Page images

the briefs of the solicitor and of the claimant, which shall accompany the report, upon being made to either house of Congress, shall be printed in the same manner as other public documents. And said court shall prepare a bill or bills in those cases which shall have received the favorable decision thereof, in such form as, if enacted, will carry the same into effect. And two or more cases may be embraced in the same bill, where the separate amount proposed to be allowed in each case shall be less than one thousand dollars. And the said court shall transmit with said reports the testimony in each case, whether the same shall receive the favorable or adverse action of said court.

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That said reports and the bills reported as aforesaid shall, if not finally acted upon during the session of Congress to which the said reports are made, be continued from session to session and from Congress to Congress until the same shall be finally acted upon; and the consideration of said reports and bills shall, at the subsequent session of Congress, be resumed, and the said reports and bills be proceeded with in the same manner as though finally acted upon at the session when presented.

SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That the claims reported upon adversely shall be placed upon the calendar when reported, and if the decision of said court shall be confirmed by Congress, said decision shall be conclusive; and the said court shall not at any subsequent period consider said claims, unless such reasons shall be presented to said court as, by the rules of common law or chancery in suits between individuals, would furnish sufficient ground for granting a new trial.

On the 16th of May, 1856 (1st Session 34th Congress), House adopted the following rule, viz:


Bills and their accompanying reports from the Court of Claims shall be referred, by the Clerk of the House, to the Committee of Claims; and it shall be in order every Friday morning, immediately after reading the journal, for the Committee of Claims to report with reference to business from the Court of Claims; the bills reported to be printed and placed on the private calendar.

Under this rule the bills so reported were given a number distinct from House bills and were placed at the head of the Private Calendar.

That rule was changed in the partial revision of the rules in the 36th Congress so as to read as follows, viz:

"The bills from the Court of Claims, shall, on being laid before the House, be read a first and second time, committed to a Committee of the Whole House, and, together with the ac companying reports printed" (see Journal 1, 36, p. 533,) and in the revision made in the 46th Congress the rule was dropped.

On the 19th of December, 1887 (1st Sess. 50th Cong.), in reply to a parliamentary inquiry addressed the Chair by Mr. McComas, the Speaker held that under section 7 of the act of March 3, 1883, known as the "Bowman act," which provides that "reports of the Court of Claims to Congress under this act, if not finally acted upon during the sessions at which they are reported, shall be continued from session to session and from Congress to Congress until the same shall be finally acted upon," all reports from the Court of Claims referred to a committee and reported therefrom in a preceding Congress and remaining on the Calendar undisposed of at the close of said Congress, should be continued on the Calendar of the present House, and directed the clerk to execute said order. Subsequently, on the 13th of January, 1888, the Speaker reaffirmed that decision, and held that under said act, said reports would stand first on the Private Calendar. Subsequently, in the Committee of the Whole, Chairman Hatch ruled in accordance with the foregoing ruling.-See Record, p. 7437.

On the 27th of January following Speaker pro tempore Cox made a ruling which was in effect a reversal of Speaker Carlisle's ruling and is given herewith in full:

On motion of Mr. Lanham the House resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole House; and after some time spent therein, the Speaker pro tempore resumed the chair, and Mr. Hatch reported that the committee, having had under consideration bills upon the Private Calendar, had reached in its regular order the bill of the House (H. R. 6336, first session Forty-ninth Congress) for the relief of Martha J. A. Rumbaugh, whereupon objection had been made to considering the same.

Mr. Lanham made the point of order that the said bill was not properly upon the Calendar of the Committee of the Whole House, for the reason that it was a bill introduced into the Forty-ninth Congress, and that the only report upon it was from a committee of that Congress, and that it had never been introduced or reported upon in the present Congress.

The Speaker pro tempore overruled the point of order upon the ground that the bill referred to was one of the class which were reported to the Forty-ninth Congress with accompanying reports from the Court of Claims. They were, by direction of the Speaker during the present session, ordered to be placed on the Private Calendar for consideration on Fridays. In the opinion of the Chair, it did not follow that these bills of a former Congress are here for passage by the present House without the formalities contemplated by our rules. They are on the Calendar for appropriate action, which may be the reference of them to a committee, or to lay them on the

table, etc. The reference of the bills to the Calendar did not necessarily import that they were to be passed or to be considered with a view to their final disposition. Even messages of the President were often directed to be placed on the Calendar; but no one would suppose because a President's message is placed on the Calendar of the Committee of the Whole that that committee should at once consider, for instance, the question of the tariff presented by that message without such preliminary steps as the rules contemplate. The Chair, therefore, held that the bill in question, being a bill of the Forty-ninth Congress, was, with the report of the Court of Claims which accompanies it, before the House for appropriate action, but not for final disposition, inasmuch as under the rules certain preliminary steps are indispensable.

Mr. Compton appealed from the decision of the Chair;
Pending which,

On motion of Mr. Blount, the appeal was laid on the table.

On the 12th of March, 1890, the question of the status of these claims was raised by Mr. Richardson and after debate the Speaker withheld his ruling until the 14th of March, when he held that there was no provision of law, or rule or order of the House, requiring said reports to be placed first on the Private Calendar.




A Clerk shall be elected at the commencement of each Congress, who shall continue in office until his successor is appointed. RULE II.

See Rules III; XIII, clause 2; XV; XVI, clause 2; XXII, clause 1; XXXII, clause 1; XXXVII, XXXIX as to duties of the Clerk.

Until March 10, 1860 (1st session 36th Congress), there was no law, rule, resolution, or order directing the appointment of a Clerk of the House, and until the revision of the rules in the 2d session 46th Congress, there was no law, rule, or order of the House authorizing him to appoint the subordinates of his office.

At the first session of Congress after every general election of Representatives, the oath of office shall be administered by

any member of the House of Representatives to the Speaker; and by the Speaker to all the Members and Delegates present, and to the Clerk previous to entering on any other business; and to the Members and Delegates who afterward appear, previous to their taking their seats.-R. S., sec. 30. In the case of a vacancy which occurred in the office of Clerk during the 31st Congress (see Journal, 1, 31, p. 789), it was decided that the House could take no action upon nor transact any other business until a Clerk was elected.

The following is the form of the oath of office prescribed for the Clerk by the 2d Rule:

"I do solemnly swear that I will truly and faithfully discharge the duties of Clerk of the House of Representatives to the best of my knowledge and abilities, and keep the secrets of the House."

He is also required to take an additional oath.-(See OATH.) R. S., secs. 1756, 1757.

As soon as the Speaker has declared a person elected Clerk, the oath of office is administered to him and the other officers, by the Speaker, and he enters upon the duties of his office.

It is made the duty of the Clerk, within thirty days after he enters upon the duties of his office, to give bond to the United States, with one or more sureties, to be approved by the Comptroller of the Treasury, in the penal sum of twenty thousand dollars, with condition for the faithful application and disbursement of the contingent fund of the House.-R. S., secs. 58 and 59.

Before the first meeting of each Congress, the Clerk of the next preceding House of Representatives shall make a roll of the Representatives elect, and place thereon the names of those persons, and of such persons only, whose credentials show that they were regularly elected in accordance with the laws of their States respectively, or the laws of the United States.-R. S., sec. 31.

In case of a vacancy in the office of Clerk of the House of Representatives, or of the absence or inability of the Clerk to discharge the duties imposed on him by law or custom relative to the preparation of the roll of Representatives or the organization of the House, those duties shall devolve on the Sergeant

at-Arms of the next preceding House of Representatives.-R. S., sec. 32.

In case of vacancies in the offices of both the Clerk and the Sergeant-at-Arms, or of the absence or inability of both to act, the duties of the Clerk relative to the preparation of the roll of the House of Representatives or the organization of the House shall be performed by the Doorkeeper of the next preceding House of Representatives.-R. S., sec. 33.

Representatives and Delegates elect to Congress, whose credentials in due form of law have been duly filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives, in accordance with the provisions of section thirty-one, may receive their compensation monthly from the beginning of their term until the beginning of the first session of each Congress, upon a certificate in the form now in use, to be signed by the Clerk of the House, which certificate shall have the like force and effect as is given to the certificate of the Speaker.-R. S., sec. 38, and Laws 2, 43, p. 389.

The last part of RULE III, clause 1, as well as RULE XLV, which provides that the existing rules shall govern future Congresses, unless otherwise ordered, were first adopted at the 1st session of the 36th Congress, and were intended to facilitate the organization of the House. Previously, under the authority contained in the Manual, p. 60, and the usage of the House, the Clerk presided over its deliberations while there was no Speaker, but simply put questions, and (where especially authorized) preserved order, not, however, undertaking to decide questions of order. (See RULES and MEETING OF CONGRESS.)

Since the organization of the House of Representatives of the 38th Congress, the Clerk has uniformly declined to entertain motions or resolutions to amend the roll of Representatives-elect which section 31 R. S. requires him to make, and has further declined to entertain appeals from such decisions. See Congressional Globe, proceedings in organization of House, 1st session 41st Congress, March 4, 1869, decision by Clerk McPherson. See also H. Journal, 1st, 45th, pp. 9 and 10, decision of Clerk Adams. In this last instance the Clerk declined to entertain the appeal on the ground that it was not competent for the Representatives-elect to instruct the Clerk in the per

« PreviousContinue »