[Deschler's Precedents, Volume 1, Chapters 1 - 6]
[Chapter 6.  Officers, Officials, and Employees]
[B. Speaker Pro Tempore]
[§ 10. Definition and Nature of Office]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

[Page 541-542]
                               CHAPTER 6
                   Officers, Officials, and Employees
                         B. SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE
Sec. 10. Definition and Nature of Office

    The ``Speaker pro tempore''(1) is the title of the 
office (1) of the Member designated as such by the 
Speaker,(2) or (2) of the Member designated by the Speaker 
and approved by the House, or (3) of the person elected by the House to 
act as and to assume certain of the duties, powers, and functions of 
the Speaker during the Speaker's absence.(3)
 1. ``Pro tempore'' is a Latin phrase meaning ``for the moment'' or 
        ``for a time.''
            Parliamentarian's Note: The Speaker pro tempore is more 
        usually referred to in conversation as the ``Speaker pro tem,'' 
        which is acceptable in conversation, though not the official 
        title. ``Pro tem'' has the same meaning as ``pro tempore.''
 2. Or, on occasions, by a Speaker pro tempore. See Sec. Sec. 12.3, 
        12.4, infra.
 3. Even though the Clerk sometimes assumes some of the duties, powers, 
        and functions of the Speaker when the Speaker is not yet 
        elected or is absent, he is not considered a Speaker pro 
        tempore. See Sec. 18, infra, for treatment of the office of 

    The Speaker pro tempore should also be distinguished from the 
Chairman or Chairman pro tempore of the Committee of the Whole. See Ch. 
19, infra.
    The primary rule involving the Speaker pro tempore is Rule I clause 
7, House Rules and Manual Sec. 633 (1973). It states: ``He [the 
Speaker] shall have the right to name any Member to perform the duties 
of the Chair, but such substitution shall not extend beyond three 
legislative days: Provided, however, That in the case of his [the 
Speaker's] illness, he may make such appointment for a period not 
exceeding ten days, with the approval of the House at the time the same 
is made; and in his [the Speaker's] absence and omission to make such 
appointment, the House shall proceed to elect a Speaker pro tempore to 
act during his absence.''

    The Speaker pro tempore is usually a Member who is a leader in the 
majority party.(4) A minority party member is designated 
Speaker pro tempore only on rare ceremonial occasions.(5)
 4. Party Organization generally, see Ch. 3, supra.
 5. See Sec. 12.7, infra.

    Speakers pro tempore are distinguishable by whether they are 
designated, designated and approved, or elected. The kinds of duties, 
powers, and functions assumed by a Speaker pro tempore depend, more 
often than not, on the type of Speaker pro tempore 
 6. See Sec. Sec. 12.8-12.16 (designated), 13.1, 13.2 (designated and 
        approved), and 14.8-14.16 (elected), infra.


[[Page 542]]

    It should be noted, however, that there are also situations, 
usually noncontroversial ones, in which actions undertaken by a Speaker 
pro tempore are not dependent on the type of Speaker pro tempore 
involved. Examples of these actions are: calling the House to order in 
the absence of the Speaker;(7) announcing matters involving 
actions of the Speaker;(8) and designating another Speaker 
pro tempore.(9)
 7. See Sec. 12.15 (designated); and the illustration under Sec. 14.12 
        (elected), infra.
 8. See illustrations under Sec. 12.2 (designated), infra; and 109 
        Cong. Rec. 25591, 88th Cong. 1st Sess., Dec. 27, 1963; and 108 
        Cong. Rec. 12705, 87th Cong. 2d Sess., July 5, 1962 (elected).
 9. See illustrations under Sec. Sec.  14.1 (designated); 12.3 
        (elected), infra.