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Gavel Down

GAVEL DOWN: Closing out the Week in Congress (Oct. 11-14, 2016)

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Short holiday week here… 

We're bringing you some congressional procedure as well as what your lawmakers are up to back home!

Race for Speaker  |  Congress Goes Home  |  Around the Capital  |  Around the Country  |  Around the World  


Yep, your lawmakers vote for Speaker at the start of the new Congress


Let’s talk about the election..no, not that one. Next year your Representatives will cast votes as well, determining who will serve as Speaker of the House. 

So how does it work?
Typically, each party nominates a candidate whose name is placed in nomination. Anyone can receive votes, however, whether nominated or not. To be elected speaker, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of votes cast. Roll call votes are repeated until a Speaker is elected.

Who can serve as Speaker?
Anyone! The Speaker does not have to be a member of the House of Representatives. However, the same requirements for serving in the House apply, meaning a candidate must be at least 25 years old and a citizen of the country for the previous seven years.

So what does the Speaker do anyway?
Well, the Speaker is the presiding officer of the House of Representatives, fulfilling administrative and procedural duties such as administering the Oath of Office and nominating committee chairs. The Speaker is the leader of the majority political party in the House and chairs the party’s steering committee, which is determines committee appointments.

Can the Speaker vote?
Yes, the Speaker may debate or vote but typically abstains.

Why do we even have a Speaker?
The position is designated in the Constitution (see Article 1, Section 2).

What’s this I hear about being in line for the presidency?
Well if the president nor vice president are able to serve, the Speaker is next in line. Learn more about the order of succession and how far folks from your state have made it.


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What were your lawmakers up to this week?

Reps. Martha McSally [R, AZ-2] and Mimi Walters [R, CA-45] led a field hearing on opportunities for women in the workplace. 

Sen. Jon Tester [D, MT] sent a letter to the NSA Director about security clearance vulnerabilities. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA] held a Q&A about flooding, nuclear energy, and taxes as part of 99 county meetings tour.

Sen. Jack Reed [D, RI] toured the country's first offshore wind farm.

Rep. Matt Salmon [R, AZ-5] welcomed new granddaughter into the world.

Rep. Steve Cohen [D, TN-9] hosted Congress on Your Corner, bringing his office on the road.

Sen. Ron Johnson [R, WI] sent a letter to President Obama lobbying for flood assistance.

Rep. Suzan DelBene [D, WA-1] spoke on infrastructure reform.

Senate Opportunity Coalition met and discussed poverty solutions. 

Rep. Dina Titus [D, NV-1] announced federal grant to combat human trafficking in Southern Nevada. 


#ICYMI: Around the Capital


#ICYMI: Around the Country


#ICYMI: Around the World


Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill does not imply POPVOX endorsement in any way. As always, our goal is to offer one more way to help you stay informed about the complex U.S. legislative system.

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