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House of Representatives
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The United States House of Representatives rarely meets in closed session.
The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they comprise the legislature of the United States.
In the House, Rule XVII, clause 9, governs secret sessions, including the types of business to be considered behind closed doors. A motion to resolve into a secret session may only be made in the House, not in the Committee of the Whole. A Member who offers such a motion announces the possession of confidential information, and moves that the House go into a secret session. The motion is not debatable, but if agreed to, the Member making the motion is recognized under the one-hour rule in closed session.
In the United States House of Representatives, a Committee of the Whole House is a congressional committee that includes all members of the House. In modern practice there is only one such committee, the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, which has original consideration of all bills on the Union Calendar. While assembled the House may resolve itself temporarily into a Committee of the Whole House. Business can then proceed with various procedural requirements relaxed. At the conclusion of business, the committee resolves to "rise" and reports its conclusions or lack of conclusion to the speaker.
Members and staff of both houses are prohibited from divulging information from secret sessions, and all staff are sworn to secrecy. Violations of secrecy are punishable by the disciplinary rules of a chamber. A Member may be subject to a variety of punishments, including loss of seniority, fine, reprimand, censure, or expulsion. An officer or employee may be fired or subject to other internal disciplinary actions.
A censure is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. In parliamentary procedure, it is a debatable main motion that could be adopted by a majority vote. Among the forms that it can take are a stern rebuke by a legislature, a spiritual penalty imposed by a church, or a negative judgment pronounced on a theological proposition. It is usually non-binding, unlike a Motion of no confidence.
The proceedings of a secret session are not published unless the relevant chamber votes, during the meeting or at a later time, to release them. Then, those portions released are printed in the Congressional Record.
The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress, published by the United States Government Publishing Office and issued when Congress is in session. Indexes are issued approximately every two weeks. At the end of a session of Congress, the daily editions are compiled in bound volumes constituting the permanent edition. Chapter 9 of Title 44 of the United States Code authorizes publication of the Congressional Record.
If the House decides not to release a transcript, it is ultimately transferred to the Clerk of the House of Representatives for transmittal to the archivist of the United States for preservation at the National Archives and Records Administration. The transcripts may be made available to the public after 30 years (Rule VII, clause 3).
The Archivist of the United States is the chief official overseeing the operation of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The first Archivist, R.D.W. Connor, began serving in 1934, when the National Archives was established as an independent federal agency by Congress. The Archivists served as subordinate officials of the General Services Administration from 1949 until the National Archives and Records Administration became an independent agency again on April 1, 1985. The position is held by David Ferriero, who was named to the office in 2009.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency of the United States government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records and with increasing public access to those documents, which comprise the National Archives. NARA is officially responsible for maintaining and publishing the legally authentic and authoritative copies of acts of Congress, presidential directives, and federal regulations. The NARA also transmits votes of the Electoral College to Congress.
The House met frequently in secret session until the end of the War of 1812. The House has met in closed session only 6 times since 1825. The following is a full list of those sessions, along with their dates and the reasons they were called:
The War of 1812 was a conflict fought between the United States, the United Kingdom, and their respective allies from June 1812 to February 1815. Historians in Britain often see it as a minor theater of the Napoleonic Wars; in the United States and Canada, it is seen as a war in its own right.
|Electronic Surveillance of Terror Suspects||March 13, 2008 (10:11pm–11:09pm)|
|U.S. support for paramilitary operations in Nicaragua||July 19, 1983|
|Involvement of Cuba and communist countries in Nicaragua||February 25, 1980|
|Implementing the Panama Canal Act of 1979||June 20, 1979|
|Trade between the U.S. and Great Britain||May 27, 1830|
|Relations with Indian tribes||December 27, 1825|
The United States Constitution provides that each "House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings," therefore each Congress of the United States, upon convening, approves its own governing rules of procedure. This clause has been interpreted by the courts to mean that a new Congress is not bound by the rules of proceedings of the previous Congress.
Contempt of Congress is the act of obstructing the work of the United States Congress or one of its committees. Historically, the bribery of a U.S. Senator or U.S. Representative was considered contempt of Congress. In modern times, contempt of Congress has generally applied to the refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by a Congressional committee or subcommittee—usually seeking to compel either testimony or the production of requested documents.
The Colorado General Assembly is the state legislature of the State of Colorado. It is a bicameral legislature that was created by the 1876 state constitution. Its statutes are codified in the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.). The session laws are published in the Session Laws of Colorado.
The Colorado Senate is the upper house of the Colorado General Assembly, the state legislature of the US state of Colorado. It is composed of 35 members elected from single-member districts, with each district having a population of about 123,000 as of the 2000 census. Senators are elected to four-year terms, and are limited to two consecutive terms in office.
In United States parliamentary procedure, a discharge petition is a means of bringing a bill out of committee and to the floor for consideration without a report from the committee by "discharging" the committee from further consideration of a bill or resolution.
The Forty-first United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1869, to March 4, 1871, during the first two years of Ulysses S. Grant's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Eighth Census of the United States in 1860. Both chambers had a Republican majority.
The Forty-second United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1871, to March 4, 1873, during the third and fourth years of Ulysses S. Grant's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Eighth Census of the United States in 1860. Both chambers had a Republican majority.
The Clerk of the United States House of Representatives is an officer of the United States House of Representatives, whose primary duty is to act as the chief record-keeper for the House.
The United States Senate has the authority for meeting in closed session, as described in the Standing Rules of the Senate.
The Standing Rules of the Senate are the parliamentary procedures adopted by the United States Senate that govern its procedure. The Senate's power to establish rules derives from Article One, Section 5 of the United States Constitution: "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings..."
In the Congress of the United States, a closed session is a parliamentary procedure for the Senate or the House of Representatives to discuss matters requiring secrecy.
An executive session is a portion of the United States Senate's daily session in which it considers nominations and treaties, or other items introduced by the President of the United States. These items are termed executive business; therefore, the session is an executive session. It can either be closed door or open door. Historically, as a courtesy to the President, such sessions were always held behind closed doors, but this custom has been abandoned in modern times. The term "executive session" is still employed to refer to closed-door committee meetings, whether or not they are considering executive business. In any case, those present in an executive session are sworn to secrecy.
The Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives is an officer of the House with law enforcement, protocol, and administrative responsibilities. The Sergeant at Arms is elected at the beginning of each Congress by the membership of the House.
A United States congressional hearing is the principal formal method by which United States congressional committees collect and analyze information in the early stages of legislative policymaking.
Deliberative assemblies – bodies that use parliamentary procedure to arrive at decisions – use several methods of voting on motions. The regular methods of voting in such bodies are a voice vote, a rising vote, and a show of hands. Additional forms of voting include a recorded vote and balloting.
Expulsion is the most serious form of disciplinary action that can be taken against a Member of Congress. Article I, Section 5 of the United States Constitution provides that "Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member." The processes for expulsion differ somewhat between the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.
The Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives is the officer of the United States House of Representatives responsible for beginning each day's proceedings with a prayer. The House cites the first half of Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5 in the United States Constitution as giving it the authority to elect a Chaplain, "The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers".
National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, 573 U.S. ___ (2014), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court unanimously ruled that the President of the United States cannot use his or her authority under the Recess Appointment Clause of the United States Constitution to appoint public officials unless the United States Senate is in recess and not able to transact Senate business. The Court held that the clause allows the president to make appointments during both intra-session and inter-session recesses but only if the recess is of sufficient length, and if the Senate is actually unavailable for deliberation. The Court also ruled that any vacancy in an office can be filled during the recess, regardless of when it arose. The case arose out of President Barack Obama's appointments of Sharon Block, Richard Griffin, and Terence Flynn to the National Labor Relations Board and Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.