Revision of the House Rules

February 4, 1931

Report Outline
The Speakership and the Rules of the House
The Revolt Against Cannonism
The Rules Reform of 1924
Revision of House Rules in 1925
Current Criticism and Proposed Changes in Rules

The Speakership and the Rules of the House

Impending Contest Over Organization of the House

Republicans who will be members of the House of Representatives in the Seventy-second Congress have been called to meet in caucus on February 26, 1931, “to decide upon the organization of the next House.” At this meeting Rep. Nicholas Longworth of Ohio will be chosen as the candidate of the Republican majority to succeed himself as Speaker, and all who attend the caucus will be regarded as bound to vote in his support. In the invitation to the caucus members were asked to notify the Republican Floor Leader whether or not they would attend. To date no replies have been received from members of the group in the House classified as progressive or insurgent Republicans.

The choice of a Speaker to serve until the expiration of the Seventy-second Congress, March 4, 1933, will be the first business to come before the new House at the opening of its first session. This session may be the regular session, scheduled to meet in December, 1931, or a special session called by the President for some date after March 4, due to the failure in the present Congress of one or more of the major appropriation bills.

An absolute majority of the votes cast is necessary for the choice of a Speaker. In the congressional elections of November 4, 1930, Republicans won 218 seats in the next House—a majority of one. With all members present and voting, and all Republicans voting for Longworth, his election would be assured—although by the narrowest of possible margins.