The One Hundred Thirteenth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, from January 3, 2013, to January 3, 2015, during the fifth and sixth years of Barack Obama's presidency. It was composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives based on the results of the 2012 Senate elections and the 2012 House elections. The seats in the House were apportioned based on the 2010 United States Census. It first met in Washington, D.C. on January 3, 2013, and it ended on January 3, 2015. Senators elected to regular terms in 2008 were in the last two years of those terms during this Congress.
The Senate had a Democratic majority, while the House had a Republican majority. Widespread public dissatisfaction with the institution increased over its second year, and some commentators have ranked it among the worst in United States congressional history, until 2017. According to a Gallup Poll released in August 2014, the 113th Congress had the highest disapproval rating of any Congress since 1974, when data first started being collected: 83% of Americans surveyed said that they disapproved of the job Congress was doing, while only 13% said that they approved. In October 2013, during the government shutdown, this decreased to 10% approval according to several polls.
Main articles: 2013 in the United States, 2014 in the United States, and 2015 in the United States
- January 3, 2013: Election of Speaker. Incumbent Speaker John Boehner was re-elected despite the largest number of defections in the vote for speaker since at least 1991.
- January 4, 2013: Joint session to count the Electoral College votes for the 2012 presidential election.
- January 20–21, 2013: Second inauguration of PresidentBarack Obama and Vice PresidentJoe Biden. The terms began January 20, but because that was a Sunday, the Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies scheduled the inauguration ceremony for the next day.
- February 12, 2013: Joint session to hear the 2013 State of the Union Address.
- March 6–7, 2013: Senator Rand Paul led a filibuster of the nomination of John O. Brennan for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency with a 12-hour, 52-minute speech.
- June 5, 2013: The first media reports of Edward Snowden's surveillance disclosures surfaced in the media.
- June 25, 2013: The Supreme Court struck down section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in Shelby County v. Holder, ending the need for some counties and states to receive "preclearance" from the Justice Department before changing election laws.
- June 26, 2013: The Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor, forcing the federal government to acknowledge same-sex marriages granted under the laws of states.
- July 16, 2013: The Senate reached a deal to allow some presidential nominations to come to a vote, avoiding the "Nuclear option" for filibuster reform.
- September 24–25, 2013: Senator Ted Cruz delivered a 21-hour, 19-minute speech, one of the longest in Senate history, in opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Cruz's speech was not a filibuster, as it delayed no vote.
- October 1–17, 2013: The United States federal government was shut down as most routine operations were curtailed after Congress failed to enact legislation appropriating funds for fiscal year 2014, or a continuing resolution for the interim authorization of appropriations for fiscal year 2014.
- October 3, 2013: United States Capitol shooting incident
- November 21, 2013: In a 52–48 vote, the Senate ended the use of the filibuster on all executive branch nominees, as well as on most judicial nominees. The filibuster remained in place for Supreme Court nominees and for legislation.
- November 4, 2014: United States elections, 2014, including United States Senate elections, 2014 and United States House of Representatives elections, 2014.
Main article: Acts of the 113th United States Congress
- March 7, 2013: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, Pub.L. 113–4
- March 13, 2013: Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013, Pub.L. 113–5
- March 26, 2013: 2013 United States federal budget (as Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013), Pub.L. 113–6
- June 3, 2013: Stolen Valor Act of 2013, Pub.L. 113–12
- August 9, 2013: Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013, Pub.L. 113–23
- August 9, 2013: Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, Pub.L. 113–28
- September 30, 2013: Pay Our Military Act, Pub.L. 113–39
- November 27, 2013: Drug Quality and Security Act, Pub.L. 113–54
- December 26, 2013: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, Pub.L. 113–66
- January 17, 2014: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, Pub.L. 113–76
- February 7, 2014: Agricultural Act of 2014, Pub.L. 113–79
- March 21, 2014: Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, Pub.L. 113–89
- April 3, 2014: Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, Pub.L. 113–94
- April 3, 2014: Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014, Pub.L. 113–95
- May 9, 2014: Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA), Pub.L. 113–101
- May 20, 2014: Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act, Pub.L. 113–104
- June 10, 2014: Water Resources Reform and Development Act, Pub.L. 113–121
- July 23, 2014: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Pub.L. 113–128
- August 1, 2014: Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, Pub.L. 113–144
- August 7, 2014: Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014, Pub.L. 113–146
- September 29, 2014: Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, Pub.L. 113–183
- October 6, 2014: IMPACT Act of 2014, Pub.L. 113–185
- November 26, 2014: Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014, Pub.L. 113–187
- November 26, 2014: Government Reports Elimination Act of 2014, Pub.L. 113–188
- December 18, 2014: Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013, Pub.L. 113–242
- December 18, 2014: Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act, Pub.L. 113–245
- December 18, 2014: American Savings Promotion Act, Pub.L. 113–251
- December 18, 2014: Credit Union Share Insurance Fund Parity Act, Pub.L. 113–252
- December 18, 2014: EPS Service Parts Act of 2014Pub.L. 113–263
- December 18, 2014: Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, Pub.L. 113–278
- December 18, 2014: Insurance Capital Standards Clarification Act of 2014, Pub.L. 113–279
Main article: List of bills in the 113th United States Congress
Fiscal year 2014
Fiscal year 2014 runs from October 1, 2013, to September 30, 2014.
Fiscal year 2015
Main article: 2015 United States federal appropriations
Fiscal year 2015 runs from October 1, 2014, to September 20, 2015.
- Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 4800) - considered in the House on June 11, 2014. The bill would appropriate $20.9 billion.
- Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 4660) - passed the House on May 30, 2014. The total amount of money appropriated in the bill was $51.2 billion, approximately $400 million less than fiscal year 2014.
- Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2015 - considered in the House on June 18, 2014. The bill would provide funding of approximately $491 billion.
- Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 4923; 113th Congress) (H.R. 4923) - The bill would appropriate $34 billion to the United States Department of Energy, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and related agencies.
- Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 4487) - passed in the House on May 1, 2014. The bill would appropriate $3.3 billion to the legislative branch for FY 2015.
- Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 4486) - passed the House on April 30, 2014. The total amount appropriated by the introduced version of the bill is $71.5 billion.
- Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 4745 or "THUD") - passed the House on June 10, 2014. The bill would appropriate $17 billion to the Department of Transportation and $40.3 billion to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- Resignations and new members are discussed in the "Changes in membership" section, below.
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of previous Congress||51||2||47||100||0|
|June 3, 2013||52||99||1|
|June 6, 2013||46||100||0|
|October 31, 2013||53||45|
|February 6, 2014||52||99||1|
|February 9, 2014||53||100||0|
|Final voting share||7001550000000000000♠55%||7001450000000000000♠45%|
|Beginning of the next Congress||44||2||54||100||0|
House of Representatives
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of previous Congress||191||240||431||4|
|January 22, 2013||232||432||3|
|April 9, 2013||201||433||2|
|May 7, 2013||233||434||1|
|June 4, 2013||234||435||0|
|July 15, 2013||200||434||1|
|August 2, 2013||233||433||2|
|September 26, 2013||232||432||3|
|October 18, 2013||231||431||4|
|November 16, 2013||232||432||3|
|December 10, 2013||201||433||2|
|December 17, 2013||233||434||1|
|January 6, 2014||200||433||2|
|January 27, 2014||232||432||3|
|February 18, 2014||199||431||4|
|March 11, 2014||233||432||3|
|June 24, 2014||234||433||2|
|August 18, 2014||233||432||3|
|November 4, 2014||201||234||435||0|
|Final voting share||7001462000000000000♠46.2%||7001538000000000000♠53.8%|
|Beginning of the next Congress||188||247||435||0|
Section contents:Senate: Majority (D), Minority (R) • House: Majority (R), Minority (D)
Majority (Democratic) leadership
Minority (Republican) leadership
House of Representatives
Majority (Republican) leadership
- Majority Leader: Eric Cantor, until August 1, 2014
- Majority Whip: Kevin McCarthy, until August 1, 2014
- Majority Chief Deputy Whip: Peter Roskam, until August 1, 2014
- Conference Chair: Cathy McMorris Rodgers
- Conference Vice-Chair: Lynn Jenkins
- Conference Secretary: Virginia Foxx
- Campaign Committee Chairman: Greg Walden
- Policy Committee Chairman: James Lankford
- Campaign Committee Deputy Chairman: Lynn Westmoreland
Minority (Democratic) leadership
- Minority Leader: Nancy Pelosi
- Minority Whip: Steny Hoyer
- Assistant Democratic Leader: Jim Clyburn
- Caucus Chairman: Xavier Becerra
- Caucus Vice-Chairman: Joseph Crowley
- Campaign Committee Chairman: Steve Israel
- Steering and Policy Committee Co-Chairs: Rosa DeLauro (Steering) and Rob Andrews (Policy, until February 18, 2014); George Miller (Policy, from March 24, 2014)
- Organization, Study, and Review Chairman: Mike Capuano
- Senior Chief Deputy Minority Whip: John Lewis
- Chief Deputy Minority Whips: Terri Sewell, Keith Ellison, Jim Matheson, Ben R. Luján, Jan Schakowsky, Diana DeGette, G. K. Butterfield, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Peter Welch
Senators are listed by state, and the numbers refer to their Senate classes, In this Congress, Class 2 meant their term ended with this Congress, requiring re-election in 2014; Class 3 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring re-election in 2016; and Class 1 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring re-election in 2018.
2 Independents, caucusing with Democrats
Speaker of the House
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.
Currently the procedures of the United States House of Representatives are governed by the Constitution, the House Rules, and Jefferson's Manual.
Rules of the House
Prior to the adoption of the rules by the United States House of Representatives, the House operates under general parliamentary rules and Jefferson's Manual but these are not binding on the current House until they are approved by the membership of the current Congress. Historically, the current Congress will adopt the rules of the previous Congress and make any amendments they think are necessary to govern themselves.
The Rules of the House of Representatives are prepared by the Clerk of the House. The 115th United States Congress has the rules of the 114th, subject to the amendments of H.RES.5, though rule 28 (XXVIII) is reserved. Rule I pertains to the Speaker of the House.
The Speaker calls the House to order, the Chaplain of the House then offers a prayer, and the Speaker and House approves the legislative journal from the previous legislative day. After approval of the journal the members recite the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the start of legislative business.
Order of priority of business
The House generally adheres to the following order of priority as outlined in the House Rules, specifically Rule XIV during the 114th Congress, but variations exist to this order as a result of House Rules or parliamentary rules that take precedence. The House may suspend this order and conduct itself as it sees fit consistent with House Rules and with Parliamentary procedure.
1) Prayer by the Chaplain.
2) Reading and approval of the Journal.
3) The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
4) Correction of reference of public bills.
5) Disposal of business on the Speaker's table.
6) Unfinished business as provided in rules.
7) Consideration of bills called up by committees.
8) State of the Union
9) Orders of the day.
Speaking on the Floor
At the beginning of the legislative business day, after the prayer, approval of the previous day's Journal, and pledge of allegiance, the Speaker of the House may recognize members for one-minute speeches. The rules of the House do not specifically provide for one-minute speeches, rather they have evolved as a unanimous consent practice of the chamber, where members must ask for unanimous consent to address the chamber. Under the power of House Rule XVII, clause 2, the Speaker decides when to entertain unanimous consent requests to address the House for one-minute, and how many speeches will be allowed. There may be unlimited time for speeches, or pressuring legislative business may necessitate a shorter time period. If there are any limitations on time, the majority and minority leadership typically receive advance notice.
Members do not need to receive prior authorization to deliver a one-minute speech. To deliver a one-minute speech, members go to the front row of seats on their party’s side of the Floor and sit down. The Speaker will recognize members in turn, alternating between the majority and minority sides. When the chair announces that one minute has expired, the Member can finish the sentence underway but must then stop speaking. If the member cannot finish their remarks in one minute, they may insert additional material, either the full speech or extraneous materials, such as constituent communications or newspaper articles, into the Congressional Record. The inserted material appears in a distinct typeface in the Congressional Record, typically italics.
One-minute speeches have many uses in Congress, including allowing members to explain a new bill or a floor amendment they will offer later in the day. Representatives also use one-minute speeches to deliver eulogies and tributes concerning individuals and organizations in their congressional district. One minutes also provide Members with an opportunity to express their views on bills, policy issues, and local, national, and international events. These speeches are one of the few unrestricted options members of Congress have to express a position.
Not all members of Congress use one-minute speeches equally. In previous studies of legislative behavior, results suggest institutionally disadvantaged members of Congress, members who may have limited position-taking opportunities through traditional channels, are more likely to deliver a one-minute speech. These include junior members of Congress, members of the minority party in the House, ideologically extreme representatives, or non-committee chairs. These members of Congress have little opportunity to shape the legislative process, and therefore rely on alternative mechanisms, such as one-minute speeches to represent their constituents.
On February 7, 2018, Representative Nancy Peolosi (D-CA) delivered the longest one-minute speech since at least 1909, speaking for longer than eight hours. Pelosi's speech took advantage of a rule that allows only top party leaders (the Speaker, the Majority Leader, and the Minority Leader) the right to speak as long as they want.
Introducing a bill
Any member of the House can introduce a bill at any time, while the House is in session, by placing (or most likely having a page place) a signed copy of the bill in the "hopper" at the side of the Clerk's desk on the Rostrum. Other members of the House may co-sponsor any bill to be introduced in the House by a member. These co-sponsors are not required to sign the bill and are considered under House Rules to be "original co-sponsors" and "additional co-sponsors" depending on whether they co-sponsored the bill at the time it was introduced or added their names to the bill after its introduction.
After the Clerk of the House receives the bill it is then assigned a legislative number, enrolled in the House Journal and printed in the Congressional Record and the Speaker of the House refers the bill to the Committee(s) with jurisdiction by sending the bill to the office of the chairman of the committee(s), and the Clerk of the Committee will add the bill to the Committee's calendar. The Speaker designates one of these committees as a "primary committee" with primary jurisdiction and responsibility for the bill and all other committee(s) are considered "additional committees" and the Speaker may impose time limits on these committee(s) if he or she deems it appropriate and traditionally does so if the primary committee has reported out a version of the bill to the full House.
House floor action on a bill
Upon being reported out of Committee or removed from Committee by the House, a bill will be added to the House Calendar and any rules setting out how much time is allowed for debate, or other matters may be passed by the House in the form of a resolution. Generally, the supporters and opponents of a bill control debate time and may yield time to members who wish to speak upon the bill. In many instances this is the chairman and ranking member of the primary committee. If amendments are permitted under the rules governing floor action on the bill they are debated and voted upon at the time of the amendment (although common practice usually permits the House to debate several amendments without immediately voting on them, then voting back-to-back at the end of the series of amendments, which can either be voice votes or recorded votes). After the conclusion of time for debate and after all amendments have been disposed of, the matter is usually voted upon by the full House, unless the rules permit and a member moves to recommit (or commit) the bill back to committee. The chair will only recognize a member who is opposed to the bill for a Motion to Recommit and gives preference to members of the minority party. A motion to recommit may take two forms:
- with instructions to take some action and then report back the bill forthwith, which will result in the Committee chairman immediately re-reporting to the House the bill according to the instructions in the motion to recommit;
- without instructions, which leaves the bill in committee for reconsideration.
Main article: List of House Committees
It is in Committee(s) that bills get the most scrutiny and attention and that most of the work on a bill is done. Committees play an important role in the legislative process by providing members the opportunity to study, debate and amend the bill and the public with the opportunity to make comments on the bill. There are three types of House Committees, these are: 1) standing committees elected by members of the House, 2) select committees appointed by the Speaker of the House, and 3) joint committees whose members are chosen according to the statute or resolution that created that committee. As the House Rules limit the amount of floor debate on any given bill the committees play an important function in determining the final content and format of the bill.
After the committee conducts any necessary research, and has debated and voted on any amendments that were offered in committee they may take one of three actions. These are reporting a measure to the full House with or without amendments, report the measure to the full House with a negative recommendation or fail to report the measure. The House may under certain rules remove the bill or measure from committee (known as "discharging the bill from committee") if the committee fails to report the measure to the House Rules Committee or to the full House and a negative report to the full House does not terminate the bill. The phrase that a "bill has been killed in committee" is not completely accurate as the full House always has options under the rules to remove the bill from Committee and to take action.
Standing committees are established at the time that the rules of the House are adopted or by amending the House Rules. The jurisdiction of each standing committee is specified in the House Rules. Under the House Rules the chairman and members of standing committees are selected through a two-step procedure where the Democratic Caucus and the Republican Conference recommends members to serve on Committees, the majority party recommends a Chairman, and the Minority Party recommends a Ranking Member and finally the full House can approve the recommendation of the Party Caucuses. It is important to note that the Rules of the Democratic Caucus and the Republican Conference determines the nomination procedure of its own members. Rules of party nominations may therefore differ but approval by the House of these nominations is conducted according to House Rules. Seniority on a Standing Committee is based on the order of the members on the election resolution as approved by the House. The number of members who serve on a committee along with the party ratio of a committee is determined by the Majority and Minority Leaders of the House with the exception of the Committee on Ethics which is limited by the Rules to 5 majority members and 5 minority members.
The number of members on a committee and the ratio of majority/minority members is determined by the Majority party with consultation with the minority. According to House Rules members of the House of Representatives may serve on two committees and four subcommittees. Seniority on a committee is not based on the longest-serving member of the House but on their order of appointment to that committee by their respective party caucus. The Committee Chairman is usually the ranking majority member in order of seniority (order of appointment). If a member of the House ceases to be a member of his caucus then he ceases having membership on that committee. Independent members of the House may caucus with either the Republican Conference or the Democratic Caucus and thus be appointed to and serve on Committees. Current House Rules also stipulate that a member cannot serve as chairman of the same standing committee or subcommittee for more than three consecutive Congresses (six years).
Chairman and ranking member
The House Rules provide that the chairman of a committee presides over its meetings, maintains decorum and ensures that the committee adheres to the House Rules governing committees and generally acts in an administrative role respective to such issues as determining salaries of committee staff, issuing congressional subpoenas for testimony and issuing committee reports. The committee's minority may also issue a Minority Report at their discretion. Also, a committee chairman along with the ranking member generally control the time each receives on the House Floor respective to a bill that originated or was reported out of their committee. The ranking member is second to the chairman.
According to House Rules each Standing Committee may have up to 30 persons appointed to serve as professional staff, 2/3 of which are selected by the majority committee members and 1/3 of which are selected by the minority members. This allows each party serving in the Committee to have professional staff available to assist them in performing their committee assignments and duties.
- ^U.S. Const. Art. I, Sec. V, Clause II
- ^United States v. Ballin, 144 U.S. 1, 5 (1892)
- ^"Rules of the House of Representatives"(PDF). 2015-01-06. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
- ^ abcSchneider, Judy. 2015, March 16. "One-Minute Speeches: Current House Practices." Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL30135.pdf
- ^Maltzman, Forrest; Sigelman, Lee (1996). "The Politics of Talk: unconstrained Floor Time in the U.S. House of Representatives". Journal of Politics. 58 (3): 819–830 – via JSTOR.
- ^Morris, Jonathan (2001). "Reexamining the Politics of Talk: Partisan Rhetoric in the 104th House". Legislative Studies Quarterly. 26 (1): 101–121 – via JSTOR.
- ^Rocca, Michael S. (2007). "Non-Legislative Debate in the House of Representatives". American Politics Research. 35: 489–505.
- ^Associated Press (February 8, 2018). "Nancy Pelosi Defended Dreamers for Eight Hours Straight in Four-Inch Heels". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
- ^O'Keefe, Ed; Weigel, David; Kane, Paul (February 7, 2018). "Nancy Pelosi's filibuster-style speech tops eight hours in bid to force immigration votes". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
- Rules of the House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourteenth Congress, Karen L. Haas, Clerk of the House of Representatives, January 6, 2015
- Rules of the House of Representatives, One Hundred Fifteenth Congress, Karen L. Haas, Clerk of the House of Representatives, January 5, 2017
- Manual of the House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourteenth Congress, Thomas J. Wickham, Parliamentarian of the House of Representatives, 2015