On the Floor
"Let us develop the resources of our land, call forth its powers, build up its
institutions, promote all its great interests, and see whether we also, in our
day and generation, may not perform something worthy to be remembered."
Quote by Daniel Webster that is inscribed in the marble wall
directly behind the Speaker’s chair in the House chamber.
The Floor of the House of Representatives, within the House Chamber, is where Representatives and Delegates assemble to introduce, debate, and vote on pieces of legislation. Members are said “to be on the Floor” when meeting in the House Chamber for votes or other legislative duties and “to have the Floor” when speaking in the House Chamber.
Members of the House do not have assigned seats in the House Chamber, but traditionally sit according to party with Democratic Members sitting to the Speaker’s right and Republican Members sitting to the Speaker’s left.
Even if you have never been to Washington, DC, it is likely that you are familiar with the House Chamber as that is the location where presidents deliver the State of the Union Address each year.
HISTORY OF THE HOUSE CHAMBER
The first House chamber, which was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, was used from 1819, when it was constructed after the British burned the Capitol during the War of 1812, until 1857. It is now the present site of Statuary Hall.
The current House chamber was constructed under the supervision of then-Architect of the Capitol Thomas Walter. Its design afforded greater space for the growing number of Representatives as well as better acoustics and ventilation.
Bills are introduced by placing them in “the Hopper,” which is a bin attached to the side of the clerk’s desk. From the hopper, bills are referred to the committee with appropriate jurisdiction.
The majority of votes are taken by electronic device, unless the Rules of the House dictate other methods. Each Member is able to vote electronically by inserting their personalized Vote Card into a slot in one of the voting stations around the House chamber. The Member then presses either the “Yea,” “Nay” or “Present” button to cast their vote.
Visitors who are interesting in viewing the House Floor should contact my Washington, DC office at 202-225-3111 to obtain the required Gallery passes.
CURRENTLY ON THE HOUSE FLOOR
Today’s Floor Schedule: Includes up-to-the-minute summaries of the current floor proceedings when the House is in session.
Today’s Legislative Schedule: Includes schedules for all House Committee hearings and meetings.
Live Floor and Committee Coverage: CSPAN allows you to watch House proceedings in real time from any location.