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Introduction . . . . . . . . • • • •
First Congress, 1789-91 .............
. . 181
202 209 218 225 232
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Forty-fourth Congress, 1875-77 .......
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fty-fourth Congresos, 1891-62
Fifty-sixth Congress, 1899-1901 .....
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Seventy-ninth Congress, 1945-46 .
I. Glossary .................
House of Representatives, 1789–1954 .
sentatives • • • • • • • • • • • • •
sentatives . . . . . . . . V. List of references . . . . . . . . . . . . Index ........................
379 384 389 394 398 404 410 415 421 427 433
Inder V. List of ntatives
The United States House of Representatives, often referred to as the lower House or as simply the House, was established by article I, section 1, of the Constitution, which provides that "All legislative Powers heroin granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives." Section 2, as amended by section 2 of the 14th amendment, stipulates that "Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed." The section further provides that Members of the Houso shall be chosen every second year by the people of the several States and that the House shall choose its speaker and other officers. Section 4, as amended by the 20th amendment, provides that the Congress shall as semble at least once in every year, beginning at noon on the third day of January unless a different day is designated by law.
Section 7 of article I provides that "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills." No express provision vests in the House the sole power to originate general appropriation bills, but customarily such bills originate there. The Senate exercises the same power to amend or approve appropriation bills that it does in relation to revenue bills.
In addition to the legislative function, the Constitution vests certain other powers in the House of Representatives. Article I, section 2, provides that the House "shall have the sole Power of Impeachment, that is, the bringing of charges against the President and other public officials for trial before the Senate; and section 5 provides that "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and Qualifications of its own Members." The 12th amendment provides that the electors for President and Vice President in each State shall transmit their votes to the President of the Senate, who shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all such votes to be counted. The 12th amendment also gives the House the power to elect a President should no candidate receive a majority of the votes nf the whole number of electors.
Provision is also made in article I, section 5, for each House to determine its rules of procedure, to compel the attendance of absent Members, and to punish its Members for disorderly behavior. Each House keeps bill books, accounts, registers, indexes, and other administrative records and, under its rule-making power, makes rules for the preservation and control of its records.
The first session of the Congress of the United States, under a resolution passed by the Congress of the Confederation, on September 13, 1788, was called to meet in New York City on March 4, 1789. On the appointed day only 13 Members of the House were present and, as this number did not constitute a quorum, the sessions were adjourned from day to day until April
1, when a majority of the Members made their appearance. 1 The House thereupon olooted Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg as its Speaker, and John Beckley as its Clerk. On April 6 the House was notified that a quorum of the Senato had assembled, whereupon the House withdrew to the Senate chamber where the electoral votes for President and Vice President vere counted jointly. On April 7 the House adopted rules and orders for the conduct of its business, and on April 8 the Chief Justice of the State of New York administered the oath of office to all House Members who were present.
The first and second 888sions of the First Congress were held in New York City, but the third session, which began on December 6, 1790, was hold. in Philadelphia. Congress continued to meet there until it moved to the new Capitol in Washington for the opening of the second session of the Sixth Congress on November 17, 1800. The House occupied a room in the south end of the new building.
Both Houses were forced to vacate their chamberg temporarily in 1814, when the British burned the Capitol Building. The Congress met first in Blodgett's Hotel on E Street between Seventh and Eighth Streets NW., and later in larger quarters erected for its use at the corner of First Street and Maryland Avenue NE., on the site now occupied by the Supreme Court Building. After the Capitol was restored both Houses returned to their respective quarters for the opening of the 1st session of the 16th Congress on December 6, 1819.
The House continued to occupy the chamber originally provided for its use until December 16, 1857, when it moved into a much larger chamber in the newly constructed House wing. Since that time the old chamber has been Ksed to house statues of famous Americans and has been known as Statuary Hall.
The general organization and nature or wie House of Representatives have changed little since 1789. The House is a new body at the beginning of each Congress, since all its Members are elected every 2 years and none of then carry over from ano Congress to another except by reelection.
Kuch of the work of ühe House is done in committees. In the early years most legislation was handled by special committees appointed by the Speaker, although there were more standing committees in the House than in the Senate. Two standing committees of the House were created in 1789 and others were added until in 1816 there were 14 such committees. The number of standing committees gradually increased to 47 in 1946, but the Legislative Reorganization Act of that year (60 Stat, 812) reduced their number to 19.
For the record of the organization meetings of wie House of Representatives, see the House Journal, 1st Cong., 1st se98., p. 3-11.