House Rules Manual: Summary of Contents

September 23, 2013 (98-262)


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 (112-161 is the Manual for the 113th Congress).


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 annotations.


The next section is the table of contents. Unlike the index, which references section citations, the contents identifies page citations.

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.


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 to 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 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 the Constitution.

Rules of the House

This section includes the 29 rules of the House as well as extensive notes and annotations, and comprises sections 621-1105d. Reprinted at the end of the section are provisions of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (1106-1107) that are applicable to both houses.

Joint and Select Committees

Sections 1108-1112c identify existing authority for the joint and select committees.

House and Congressional Offices

Sections 1113-1125h address the House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards, House Office Building Commission, Government Accountability 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, Office of Interparliamentary Affairs, House Recording Studio, United States Capitol Preservation Commission, Office of General Counsel, Office of Emergency Planning, Preparedness, and Operations, Office of Attending Physician, Office of the Architect of the Capitol, House Democracy Partnership, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Early Organization of the House

This section, 1126, 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.

Miscellaneous Provisions of Congressional Budget Laws

Reprinted in this section are excerpts from the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (but not the Impoundment Control Act), the Budget Enforcement Act, and the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go 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.

Legislative Procedures Enacted Into Law

Included in this section, 1130, 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 Congress.


An extensive index contains references to sections in the Manual, whereas the contents refers to page numbers.