Comment: Boehner Departs, So What?

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Boehner Departs, So What?

Some other corrupt politician will fill the void.

The problem as I see it is the rules of the House of Representatives must change. Why should the position of the Speaker have such power? Originally it did not.

Back in July of this year, I researched early American history as to the role of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. I went to the library of the Office of the Clerk and found these images of the House journal for the first session written on Wednesday, April 1, 1789 which recorded the votes for the first Speaker, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg and the first Clerk of the House, John Beckley (see: ).

On Tuesday, April 7, the duties of the Speaker were documented in the journal for that day as follows:

First – Touching the Duty of the Speaker.

1. He shall take the chair everyday at the hour to which the House shall have adjourned on the preceding day; shall immediately call the members to order, and, on the appearance of the quorum, shall cause the Journal of the preceding day to be read.

2. He shall preserve decorum and order; make speak to points of order in deference to other members, rising from the seat for that purpose, and shall decide questions of order, subject to an appeal to the House by any two members.

3. He shall rise to put a question, but may state it sitting.

4. Questions shall be distinctly put in this form, viz. “As many are of opinion that (as the question may be ) say Aye;” And, after the affirmative voice is expressed – “As many of a contrary opinion, say No.”

5. If the Speaker doubts, or a division be called for, the House shall divide; those in the affirmative going to the right and those in the negative to the left of the chair. If the Speaker still doubt, or a count be required, the Speaker shall name two members, one from each side, to tell the numbers in the affirmative; which being reported, he shall then name two others, one from each side, to tell those in the negative; which being also reported, he shall rise and state the decision to the House.

6. The Speaker shall appoint committees, unless it be determined by the House that the committee shall be consist of more than three members, in which case the appointment shall be by ballot of the House.

7. In all cases of ballot by the House, the Speaker shall vote; in other cases he shall not vote, unless the House be equally divided, or unless his vote, if given to the minority, will make the division equal, and in case of such equal division, the question shall be lost.

8. When the House adjourns, the members shall keep their seats until the Speaker go forth; and then the members shall follow.

Other than a few additional nuances of parliamentary procedure, the Speaker’s authority was limited to keeping House activities orderly and with as few disruptions as possible as he oversaw the proceedings of the House with respect to bill introduction, discussion or being forwarded into committee(s). As you already know, political parties did not exist at that time.

Now fast forward to today in 2012. I found this interesting document at the Central Connecticut State University (see: ).

Without going into a lot of detail, the Speaker’s position of authority has increased significantly as well as that of certain powerful committee leaders to the point where the Congress over the last 223 years has ignored its responsibilities to the people and strayed far from the republican form of representative government guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution as defined in Article IV, Section 4, The States.

Until the Speaker's power reverts back to what it was during the country's beginning, Americans will continue to feel the brunt of abuse by an incorrigible government.