United States House of Representatives

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For the current United States Congress, see 116th United States Congress. United States House of Representatives_sentence_0

For state-level houses of representatives in the United States, see List of United States state legislatures. United States House of Representatives_sentence_1

United States House of Representatives_table_infobox_0

United States House of RepresentativesUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_0_0
TypeUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_1_0
TypeUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_2_0 Lower house of the United States CongressUnited States House of Representatives_cell_0_2_1
Term limitsUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_3_0 NoneUnited States House of Representatives_cell_0_3_1
HistoryUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_4_0
New session startedUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_5_0 January 3, 2019 (2019-01-03)United States House of Representatives_cell_0_5_1
LeadershipUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_6_0
SpeakerUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_7_0 Nancy Pelosi (D)

since January 3, 2019United States House of Representatives_cell_0_7_1

Majority LeaderUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_8_0 Steny Hoyer (D)

since January 3, 2019United States House of Representatives_cell_0_8_1

Minority LeaderUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_9_0 Kevin McCarthy (R)

since January 3, 2019United States House of Representatives_cell_0_9_1

Majority WhipUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_10_0 Jim Clyburn (D)

since January 3, 2019United States House of Representatives_cell_0_10_1

Minority WhipUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_11_0 Steve Scalise (R)

since January 3, 2019United States House of Representatives_cell_0_11_1

DeanUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_12_0 Don Young (R)

since December 5, 2017United States House of Representatives_cell_0_12_1

StructureUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_13_0
SeatsUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_14_0 435 voting members

6 non-voting members 218 for a majorityUnited States House of Representatives_cell_0_14_1

Political groupsUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_15_0 Majority (222)

Minority (212)United States House of Representatives_cell_0_15_1

Length of termUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_16_0 2 yearsUnited States House of Representatives_cell_0_16_1
ElectionsUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_17_0
Voting systemUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_18_0 Varies in 7 states

Plurality voting in 45 statesUnited States House of Representatives_cell_0_18_1

Last electionUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_19_0 November 3, 2020United States House of Representatives_cell_0_19_1
Next electionUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_20_0 November 8, 2022United States House of Representatives_cell_0_20_1
RedistrictingUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_21_0 State legislatures or redistricting commissions, varies by stateUnited States House of Representatives_cell_0_21_1
Meeting placeUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_22_0
WebsiteUnited States House of Representatives_header_cell_0_23_0

The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, with the Senate being the upper house. United States House of Representatives_sentence_2

Together they compose the national bicameral legislature of the United States. United States House of Representatives_sentence_3

The composition of the House is established by Article One of the United States Constitution. United States House of Representatives_sentence_4

The House is composed of representatives who sit in congressional districts allocated to each state on a basis of population as measured by the U.S. United States House of Representatives_sentence_5 Census, with each district entitled to one representative. United States House of Representatives_sentence_6

Since its inception in 1789, all representatives have been directly elected. United States House of Representatives_sentence_7

The number of voting representatives is fixed by law at 435. United States House of Representatives_sentence_8

In addition, there are currently six non-voting members, bringing the total membership of the US House of Representatives to 441 or fewer with vacancies. United States House of Representatives_sentence_9

As of the 2010 Census, the largest delegation is that of California, with 53 representatives. United States House of Representatives_sentence_10

Seven states have only one representative: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. United States House of Representatives_sentence_11

The House is charged with the passage of federal legislation, known as bills, which, after concurrence by the Senate, are sent to the president for consideration. United States House of Representatives_sentence_12

The House also has exclusive powers: it initiates all revenue bills, impeaches federal officers, and elects the president if no candidate receives a majority of votes in the Electoral College. United States House of Representatives_sentence_13

The House meets in the south wing of the United States Capitol. United States House of Representatives_sentence_14

The presiding officer is the Speaker of the House, who is elected by the members thereof (and is therefore traditionally the leader of the controlling party). United States House of Representatives_sentence_15

The Speaker and other floor leaders are chosen by the Democratic Caucus or the Republican Conference, depending on whichever party has more voting members. United States House of Representatives_sentence_16

History United States House of Representatives_section_0

Main article: History of the United States House of Representatives United States House of Representatives_sentence_17

Under the Articles of Confederation, the Congress of the Confederation was a unicameral body with equal representation for each state, any of which could veto most actions. United States House of Representatives_sentence_18

After eight years of a more limited confederal government under the Articles, numerous political leaders such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton initiated the Constitutional Convention in 1787, which received the Confederation Congress's sanction to "amend the Articles of Confederation." United States House of Representatives_sentence_19

All states except Rhode Island agreed to send delegates. United States House of Representatives_sentence_20

The structure of Congress was a contentious issue among the founders during the convention. United States House of Representatives_sentence_21

Edmund Randolph's Virginia Plan called for a bicameral Congress: the lower house would be "of the people," elected directly by the people of the United States and representing public opinion, and a more deliberative upper house, elected by the lower house, that would represent the individual states, and would be less susceptible to variations of mass sentiment. United States House of Representatives_sentence_22

The House is commonly referred to as the lower house and the Senate the upper house, although the United States Constitution does not use that terminology. United States House of Representatives_sentence_23

Both houses' approval is necessary for the passage of legislation. United States House of Representatives_sentence_24

The Virginia Plan drew the support of delegates from large states such as Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, as it called for representation based on population. United States House of Representatives_sentence_25

The smaller states, however, favored the New Jersey Plan, which called for a unicameral Congress with equal representation for the states. United States House of Representatives_sentence_26

Eventually, the Convention reached the Connecticut Compromise or Great Compromise, under which one house of Congress (the House of Representatives) would provide representation proportional to each state's population, whereas the other (the Senate) would provide equal representation amongst the states. United States House of Representatives_sentence_27

The Constitution was ratified by the requisite number of states (nine out of the 13) in 1788, but its implementation was set for March 4, 1789. United States House of Representatives_sentence_28

The House began work on April 1, 1789, when it achieved a quorum for the first time. United States House of Representatives_sentence_29

During the first half of the 19th century, the House was frequently in conflict with the Senate over regionally divisive issues, including slavery. United States House of Representatives_sentence_30

The North was much more populous than the South, and therefore dominated the House of Representatives. United States House of Representatives_sentence_31

However, the North held no such advantage in the Senate, where the equal representation of states prevailed. United States House of Representatives_sentence_32

Regional conflict was most pronounced over the issue of slavery. United States House of Representatives_sentence_33

One example of a provision repeatedly supported by the House but blocked by the Senate was the Wilmot Proviso, which sought to ban slavery in the land gained during the Mexican–American War. United States House of Representatives_sentence_34

Conflict over slavery and other issues persisted until the Civil War (1861–1865), which began soon after several southern states attempted to secede from the Union. United States House of Representatives_sentence_35

The war culminated in the South's defeat and in the abolition of slavery. United States House of Representatives_sentence_36

All southern senators except Andrew Johnson resigned their seats at the beginning of the war, and therefore the Senate did not hold the balance of power between North and South during the war. United States House of Representatives_sentence_37

The years of Reconstruction that followed witnessed large majorities for the Republican Party, which many Americans associated with the Union's victory in the Civil War and the ending of slavery. United States House of Representatives_sentence_38

The Reconstruction period ended in about 1877; the ensuing era, known as the Gilded Age, was marked by sharp political divisions in the electorate. United States House of Representatives_sentence_39

The Democratic Party and Republican Party each held majorities in the House at various times. United States House of Representatives_sentence_40

The late 19th and early 20th centuries also saw a dramatic increase in the power of the speaker of the House. United States House of Representatives_sentence_41

The rise of the speaker's influence began in the 1890s, during the tenure of Republican Thomas Brackett Reed. United States House of Representatives_sentence_42

"Czar Reed," as he was nicknamed, attempted to put into effect his view that "The best system is to have one party govern and the other party watch." United States House of Representatives_sentence_43

The leadership structure of the House also developed during approximately the same period, with the positions of majority leader and minority leader being created in 1899. United States House of Representatives_sentence_44

While the minority leader was the head of the minority party, the majority leader remained subordinate to the speaker. United States House of Representatives_sentence_45

The speakership reached its zenith during the term of Republican Joseph Gurney Cannon, from 1903 to 1911. United States House of Representatives_sentence_46

The powers of the speaker included chairmanship of the influential Rules Committee and the ability to appoint members of other House committees. United States House of Representatives_sentence_47

These powers, however, were curtailed in the "Revolution of 1910" because of the efforts of Democrats and dissatisfied Republicans who opposed Cannon's heavy-handed tactics. United States House of Representatives_sentence_48

The Democratic Party dominated the House of Representatives during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933–1945), often winning over two-thirds of the seats. United States House of Representatives_sentence_49

Both Democrats and Republicans were in power at various times during the next decade. United States House of Representatives_sentence_50

The Democratic Party maintained control of the House from 1955 until 1995. United States House of Representatives_sentence_51

In the mid-1970s, members passed major reforms that strengthened the power of sub-committees at the expense of committee chairs and allowed party leaders to nominate committee chairs. United States House of Representatives_sentence_52

These actions were taken to undermine the seniority system, and to reduce the ability of a small number of senior members to obstruct legislation they did not favor. United States House of Representatives_sentence_53

There was also a shift from the 1990s to greater control of the legislative program by the majority party; the power of party leaders (especially the speaker) grew considerably. United States House of Representatives_sentence_54

According to historian Julian E. Zelizer, the majority Democrats minimized the number of staff positions available to the minority Republicans, kept them out of decision-making, and gerrymandered their home districts. United States House of Representatives_sentence_55

Republican Newt Gingrich argued American democracy was being ruined by the Democrats' tactics and that the GOP had to destroy the system before it could be saved. United States House of Representatives_sentence_56

Cooperation in governance, says Zelizer, would have to be put aside until they deposed Speaker Wright and regained power. United States House of Representatives_sentence_57

Gingrich brought an ethics complaint which led to Wright's resignation in 1989. United States House of Representatives_sentence_58

Gingrich gained support from the media and good government forces in his crusade to persuade Americans that the system was, in Gingrich's words, “morally, intellectually and spiritually corrupt.” Gingrich followed Wright's successor, Democrat Tom Foley, as speaker after the Republican Revolution of 1994 gave his party control of the House. United States House of Representatives_sentence_59

Gingrich attempted to pass a major legislative program, the Contract with America and made major reforms of the House, notably reducing the tenure of committee chairs to three two-year terms. United States House of Representatives_sentence_60

Many elements of the Contract did not pass Congress, were vetoed by President Bill Clinton, or were substantially altered in negotiations with Clinton. United States House of Representatives_sentence_61

However, after Republicans held control in the 1996 election, Clinton and the Gingrich-led House agreed on the first balanced federal budget in decades, along with a substantial tax cut. United States House of Representatives_sentence_62

The Republicans held on to the House until 2006, when the Democrats won control and Nancy Pelosi was subsequently elected by the House as the first female speaker. United States House of Representatives_sentence_63

The Republicans retook the House in 2011, with the largest shift of power since the 1930s. United States House of Representatives_sentence_64

However, the Democrats retook the house 8 years later in 2019, which became the largest shift of power to the Democrats since the 1970s. United States House of Representatives_sentence_65

Membership, qualifications, and apportionment United States House of Representatives_section_1

Apportionments United States House of Representatives_section_2

Main article: United States congressional apportionment United States House of Representatives_sentence_66

Under Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, seats in the House of Representatives are apportioned among the states by population, as determined by the census conducted every ten years. United States House of Representatives_sentence_67

Each state is entitled to at least one representative, however small its population. United States House of Representatives_sentence_68

The only constitutional rule relating to the size of the House states: "The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative." United States House of Representatives_sentence_69

Congress regularly increased the size of the House to account for population growth until it fixed the number of voting House members at 435 in 1911. United States House of Representatives_sentence_70

In 1959, upon the admission of Alaska and Hawaii, the number was temporarily increased to 437 (seating one representative from each of those states without changing existing apportionment), and returned to 435 four years later, after the reapportionment consequent to the 1960 census. United States House of Representatives_sentence_71

The Constitution does not provide for the representation of the District of Columbia or of territories. United States House of Representatives_sentence_72

The District of Columbia and the territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. United States House of Representatives_sentence_73 Virgin Islands are each represented by one non-voting delegate. United States House of Representatives_sentence_74

Puerto Rico elects a resident commissioner, but other than having a four-year term, the resident commissioner's role is identical to the delegates from the other territories. United States House of Representatives_sentence_75

The five delegates and resident commissioner may participate in debates; before 2011, they were also allowed to vote in committees and the Committee of the Whole when their votes would not be decisive. United States House of Representatives_sentence_76

Redistricting United States House of Representatives_section_3

Main article: Redistricting United States House of Representatives_sentence_77

States entitled to more than one representative are divided into single-member districts. United States House of Representatives_sentence_78

This has been a federal statutory requirement since 1967. United States House of Representatives_sentence_79

Before that law, general ticket representation was used by some states. United States House of Representatives_sentence_80

States typically redraw district boundaries after each census, though they may do so at other times, such as the 2003 Texas redistricting. United States House of Representatives_sentence_81

Each state determines its own district boundaries, either through legislation or through non-partisan panels. United States House of Representatives_sentence_82

"Malapportionment" is unconstitutional and districts must be approximately equal in population (see Wesberry v. Sanders). United States House of Representatives_sentence_83

Additionally, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits redistricting plans that are intended to, or have the effect of, discriminating against racial or language minority voters. United States House of Representatives_sentence_84

Aside from malapportionment and discrimination against racial or language minorities, federal courts have allowed state legislatures to engage in gerrymandering to benefit political parties or incumbents. United States House of Representatives_sentence_85

In a 1984 case, Davis v. Bandemer, the Supreme Court held that gerrymandered districts could be struck down based on the Equal Protection Clause, but the Court did not articulate a standard for when districts are impermissibly gerrymandered. United States House of Representatives_sentence_86

However, the Court overruled Davis in 2004 in Vieth v. Jubelirer, and Court precedent currently holds gerrymandering to be a political question. United States House of Representatives_sentence_87

According to calculations made by Burt Neuborne using criteria set forth by the American Political Science Association, about 40 seats, less than 10% of the House membership, are chosen through a genuinely contested electoral process, given partisan gerrymandering. United States House of Representatives_sentence_88

Qualifications United States House of Representatives_section_4

Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution sets three qualifications for representatives. United States House of Representatives_sentence_89

Each representative must: (1) be at least twenty-five years old; (2) have been a citizen of the United States for the past seven years; and (3) be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the state they represent. United States House of Representatives_sentence_90

Members are not required to live in the districts they represent, but they traditionally do. United States House of Representatives_sentence_91

The age and citizenship qualifications for representatives are less than those for senators. United States House of Representatives_sentence_92

The constitutional requirements of Article I, Section 2 for election to Congress are the maximum requirements that can be imposed on a candidate. United States House of Representatives_sentence_93

Therefore, Article I, Section 5, which permits each House to be the judge of the qualifications of its own members does not permit either House to establish additional qualifications. United States House of Representatives_sentence_94

Likewise a State could not establish additional qualifications. United States House of Representatives_sentence_95

William C. C. Claiborne served in the House below the minimum age of 25. United States House of Representatives_sentence_96

Disqualification: under the Fourteenth Amendment, a federal or state officer who takes the requisite oath to support the Constitution, but later engages in rebellion or aids the enemies of the United States, is disqualified from becoming a representative. United States House of Representatives_sentence_97

This post–Civil War provision was intended to prevent those who sided with the Confederacy from serving. United States House of Representatives_sentence_98

However, disqualified individuals may serve if they gain the consent of two-thirds of both houses of Congress. United States House of Representatives_sentence_99

Elections United States House of Representatives_section_5

Elections for representatives are held in every even-numbered year, on Election Day the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. United States House of Representatives_sentence_100

By law, representatives must be elected from single-member districts. United States House of Representatives_sentence_101

After a census is taken (in a year ending in 0), the year ending in 2 is the first year in which elections for U.S. House districts are based on that census (with the Congress based on those districts starting its term on the following Jan. 3). United States House of Representatives_sentence_102

In most states, major party candidates for each district are nominated in partisan primary elections, typically held in spring to late summer. United States House of Representatives_sentence_103

In some states, the Republican and Democratic parties choose their candidates for each district in their political conventions in spring or early summer, which often use unanimous voice votes to reflect either confidence in the incumbent or the result of bargaining in earlier private discussions. United States House of Representatives_sentence_104

Exceptions can result in so-called floor fights—convention votes by delegates, with outcomes that can be hard to predict. United States House of Representatives_sentence_105

Especially if a convention is closely divided, a losing candidate may contend further by meeting the conditions for a primary election. United States House of Representatives_sentence_106

The courts generally do not consider ballot access rules for independent and third party candidates to be additional qualifications for holding office and no federal statutes regulate ballot access. United States House of Representatives_sentence_107

As a result, the process to gain ballot access varies greatly from state to state, and in the case of a third party may be affected by results of previous years' elections. United States House of Representatives_sentence_108

In 1967, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Congressional District Act, which requires almost all representatives to be elected from single-member-districts. United States House of Representatives_sentence_109

Following the Wesberry v. Sanders decision, Congress was motivated by fears that courts would impose at-large plurality districts on states that did not redistrict to comply with the new mandates for districts roughly equal in population, and Congress also sought to prevent attempts by southern states to use such voting systems to dilute the vote of racial minorities. United States House of Representatives_sentence_110

Several states have used multi-member districts in the past, although only two states (Hawaii and New Mexico) used multi-member districts in 1967. United States House of Representatives_sentence_111

Hawaii and New Mexico were made exempt from the Uniform Congressional District Act, and are free to use multi-member districts, although neither state chooses to do so. United States House of Representatives_sentence_112

Louisiana is unique in that it holds an all-party "primary election" on the general Election Day with a subsequent run-off election between the top two finishers (regardless of party) if no candidate received a majority in the primary. United States House of Representatives_sentence_113

The states of Washington and California now use a similar (though not identical) system to that used by Louisiana. United States House of Representatives_sentence_114

Seats vacated during a term are filled through special elections, unless the vacancy occurs closer to the next general election date than a pre-established deadline. United States House of Representatives_sentence_115

The term of a member chosen in a special election usually begins the next day, or as soon as the results are certified. United States House of Representatives_sentence_116

Non-voting delegates United States House of Representatives_section_6

Main article: Non-voting members of the United States House of Representatives United States House of Representatives_sentence_117

Historically, many territories, have sent non-voting delegates to the House. United States House of Representatives_sentence_118

While their role has fluctuated over the years, today they have many of the same privileges as voting members, have a voice in committees, and can introduce bills on the floor, but cannot vote on the ultimate passage of bills. United States House of Representatives_sentence_119

Presently, the District of Columbia and the five inhabited U.S. United States House of Representatives_sentence_120 territories each elect a delegate. United States House of Representatives_sentence_121

A seventh delegate, representing the Cherokee Nation, has been formally proposed but has not yet been seated. United States House of Representatives_sentence_122

An eighth delegate, representing the Choctaw Nation is guaranteed by treaty but has not yet been proposed. United States House of Representatives_sentence_123

Additionally, some territories may choose to also elect shadow representatives, though these are not official members of the House and are separate individuals from their official delegates. United States House of Representatives_sentence_124

Terms United States House of Representatives_section_7

Representatives and delegates serve for two-year terms, while a resident commissioner (a kind of delegate) serves for four years. United States House of Representatives_sentence_125

A term starts on January 3 following the election in November. United States House of Representatives_sentence_126

The U.S. Constitution requires that vacancies in the House be filled with a special election. United States House of Representatives_sentence_127

The term of the replacement member expires on the date that the original member's would have expired. United States House of Representatives_sentence_128

The Constitution permits the House to expel a member with a two-thirds vote. United States House of Representatives_sentence_129

In the history of the United States, only five members have been expelled from the House; in 1861, three were removed for supporting the Confederate states' secession: John Bullock Clark (D-MO), John William Reid (D-MO) and Henry Cornelius Burnett (D-KY). United States House of Representatives_sentence_130

Michael Myers (D-PA) was expelled after his criminal conviction for accepting bribes in 1980, and James Traficant (D-OH) was expelled in 2002 following his conviction for corruption. United States House of Representatives_sentence_131

The House also has the power to formally censure or reprimand its members; censure or reprimand of a member requires only a simple majority, and does not remove that member from office. United States House of Representatives_sentence_132

Comparison to the Senate United States House of Representatives_section_8

As a check on the regional, popular, and rapidly changing politics of the House, the Senate has several distinct powers. United States House of Representatives_sentence_133

For example, the "advice and consent" powers (such as the power to approve treaties and confirm members of the Cabinet) are a sole Senate privilege. United States House of Representatives_sentence_134

The House, however, has the exclusive power to initiate bills for raising revenue, to impeach officials, and to choose the president if a presidential candidate fails to get a majority of the Electoral College votes. United States House of Representatives_sentence_135

The Senate and House are further differentiated by term lengths and the number of districts represented: the Senate has longer terms of six years, fewer members (currently one hundred, two for each state), and (in all but seven delegations) larger constituencies per member. United States House of Representatives_sentence_136

The Senate is informally referred to as the "upper" house, and the House of Representatives as the "lower" house. United States House of Representatives_sentence_137

Salary and benefits United States House of Representatives_section_9

Salaries United States House of Representatives_section_10

As of December 2014, the annual salary of each representative is $174,000, the same as it is for each member of the Senate. United States House of Representatives_sentence_138

The speaker of the House and the majority and minority leaders earn more: $223,500 for the speaker and $193,400 for their party leaders (the same as Senate leaders). United States House of Representatives_sentence_139

A cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase takes effect annually unless Congress votes not to accept it. United States House of Representatives_sentence_140

Congress sets members' salaries; however, the Twenty-seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits a change in salary (but not COLA) from taking effect until after the next election of the whole House. United States House of Representatives_sentence_141

Representatives are eligible for retirement benefits after serving for five years. United States House of Representatives_sentence_142

Outside pay is limited to 15% of congressional pay, and certain types of income involving a fiduciary responsibility or personal endorsement are prohibited. United States House of Representatives_sentence_143

Salaries are not for life, only during active term. United States House of Representatives_sentence_144

Titles United States House of Representatives_section_11

Representatives use the prefix "The Honorable" before their names. United States House of Representatives_sentence_145

A member of the House is referred to as a representative, congressman, or congresswoman. United States House of Representatives_sentence_146

While senators are members of Congress, the terms congressman and congresswoman are not generally used for them. United States House of Representatives_sentence_147

Representatives are usually identified in the media and other sources by party and state, and sometimes by congressional district, or a major city or community within their district. United States House of Representatives_sentence_148

For example, House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents California's 12th congressional district within San Francisco, may be identified as "D–California," "D–California–12" or "D–San Francisco." United States House of Representatives_sentence_149

Pension United States House of Representatives_section_12

All members of Congress are automatically (without the option of withdrawal) enrolled in the Federal Employees Retirement System, a pension system also used for federal civil servants. United States House of Representatives_sentence_150

They become eligible to receive benefits after five years of service (two and one-half terms in the House). United States House of Representatives_sentence_151

The FERS is composed of three elements: United States House of Representatives_sentence_152

United States House of Representatives_ordered_list_0

  1. Social SecurityUnited States House of Representatives_item_0_0
  2. The FERS basic annuity, a monthly pension plan based on the number of years of service and the average of the three highest years of basic payUnited States House of Representatives_item_0_1
  3. The Thrift Savings Plan, a 401(k)-like defined contribution plan for retirement account into which participants can deposit up to a maximum of $19,000 in 2019. Their employing agency matches employee contributions up to 5% of pay.United States House of Representatives_item_0_2

Members of Congress may retire with full benefits at age 62 after five years of service, at age 50 after twenty years of service, and at any age after twenty-five years of service. United States House of Representatives_sentence_153

They may retire with reduced benefits at ages 55 to 59 after five years of service. United States House of Representatives_sentence_154

Depending on birth year, they may receive a reduced pension after ten years of service if they are between 55 years and 57 years of age. United States House of Representatives_sentence_155

Tax deductions United States House of Representatives_section_13

Members of Congress are permitted to deduct up to $3,000 of living expenses per year incurred while living away from their district or home state. United States House of Representatives_sentence_156

Health benefits United States House of Representatives_section_14

Before 2014, members of Congress and their staff had access to essentially the same health benefits as federal civil servants; they could voluntarily enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), an employer-sponsored health insurance program, and were eligible to participate in other programs, such as the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS). United States House of Representatives_sentence_157

However, Section 1312(d)(3)(D) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) provided that the only health plans that the federal government can make available to members of Congress and certain congressional staff are those created under the ACA or offered through a health care exchange. United States House of Representatives_sentence_158

The Office of Personnel Management promulgated a final rule to comply with Section 1312(d)(3)(D). United States House of Representatives_sentence_159

Under the rule, effective January 1, 2014, members and designated staff are no longer able to purchase FEHBP plans as active employees. United States House of Representatives_sentence_160

However, if members enroll in a health plan offered through a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchange, they remain eligible for an employer contribution toward coverage, and members and designated staff eligible for retirement may enroll in a FEHBP plan upon retirement. United States House of Representatives_sentence_161

The ACA and the final rule do not affect members' or staffers' eligibility for Medicare benefits. United States House of Representatives_sentence_162

The ACA and the final rule also do not affect members' and staffers' eligibility for other health benefits related to federal employment, so current members and staff are eligible to participate in FSAFEDS (which has three options within the program), the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, and the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program. United States House of Representatives_sentence_163

The Office of the Attending Physician at the U.S. Capitol provides current members with health care for an annual fee. United States House of Representatives_sentence_164

The attending physician provides routine exams, consultations, and certain diagnostics, and may write prescriptions (although it does not dispense them). United States House of Representatives_sentence_165

The office does not provide vision or dental care. United States House of Representatives_sentence_166

Current members (but not their dependents, and not former members) may also receive medical and emergency dental care at military treatment facilities. United States House of Representatives_sentence_167

There is no charge for outpatient care if it is provided in the National Capital Region, but members are billed at full reimbursement rates (set by the Department of Defense) for inpatient care. United States House of Representatives_sentence_168

(Outside the National Capital Region, charges are at full reimbursement rates for both inpatient and outpatient care). United States House of Representatives_sentence_169

Personnel, mail and office expenses United States House of Representatives_section_15

House members are eligible for a Member's Representational Allowance (MRA) to support them in their official and representational duties to their district. United States House of Representatives_sentence_170

The MRA is calculated based on three components: one for personnel, one for official office expenses and one for official or franked mail. United States House of Representatives_sentence_171

The personnel allowance is the same for all members; the office and mail allowances vary based on the members' district's distance from Washington, D.C., the cost of office space in the member's district, and the number of non-business addresses in their district. United States House of Representatives_sentence_172

These three components are used to calculate a single MRA that can fund any expense—even though each component is calculated individually, the franking allowance can be used to pay for personnel expenses if the member so chooses. United States House of Representatives_sentence_173

In 2011 this allowance averaged $1.4 million per member, and ranged from $1.35 to $1.67 million. United States House of Representatives_sentence_174

The Personnel allowance was $944,671 per member in 2010. United States House of Representatives_sentence_175

Each member may employ no more than 18 permanent employees. United States House of Representatives_sentence_176

Members' employees' salary is capped at $168,411 as of 2009. United States House of Representatives_sentence_177

Travel allowance United States House of Representatives_section_16

Each member-elect and one staffer can be paid for one round trip between their home in their congressional district and Washington, D.C. for organization caucuses. United States House of Representatives_sentence_178

Officers United States House of Representatives_section_17

Member officials United States House of Representatives_section_18

The party with a majority of seats in the House is known as the majority party. United States House of Representatives_sentence_179

The next-largest party is the minority party. United States House of Representatives_sentence_180

The speaker, committee chairs, and some other officials are generally from the majority party; they have counterparts (for instance, the "ranking members" of committees) in the minority party. United States House of Representatives_sentence_181

The Constitution provides that the House may choose its own speaker. United States House of Representatives_sentence_182

Although not explicitly required by the Constitution, every speaker has been a member of the House. United States House of Representatives_sentence_183

The Constitution does not specify the duties and powers of the speaker, which are instead regulated by the rules and customs of the House. United States House of Representatives_sentence_184

Speakers have a role both as a leader of the House and the leader of their party (which need not be the majority party; theoretically, a member of the minority party could be elected as speaker with the support of a fraction of members of the majority party). United States House of Representatives_sentence_185

Under the Presidential Succession Act (1947), the speaker is second in the line of presidential succession after the vice president. United States House of Representatives_sentence_186

The speaker is the presiding officer of the House but does not preside over every debate. United States House of Representatives_sentence_187

Instead, s/he delegates the responsibility of presiding to other members in most cases. United States House of Representatives_sentence_188

The presiding officer sits in a chair in the front of the House chamber. United States House of Representatives_sentence_189

The powers of the presiding officer are extensive; one important power is that of controlling the order in which members of the House speak. United States House of Representatives_sentence_190

No member may make a speech or a motion unless s/he has first been recognized by the presiding officer. United States House of Representatives_sentence_191

Moreover, the presiding officer may rule on a "point of order" (a member's objection that a rule has been breached); the decision is subject to appeal to the whole House. United States House of Representatives_sentence_192

Speakers serve as chairs of their party's steering committee, which is responsible for assigning party members to other House committees. United States House of Representatives_sentence_193

The speaker chooses the chairs of standing committees, appoints most of the members of the Rules Committee, appoints all members of conference committees, and determines which committees consider bills. United States House of Representatives_sentence_194

Each party elects a floor leader, who is known as the majority leader or minority leader. United States House of Representatives_sentence_195

The minority leader heads their party in the House, and the majority leader is their party's second-highest-ranking official, behind the speaker. United States House of Representatives_sentence_196

Party leaders decide what legislation members of their party should either support or oppose. United States House of Representatives_sentence_197

Each party also elects a Whip, who works to ensure that the party's members vote as the party leadership desires. United States House of Representatives_sentence_198

The current majority whip in the House of Representatives is Jim Clyburn, who is a member of the Democratic Party. United States House of Representatives_sentence_199

The current minority whip is Steve Scalise, who is a member of the Republican Party. United States House of Representatives_sentence_200

The whip is supported by chief deputy whips. United States House of Representatives_sentence_201

After the whips, the next ranking official in the House party's leadership is the party conference chair (styled as the Republican conference chair and Democratic caucus chair). United States House of Representatives_sentence_202

After the conference chair, there are differences between each party's subsequent leadership ranks. United States House of Representatives_sentence_203

After the Democratic caucus chair is the campaign committee chair (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee), then the co-chairs of the Steering Committee. United States House of Representatives_sentence_204

For the Republicans it is the chair of the House Republican Policy Committee, followed by the campaign committee chairman (styled as the National Republican Congressional Committee). United States House of Representatives_sentence_205

The chairs of House committees, particularly influential standing committees such as Appropriations, Ways and Means, and Rules, are powerful but not officially part of the House leadership hierarchy. United States House of Representatives_sentence_206

Until the post of majority leader was created, the chair of Ways and Means was the de facto majority leader. United States House of Representatives_sentence_207

Leadership and partisanship United States House of Representatives_section_19

When the presidency and Senate are controlled by a different party from the one controlling the House, the speaker can become the de facto "leader of the opposition." United States House of Representatives_sentence_208

Some notable examples include Tip O'Neill in the 1980s, Newt Gingrich in the 1990s, John Boehner in the early 2010s, and Nancy Pelosi in the late 2000s and again in the late 2010s and early 2020s. United States House of Representatives_sentence_209

Since the speaker is a partisan officer with substantial power to control the business of the House, the position is often used for partisan advantage. United States House of Representatives_sentence_210

In the instance when the presidency and both Houses of Congress are controlled by one party, the speaker normally takes a low profile and defers to the president. United States House of Representatives_sentence_211

For that situation the House minority leader can play the role of a de facto "leader of the opposition," often more so than the Senate minority leader, due to the more partisan nature of the House and the greater role of leadership. United States House of Representatives_sentence_212

Non-member officials United States House of Representatives_section_20

The House is also served by several officials who are not members. United States House of Representatives_sentence_213

The House's chief such officer is the clerk, who maintains public records, prepares documents, and oversees junior officials, including pages until the discontinuation of House pages in 2011. United States House of Representatives_sentence_214

The clerk also presides over the House at the beginning of each new Congress pending the election of a speaker. United States House of Representatives_sentence_215

Another officer is the chief administrative officer, responsible for the day-to-day administrative support to the House of Representatives. United States House of Representatives_sentence_216

This includes everything from payroll to foodservice. United States House of Representatives_sentence_217

The position of chief administrative officer (CAO) was created by the 104th Congress following the 1994 mid-term elections, replacing the positions of doorkeeper and director of non-legislative and financial services (created by the previous congress to administer the non-partisan functions of the House). United States House of Representatives_sentence_218

The CAO also assumed some of the responsibilities of the House Information Services, which previously had been controlled directly by the Committee on House Administration, then headed by Representative Charlie Rose of North Carolina, along with the House "Folding Room." United States House of Representatives_sentence_219

The chaplain leads the House in prayer at the opening of the day. United States House of Representatives_sentence_220

The sergeant at arms is the House's chief law enforcement officer and maintains order and security on House premises. United States House of Representatives_sentence_221

Finally, routine police work is handled by the United States Capitol Police, which is supervised by the Capitol Police Board, a body to which the sergeant at arms belongs, and chairs in even-numbered years. United States House of Representatives_sentence_222

Procedure United States House of Representatives_section_21

Main article: Procedures of the United States House of Representatives United States House of Representatives_sentence_223

Daily procedures United States House of Representatives_section_22

Like the Senate, the House of Representatives meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. At one end of the chamber of the House is a rostrum from which the speaker, Speaker pro tempore, or (when in the Committee of the Whole) the chair presides. United States House of Representatives_sentence_224

The lower tier of the rostrum is used by clerks and other officials. United States House of Representatives_sentence_225

Members' seats are arranged in the chamber in a semicircular pattern facing the rostrum and are divided by a wide central aisle. United States House of Representatives_sentence_226

By tradition, Democrats sit on the left of the center aisle, while Republicans sit on the right, facing the presiding officer's chair. United States House of Representatives_sentence_227

Sittings are normally held on weekdays; meetings on Saturdays and Sundays are rare. United States House of Representatives_sentence_228

Sittings of the House are generally open to the public; visitors must obtain a House Gallery pass from a congressional office. United States House of Representatives_sentence_229

Sittings are broadcast live on television and have been streamed live on C-SPAN since March 19, 1979, and on HouseLive, the official streaming service operated by the Clerk, since the early 2010s. United States House of Representatives_sentence_230

The procedure of the House depends not only on the rules, but also on a variety of customs, precedents, and traditions. United States House of Representatives_sentence_231

In many cases, the House waives some of its stricter rules (including time limits on debates) by unanimous consent. United States House of Representatives_sentence_232

A member may block a unanimous consent agreement, but objections are rare. United States House of Representatives_sentence_233

The presiding officer, the speaker of the House enforces the rules of the House, and may warn members who deviate from them. United States House of Representatives_sentence_234

The speaker uses a gavel to maintain order. United States House of Representatives_sentence_235

Legislation to be considered by the House is placed in a box called the hopper. United States House of Representatives_sentence_236

In one of its first resolutions, the U.S. House of Representatives established the Office of the Sergeant at Arms. United States House of Representatives_sentence_237

In an American tradition adopted from English custom in 1789 by the first speaker of the House, Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania, the Mace of the United States House of Representatives is used to open all sessions of the House. United States House of Representatives_sentence_238

It is also used during the inaugural ceremonies for all presidents of the United States. United States House of Representatives_sentence_239

For daily sessions of the House, the sergeant at arms carries the mace ahead of the speaker in procession to the rostrum. United States House of Representatives_sentence_240

It is placed on a green marble pedestal to the speaker's right. United States House of Representatives_sentence_241

When the House is in committee, the mace is moved to a pedestal next to the desk of the Sergeant at Arms. United States House of Representatives_sentence_242

The Constitution provides that a majority of the House constitutes a quorum to do business. United States House of Representatives_sentence_243

Under the rules and customs of the House, a quorum is always assumed present unless a quorum call explicitly demonstrates otherwise. United States House of Representatives_sentence_244

House rules prevent a member from making a point of order that a quorum is not present unless a question is being voted on. United States House of Representatives_sentence_245

The presiding officer does not accept a point of order of no quorum during general debate, or when a question is not before the House. United States House of Representatives_sentence_246

During debates, a member may speak only if called upon by the presiding officer. United States House of Representatives_sentence_247

The presiding officer decides which members to recognize, and can therefore control the course of debate. United States House of Representatives_sentence_248

All speeches must be addressed to the presiding officer, using the words "Mr. Speaker" or "Madam Speaker." United States House of Representatives_sentence_249

Only the presiding officer may be directly addressed in speeches; other members must be referred to in the third person. United States House of Representatives_sentence_250

In most cases, members do not refer to each other only by name, but also by state, using forms such as "the gentleman from Virginia," "the distinguished gentlewoman from California," or "my distinguished friend from Alabama." United States House of Representatives_sentence_251

There are 448 permanent seats on the House Floor and four tables, two on each side. United States House of Representatives_sentence_252

These tables are occupied by members of the committee that have brought a bill to the floor for consideration and by the party leadership. United States House of Representatives_sentence_253

Members address the House from microphones at any table or "the well," the area immediately in front of the rostrum. United States House of Representatives_sentence_254

Passage of legislation United States House of Representatives_section_23

Per the Constitution, the House of Representatives determines the rules according to which it passes legislation. United States House of Representatives_sentence_255

Any of the rules can be changed with each new Congress, but in practice each new session amends a standing set of rules built up over the history of the body in an early resolution published for public inspection. United States House of Representatives_sentence_256

Before legislation reaches the floor of the House, the Rules Committee normally passes a rule to govern debate on that measure (which then must be passed by the full House before it becomes effective). United States House of Representatives_sentence_257

For instance, the committee determines if amendments to the bill are permitted. United States House of Representatives_sentence_258

An "open rule" permits all germane amendments, but a "closed rule" restricts or even prohibits amendment. United States House of Representatives_sentence_259

Debate on a bill is generally restricted to one hour, equally divided between the majority and minority parties. United States House of Representatives_sentence_260

Each side is led during the debate by a "floor manager," who allocates debate time to members who wish to speak. United States House of Representatives_sentence_261

On contentious matters, many members may wish to speak; thus, a member may receive as little as one minute, or even thirty seconds, to make his/her point. United States House of Representatives_sentence_262

When debate concludes, the motion is put to a vote. United States House of Representatives_sentence_263

In many cases, the House votes by voice vote; the presiding officer puts the question, and members respond either "yea" or "aye" (in favor of the motion) or "nay" or "no" (against the motion). United States House of Representatives_sentence_264

The presiding officer then announces the result of the voice vote. United States House of Representatives_sentence_265

A member may however challenge the presiding officer's assessment and "request the yeas and nays" or "request a recorded vote." United States House of Representatives_sentence_266

The request may be granted only if it is seconded by one-fifth of the members present. United States House of Representatives_sentence_267

Traditionally, however, members of Congress second requests for recorded votes as a matter of courtesy. United States House of Representatives_sentence_268

Some votes are always recorded, such as those on the annual budget. United States House of Representatives_sentence_269

A recorded vote may be taken in one of three different ways. United States House of Representatives_sentence_270

One is electronically. United States House of Representatives_sentence_271

Members use a personal identification card to record their votes at 46 voting stations in the chamber. United States House of Representatives_sentence_272

Votes are usually held in this way. United States House of Representatives_sentence_273

A second mode of recorded vote is by teller. United States House of Representatives_sentence_274

Members hand in colored cards to indicate their votes: green for "yea," red for "nay," and orange for "present" (i.e., to abstain). United States House of Representatives_sentence_275

Teller votes are normally held only when electronic voting breaks down. United States House of Representatives_sentence_276

Finally, the House may conduct a roll call vote. United States House of Representatives_sentence_277

The Clerk reads the list of members of the House, each of whom announces their vote when their name is called. United States House of Representatives_sentence_278

This procedure is only used rarely (such as for the election of a speaker) because of the time consumed by calling over four hundred names. United States House of Representatives_sentence_279

Voting traditionally lasts for, at most, fifteen minutes, but it may be extended if the leadership needs to "whip" more members into alignment. United States House of Representatives_sentence_280

The 2003 vote on the prescription drug benefit was open for three hours, from 3:00 to 6:00 a.m., to receive four additional votes, three of which were necessary to pass the legislation. United States House of Representatives_sentence_281

The 2005 vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement was open for one hour, from 11:00 p.m. to midnight. United States House of Representatives_sentence_282

An October 2005 vote on facilitating refinery construction was kept open for forty minutes. United States House of Representatives_sentence_283

Presiding officers may vote like other members. United States House of Representatives_sentence_284

They may not, however, vote twice in the event of a tie; rather, a tie vote defeats the motion. United States House of Representatives_sentence_285

Committees United States House of Representatives_section_24

Further information: United States congressional committee and List of United States House of Representatives committees United States House of Representatives_sentence_286

The House uses committees and their subcommittees for a variety of purposes, including the review of bills and the oversight of the executive branch. United States House of Representatives_sentence_287

The appointment of committee members is formally made by the whole House, but the choice of members is actually made by the political parties. United States House of Representatives_sentence_288

Generally, each party honors the preferences of individual members, giving priority on the basis of seniority. United States House of Representatives_sentence_289

Historically, membership on committees has been in rough proportion to the party's strength in the House, with two exceptions: on the Rules Committee, the majority party fills nine of the thirteen seats; and on the Ethics Committee, each party has an equal number of seats. United States House of Representatives_sentence_290

However, when party control in the House is closely divided, extra seats on committees are sometimes allocated to the majority party. United States House of Representatives_sentence_291

In the 109th Congress, for example, the Republicans controlled about 53% of the House, but had 54% of the Appropriations Committee members, 55% of the members on the Energy and Commerce Committee, 58% of the members on the Judiciary Committee, and 69% of the members on the Rules Committee. United States House of Representatives_sentence_292

The largest committee of the House is the Committee of the Whole, which, as its name suggests, consists of all members of the House. United States House of Representatives_sentence_293

The Committee meets in the House chamber; it may consider and amend bills, but may not grant them final passage. United States House of Representatives_sentence_294

Generally, the debate procedures of the Committee of the Whole are more flexible than those of the House itself. United States House of Representatives_sentence_295

One advantage of the Committee of the Whole is its ability to include otherwise non-voting members of Congress. United States House of Representatives_sentence_296

Most committee work is performed by twenty standing committees, each of which has jurisdiction over a specific set of issues, such as Agriculture or Foreign Affairs. United States House of Representatives_sentence_297

Each standing committee considers, amends, and reports bills that fall under its jurisdiction. United States House of Representatives_sentence_298

Committees have extensive powers with regard to bills; they may block legislation from reaching the floor of the House. United States House of Representatives_sentence_299

Standing committees also oversee the departments and agencies of the executive branch. United States House of Representatives_sentence_300

In discharging their duties, standing committees have the power to hold hearings and to subpoena witnesses and evidence. United States House of Representatives_sentence_301

The House also has one permanent committee that is not a standing committee, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and occasionally may establish temporary or advisory committees, such as the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. United States House of Representatives_sentence_302

This latter committee, created in the 110th Congress and reauthorized for the 111th, has no jurisdiction over legislation and must be chartered anew at the start of every Congress. United States House of Representatives_sentence_303

The House also appoints members to serve on joint committees, which include members of the Senate and House. United States House of Representatives_sentence_304

Some joint committees oversee independent government bodies; for instance, the Joint Committee on the Library oversees the Library of Congress. United States House of Representatives_sentence_305

Other joint committees serve to make advisory reports; for example, there exists a Joint Committee on Taxation. United States House of Representatives_sentence_306

Bills and nominees are not referred to joint committees. United States House of Representatives_sentence_307

Hence, the power of joint committees is considerably lower than those of standing committees. United States House of Representatives_sentence_308

Each House committee and subcommittee is led by a chairman (always a member of the majority party). United States House of Representatives_sentence_309

From 1910 to the 1970s, committee chairs were powerful. United States House of Representatives_sentence_310

Woodrow Wilson in his classic study, suggested: United States House of Representatives_sentence_311

From 1910 to 1975 committee and subcommittee chairmanship was determined purely by seniority; members of Congress sometimes had to wait 30 years to get one, but their chairship was independent of party leadership. United States House of Representatives_sentence_312

The rules were changed in 1975 to permit party caucuses to elect chairs, shifting power upward to the party leaders. United States House of Representatives_sentence_313

In 1995, Republicans under Newt Gingrich set a limit of three two-year terms for committee chairs. United States House of Representatives_sentence_314

The chairman's powers are extensive; he controls the committee/subcommittee agenda, and may prevent the committee from dealing with a bill. United States House of Representatives_sentence_315

The senior member of the minority party is known as the Ranking Member. United States House of Representatives_sentence_316

In some committees like Appropriations, partisan disputes are few. United States House of Representatives_sentence_317

Legislative functions United States House of Representatives_section_25

Most bills may be introduced in either House of Congress. United States House of Representatives_sentence_318

However, the Constitution states, "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." United States House of Representatives_sentence_319

Because of the Origination Clause, the Senate cannot initiate bills imposing taxes. United States House of Representatives_sentence_320

This provision barring the Senate from introducing revenue bills is based on the practice of the British Parliament, in which only the House of Commons may originate such measures. United States House of Representatives_sentence_321

Furthermore, congressional tradition holds that the House of Representatives originates appropriation bills. United States House of Representatives_sentence_322

Although it cannot originate revenue bills, the Senate retains the power to amend or reject them. United States House of Representatives_sentence_323

Woodrow Wilson wrote the following about appropriations bills: United States House of Representatives_sentence_324

The approval of the Senate and the House of Representatives is required for a bill to become law. United States House of Representatives_sentence_325

Both Houses must pass the same version of the bill; if there are differences, they may be resolved by a conference committee, which includes members of both bodies. United States House of Representatives_sentence_326

For the stages through which bills pass in the Senate, see Act of Congress. United States House of Representatives_sentence_327

The president may veto a bill passed by the House and Senate. United States House of Representatives_sentence_328

If they do, the bill does not become law unless each House, by a two-thirds vote, votes to override the veto. United States House of Representatives_sentence_329

Checks and balances United States House of Representatives_section_26

Latest election results and current party standings United States House of Representatives_section_27

See also: 2020 United States House of Representatives elections and 116th United States Congress United States House of Representatives_sentence_330

Current standing United States House of Representatives_section_28

As of December 15, 2020: United States House of Representatives_sentence_331

Source: United States House of Representatives_sentence_332

See also United States House of Representatives_section_29

United States House of Representatives_unordered_list_1

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United States House of Representatives.