public business that they should have such leave, it is usually granted, especially near the close of a session.]
"Committees may be appointed to sit during a recess by adjournment, but not by prorogation. Neither house can continue any portion of itself in any parliamentary function beyond the end of the session without the consent of the other two branches. When done, it is by a bill constituting them commissioners for the particular purpose."-Manual, p. 136. [This has been construed (and, in view of the distinction which exists between a "session" of Parliament and of Congress, very properly so) not to restrain a committee of the House, with the leave of the House, from sitting during the recess between a first and second session of Congress.]-(See Journal, 1, 32, p. 1119.)
ting during recess.
"No committee shall be permitted to employ a clerk Clerks of comat the public expense without first obtaining leave of the House for that purpose."-Rule 73. [Such leave is usually granted to a portion of the committees for a part or the whole of the session, as they may deem the service necessary; and three of the committees have permanent clerks, viz: of Claims, by resolution of February 18, 1843; of Ways and Means, by resolution of February 18, 1856; and on Public Lands, by resolution of May 27, 1862.]
"When a resolution shall be offered or a motion made Precedence to refer any subject, and different committees shall be to refer. 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.-Rule 43. [But where more than one standing committee is proposed,
Precedence motion to commit over other
tions, and of others over it.
the last one proposed is first voted upon, as an amendment to strike out and insert.]
"When a question is under debate, no motion shall be mo- 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, Motion to commit to commit, or to postpone indefinitely, being decided, at same stage on shall be again allowed on the same day, and at the same stage of the bill or proposition."-Rule 42.
not to be repeated
A bill, when ready for commit
House to vote first
"Upon the second reading of a bill, the Speaker shall state it as ready for commitment."-Rule 118.
Previons ques "After the previous question is ordered, if no motion tion brings the to postpone is pending, the House is first brought to a on motion to com- direct vote on the motion to commit, if such motion shall have been made."-Rule 132.
only act when met together.
Committee can "A committee meet when and where they please, if the House has not ordered time and place for them; but they can only act when together, and not by separate consultation and consent, nothing being the report of a committee but what has been agreed to in committee actually assembled.”—Manual, p. 89.
A quorum of a
that committee be full.
Nor that every
fied of an
"A majority of the committee constitutes a quorum Not necessary for business."-Manual, p. 89. But it is not necessary that the committee shall be full when a paper is acted member was not upon.-Journal, 1, 34, p. 1143. Nor is it even necessary that every member shall have been notified of an adjourned meeting, if it shall appear that at such meeting a quorum was present, and that a majority of such quo rum authorized a report to be made.-Same Journal, pp. 1433, 1434.
Petitions, how to be referred to committees.
[Committees very frequently appoint sub-committees. to make investigations,] and in such case no member of the committee, as a matter of right, can take for examination papers referred to a sub-committee.-Cong. Globe, 1, 39, p. 4019.
"A committee cannot receive a petition but through the House."-Manual, p. 70. "Members having petitions and memorials to present may hand them to the Clerk, endorsing the same with their names, and the reference
or disposition to be made thereof; and such petitions and memorials shall be entered on the Journal, subject to the control and direction of the Speaker."-Rule 131. [This is the only mode of presenting a petition for reference now recognized by the rules. The rule, however, is construed to authorize the withdrawal of old papers from the files, for the purpose of reference to the appropriate committee. And, in this connection, it may not be improper to call attention to that portion of this rule which requires that the name of the member and that of the committee shall be endorsed upon the paper to be referred. referred by them. In order to secure its appearance in the daily newspapers, Newspapers to members should furnish a memorandum of the contents a memorandum. and reference of the same to the reporters.]
Members should endorse the papers
be furnished with
how delivered to
"The Clerk may deliver the bill to any member of the Matters referred. committee, but it is usual to deliver it to him who is first the committee. named."-Manual, p. 89. [In the House of Representatives the long-settled practice has been, where the committee have a regular place of meeting, as is the case with all the standing committees, for the Clerk to take down to the committee-room and deposit there all matters referred to said committee, and make an entry of the same in the docket of the committee; and when they have no committee-room, as is the case with some of the select committees, to deliver the matter referred to the chairman.] It is not competent for the House to instruct a com- Not competent to mittee to amend a bill in a manner that the House itself instruct committee cannot amend it.-Journal, 2, 35, p. 389. [Indeed, it is the well-settled practice that the House cannot instruct a committee to do what the House itself cannot do.]
to do what House itself cannot do.
instructions not di
A division of the question is not in order on a motion To commit with to commit or recommit with instructions, or on the differ- visible. ent branches of instructions.-Journals, 1, 17, p. 507; 1, 31, pp. 1395, 1397; and 1, 32, p. 611.
ments are to be
"The committee may not erase, interline, or blot the How amendbill itself, but must, in a paper by itself, set down the noted by a com amendments, stating the words which are to be inserted
or omitted, and where, by reference to the page, line, and word of the bill."-Manual, p. 91.
tion of a vote in
"When a vote is once passed in a committee it cannot No reconsiderabe altered but by the House, their votes being binding committee. on themselves.”—Manual, p. 91.
"If the committee are opposed to the whole paper, and not reject a paper, think it cannot be made good by amendments, they can
Committee cannot change title or
When and in
what order com
not reject it, but must report it back to the House without amendments, and there make their opposition."— Manual, p. 90.
"The committee have full power over the bill or other paper, except that they cannot change the title or subject."-Manual, p. 89.
"As soon as the Journal is read, and the unfinished mittees are to re- business in which the House was engaged at the last preceding adjournment has been disposed of, reports from committees shall be called for and disposed of; in doing which the Speaker shall call upon each standing committee in the following order, viz:
Committee of Elections.
Committee of Ways and Means.
Committee on Appropriations.
Committee on Banking and Currency.
Committee on the Pacific Railroad.
Committee of Claims.
Committee on Commerce.
Committee on the Public Lands.
Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads.
Committee on the Judiciary.
Committee on Revolutionary Claims.
Committee on Public Expenditures.
Committee on Private Land Claims.
Committee on Manufactures.
Committee on Agriculture.
Committee on Indian Affairs.
Committee on Military Affairs.
Committee on the Militia.
Committee on Naval Affairs.
Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Committee on the Territories.
Committee on Revolutionary Pensions.
Committee on Invalid Pensions.
Committee on Roads and Canals.
Committee on Mines and Mining.
Committee on Freedmen's Affairs.