Order Code 98-262 GOV
April 5, 2001
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
House Rules Manual: Summary of Contents
Specialist on the Congress
Government and Finance Division
The House Rules and Manual, officially titled Constitution, Jefferson’s Manual and
Rules of the House of Representatives, contains the fundamental source material
describing procedures in the House of Representatives. Included are the Constitution of
the United States, selected provisions of Jefferson’s Manual, rules of the House,
provisions of law and resolutions enacted or adopted under the rule-making authority of
the House, and pertinent decisions of the Speaker and chairmen of the Committee of the
Whole interpreting the rules and procedural authority used in the House, often referred to
as parliamentarian’s notes or annotations.
Printed as a “House Document,” the Manual is usually authorized by House
resolution at the end of a Congress for printing at the beginning of the following Congress.
As such, the House document number reflects the Congress that authorized the printing
although the cover page identifies the applicable Congress for the contents.
Preface. This first section of the House Manual identifies the more substantive rules
changes made by the House resolution adopting the rules of the current Congress. Also
identified are citations to volumes of precedents referenced in the parliamentarian’s
Contents. The next section is the table of contents. Unlike the index, which
references section citations, the contents identifies page citations.
Major Rule Citation Changes. A table displays changes in rules numbers because
of the 1999 recodification of the rules.
Order of Business. Following the contents is a one-page description, with rule
citation, of the General Order of Business and Special Order of Business in the House.
Constitution. The Constitution and the 27 amendments to it are printed in their
entirety in the Manual, along with appropriate annotations, especially to Article I.
Jefferson’s Manual. Jefferson’s Manual was prepared by Thomas Jefferson for
his use as President of the Senate from 1797-1801. In 1837, the House provided by rule
that the provisions of the Manual “should govern the House in all cases in which they are
applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the standing rules and orders of the
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
House and joint rules of the Senate and House of Representatives.” Sections 283-620 of
the House Manual are from Jefferson’s Manual. The portions of the Manual that refer
exclusively to Senate procedures are omitted in the House Manual, as are paragraphs from
Rules of the House. This section includes the 28 rules of the House as well as
extensive notes and annotations, and comprise sections 621- 1107. Reprinted at the end
of the section are provisions of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 and Legislative
Reorganization Act of 1970 that are applicable to both houses.
Joint and Select Committees. Sections 1108-1112a identify existing authority
for the joint committees. Also noted is the abolition in the 103rd Congress of the last four
House select committees.
House and Congressional Offices. Sections 1113- 1125b address the House
Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards, House Office Building Commission,
General Accounting Office, Office of Compliance, Congressional Research Service,
Legislative Counsel, Congressional Budget Office, Law Revision Counsel, Technology
Assessment, Office of the Parliamentarian, Office of Floor Assistants, Corrections
Calendar Office, House Recording Studio, United States Capitol Preservation
Commission, and Office of General Counsel.
Early Organization of the House. This section includes provisions from the
Committee Reform Amendments of 1974 addressing the early organization meetings of
the House to be held in December of an election year.
Congressional Budget Legislation. Reprinted in this section are excerpts from
the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (but not the Impoundment Control Act), the
Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act, and the Budget Enforcement Act
that relate to legislative procedure, with annotations, but only a single section number for
each of the three laws. For example, provided are provisions relating to the floor
procedures for considering the concurrent budget resolution, the budget timetable,
reconciliation, and the authority of the Budget Committee.
Congressional Disapproval Provisions. Included in this section are provisions
in congressional disapproval statutes that prescribe special procedures in the House for
reviewing executive actions. These procedures are technically rules of the House and are
customarily reincorporated by reference in the resolution adopting the rules for a
Index. An extensive index contains references to sections in the Manual, whereas
the contents refers to page numbers.