[Deschler's Precedents, Volume 6, Chapter 21]
[Chapter 21. Order of Business; Special Orders]
[A. General Principles]
[§ 6. One-minute Speeches]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

[Page 3871-3880]
                               CHAPTER 21
                   Order of Business; Special Orders
                         A. GENERAL PRINCIPLES
Sec. 6. One-minute Speeches

    Although not provided for in the order of business specified in the 
rules of the House, one-minute speeches, for the purpose of debate 
only, are usually entertained by the Speaker immediately following the 
approval of the Journal and before any legislative 
business.(18) Members obtain recognition for one-minute 
speeches by requesting unanimous consent to address the House for one 
minute; speeches made under the procedure may not exceed one minute or 
300 words (if the word-limit is exceeded, the speech will be printed in 
the Extensions of Remarks or Appendix of the Record).(19) 
One-minute speeches are distinguished from ``special-order'' speeches, 
which may extend up to one hour and which follow the legislative 
program of the day.(20)
18. For discussion of the evolution of the practice of allowing one-
        minute speeches, see Sec. 6.1, infra. For discussion of the 
        principle that orders to address the House for more than one 
        minute must follow the legislative business of the day, see 
        Sec. 7.1, infra.
19. See Sec. 6.1, infra. See also Ch. 29, infra (consideration and 
        debate) and Ch. 5, supra (discussing the Congressional Record), 
        for the relationship of one minute speeches to recognition, 
        debate, and the printing of the Congressional Record.
20. See Sec. 7, infra.

    The normal procedure for one-minute speeches may be varied where 
necessary; such speeches may, for example, exceed one-minute, in the 
discretion of the Speaker, when no legislative business is 
scheduled.(1) And the Speaker may decline to recognize for 
one-minute speeches before proceeding to pressing 
business.(2) The Speaker has on occasion rec
 1. See Sec. Sec. 6.1, 6.5, infra.
 2. See Sec. Sec. 6.6, 6.7, infra.

[[Page 3872]]

ognized for one-minute speeches after business has been conducted, 
where circumstances so permitted.(3)
 3. See Sec. 6.3, infra.

    Generally, the ``one-minute rule'' is followed on each day that the 
House is in session, in order to give Members the opportunity to 
express themselves on a variety of subjects while no business is under 
discussion.                          -------------------

In Order Before Legislative Business

Sec. 6.1 The Speaker discussed in the 79th Congress the modern practice 
    permitting speeches of up to one minute following the approval of 
    the Journal and before the legislative business of the day, and the 
    practice of allowing such speeches to extend beyond one minute 
    where no legislative business is scheduled.

    On Mar. 6, 1945,(4) Speaker Sam Rayburn, of Texas, 
responded to a parliamentary inquiry on the place of ``one-minute'' 
speeches in the order of business:
 4. 91 Cong. Rec. 1788, 1789, 79th Cong. 1st Sess.

        The Speaker: The Chair can reiterate what he has said many 
    times. If he can go back, there was a time here when Members rose 
    the day before and asked unanimous consent that after the approval 
    of the Journal and disposition of matters on the Speaker's desk 
    they might proceed for 20 minutes or 30 minutes or an hour. As 
    chairman of a committee in those days I would sit here ready to go 
    along with my bill, and probably it would be 3 o'clock in the 
    afternoon before legislation was reached.

        When I became majority leader, I made the statement to the 
    House, after consulting with the minority leader, who I think at 
    that time was Mr. Snell, of New York, that if anyone asked to 
    proceed for more than 1 minute before the legislative program of 
    the day was completed we would object. Since then Members have not 
    asked to proceed for more than a minute before the legislative 
        Then Members began speaking for a minute and putting into the 
    Record a long speech, so that 10 or a dozen pages of the Record was 
    taken up before the people who read the Record would get to the 
    legislative program of the day, in which I would think they would 
    be the most interested. So we adopted the policy--there is no rule 
    about it--of asking that when Members speak for a minute, if their 
    remarks are more than 300 words, which many times can be said in a 
    minute, their remarks or any extension of their remarks go in the 
    Appendix of the Record. The Chair has on numerous occasions spoken 
    to those who control the Record and asked them to follow that 
        Mr. [John E.] Rankin [of Mississippi]: Mr. Speaker, I take 
    issue of course with that policy, because these

[[Page 3873]]

    1-minute speakers do not abuse the Record, as a rule. The only 
    question that has been raised about any abuse of the Record in 
    regard to these 1-minute speeches was with reference to a speech 
    made on the 5th of February, I believe, wherein the 1-minute 
    speaker used several pages.
        The Speaker: The Chair might state also that when there is no 
    legislative program in the House for the day, such speeches may go 
    in, and they will go in as 1-minute speeches.
        Mr. [Daniel A.] Reed of New York: Mr. Speaker, verifying the 
    statement, which, of course, needs no verification, I remember 
    going to the Speaker and asking if it would be proper to put the 
    speech in the body of the Record, and the Speaker said that there 
    was no legislative program for the day and there was no reason why 
    a Member could not do it. I assume that was on the 5th of February.
        The Speaker: That is correct.
        Mr. Rankin: Let me say to the gentleman from New York that on 
    yesterday one of the Members made a speech that you will find in 
    the Record almost or quite as long as the speech of the gentleman 
    from Nevada [Mr. Bunker], or the one of the gentleman from Arkansas 
    [Mr. Gathings], or the one that I made. It was placed in the body 
    of the Record, and it was in excess of 300 words. I can go back 
    through the Record here and find numerous occasions.
        If we are going to adopt the policy that everybody who speaks 
    in the well of the House and uses over 300 words must have his 
    speech printed in the Appendix, it should apply to all of us.
        I notice sometimes the Presiding Officer occasionally allows 
    some people more than a minute. Some people have long minutes. We 
    had one rise to speak the other day. I drew my watch. I believe it 
    was 3 minutes. If you will check back you will find every word of 
    it went in the body of the Record. I think this should be a matter 
    to be settled by the membership of the House. Where they make these 
    1-minute speeches with the right to extend their own remarks, it 
    should go in the body of the Record and not be shifted to the 
    Appendix of the Record to make it appear as if it were an extension 
    of remarks.
        The Speaker: The House has that within its entire control at 
    any time it desires to act upon the question.

    The practice regarding such speeches was also discussed on Feb. 6, 
1945 (Speaker Rayburn presiding): (5)
 5. Id. at pp. 839-41.

        Mr. [Robert F.] Rich [of Pennsylvania]: I wish to ask the Chair 
    how it is that if a Member on this side asks for a minute in which 
    to address the House he is permitted to insert 300 words or less, 
    but that when some Members on the other side of the aisle make 
    similar requests they are permitted to put in 7\1/3\ pages, or some 
    8,000 words? How does the discrimination come about?
        The Speaker: There is no discrimination because there was no 
    legislative program on yesterday and anyone had the right to extend 
    his remarks ``at this point'' in the Record.
        Mr. Rich: I am glad to hear that.
        The Speaker: There is no discrimination; that has been the 
    custom for

[[Page 3874]]

    several years. The gentleman will learn it now if he does not 
    already know it from previous rulings of the Chair. . . .
        Mr. Rankin: The question has been raised by two Members, the 
    gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Rich] and the gentleman from 
    Michigan [Mr. Hoffman] about certain matter that was inserted in 
    the Record on yesterday, by another Member. The contention has been 
    made that it was in violation of the rules of the House.
        May I ask the Speaker if it would not be the proper procedure, 
    if any Member feels that the rule has been violated, for him to 
    make a point of order against the insertion, and if his point of 
    order is sustained, then to move to strike the matter from the 
        The Speaker: That could be done. Let the Chair explain the 
    whole situation.
        In the first place, the 1-minute rule was adopted in order that 
    no Member could proceed for more than 1 minute prior to the 
    business of the day on any day when there was a legislative 
    program. The Chair has instructed the official reporters that if 
    such a 1-minute speech and whatever extension is made of it amounts 
    to more than 300 words, it must appear in the Appendix of the 
        As to the matter on yesterday, when a Member asks unanimous 
    consent to extend his remarks in the Record, whether or not he 
    addresses the House in connection therewith and whether or not 
    there is a legislative program for that day, if the extraneous 
    matter covers more than two pages it is the duty of the Public 
    Printer under regulation promulgated by the Joint Committee on 
    Printing to return it, unless the Member having first obtained an 
    estimate of the cost from the Public Printer and included that 
    estimate in his request, has obtained the unanimous consent of the 
    House that the whole extension may be included in the Record. The 
    Chair has tried to enforce the 300-word rule, and intends to, but 
    he does not have any way of looking into what goes to the Printing 
    Office in the extension of remarks.

    Parliamentarian's Note: When there is a legislative program for the 
day, any one-minute speeches which contain more than 300 words are 
printed in the Congressional Record following the business of the day 
or in the Appendix.(6) And extensions of remarks on one-
minute speeches are not printed at that point in the Record where there 
is a legislative program for the day, but in the Appendix of the 
 6. See Speaker Rayburn's announcement of Jan. 17, 1949, 95 Cong. Rec. 
        403, 81st Cong. 1st Sess.
 7. 84 Cong. Rec. 8779, 76th Cong. 1st Sess., July 10, 1939; and 84 
        Cong. Rec. 7108, 76th Cong. 1st Sess., June 13, 1939.
            See also the statement of Majority Leader Rayburn on June 
        10, 1939, 84 Cong. Rec. 6949, 6950, 76th Cong. 1st Sess., that 
        he would thereafter object to extensions of remarks ``at this 
        point in the Record'' where a Member has addressed the House 
        for one minute before the legislative program of the day.


[[Page 3875]]

Sec. 6.2 The Speaker stated that when Members are recognized after 
    approval of the Journal to extend remarks and to proceed for one 
    minute and then a point of order of no quorum is made to start the 
    consideration of legislation, it is not proper to begin over again 
    recognition to extend remarks and proceed for one-minute speeches.

    On Mar. 7, 1941,(8) Speaker Sam Rayburn, of Texas, made 
a statement as to one-minute speeches:
 8. 87 Cong. Rec. 2008, 77th Cong. 1st Sess.

        Let the Chair make a statement. When the House meets and 
    Members are recognized to extend their remarks or to proceed for 1 
    minute and all who are on the floor and so desire have been 
    recognized, and then a point of no quorum is made in order to start 
    the business of legislation for the day, the Chair thinks it is 
    hardly proper to begin all over again in recognizing Members to 
    extend their own remarks or to proceed for 1 minute, but the Chair 
    will recognize the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Gifford].

Sec. 6.3 While one-minute speeches are normally entertained at the 
    beginning of the legislative day, immediately following the 
    approval of the Journal, the Speaker sometimes recognizes Members 
    to proceed for one minute after business has been conducted.

    On Oct. 15, 1969,(9) one-minute speeches had been 
concluded following the approval of the Journal and Speaker John W. 
McCormack, of Massachusetts, had recognized several Members for 
business requests by unanimous consent before recognizing Mr. Spark M. 
Matsunaga, of Hawaii, to call up the first scheduled legislative 
business of the day. Before Mr. Matsunaga took the floor, Mr. Arnold 
Olsen, of Montana, rose to a question of personal privilege and asked 
for recognition to proceed for one minute, in order to respond to the 
last one-minute speech. The Speaker recognized him for a one-minute 
speech (rather than ruling on a question of personal privilege).
 9. 115 Cong. Rec. 30080, 91st Cong. 1st Sess.

Sec. 6.4 The rule (Rule XXVII clause 4) providing that motions to 
    discharge committees shall be in order ``immediately'' after the 
    reading of the Journal on the second and fourth Mondays was 
    construed not to prohibit the Speaker from recognizing for 
    unanimous-consent requests (including one-minute

[[Page 3876]]

    speeches) prior to recognition for an eligible motion to discharge.

    On Oct. 12, 1942,(10) which was the second Monday of the 
month and therefore a day, under Rule XXVII clause 4,(11) 
eligible for motions to discharge committees, Mr. Joseph A. Gavagan, of 
New York, called up such a motion to discharge. Mr. Howard W. Smith, of 
Virginia, made a point of order against the consideration of the motion 
on the ground that the rule required such motions to be brought 
immediately after the reading of the Journal, and that a variety of 
unanimous-consent requests (including sending bills to conference and 
administering the oath to a new Member) had been entertained before the 
motion was called up. Speaker Sam Rayburn, of Texas, overruled the 
point of order:
10. 88 Cong. Rec. 8066, 8067, 77th Cong. 2d Sess.
11. House Rules and Manual Sec. 908 (1979).

        The Speaker: The Chair is ready to rule.
        The Chair anticipated certain points of order both today and 
    tomorrow. He has ruled with reference to the point of order made by 
    the gentleman from Alabama.
        The Chair recognized all the time that the word ``immediately'' 
    is in this rule, as he has read the rule every day for the past 6 
        In ruling on a matter similar to this some time ago, the Chair 
    had this to say, although the matter involved was not exactly on 
    all-fours with this point of order, but it is somewhat related:

            The Chair thinks the Chair has a rather wide range of 
        latitude here and could hold, being entirely technical, that a 
        certain point of order might be sustained.

        The Chair is not going to be any more technical today than he 
    was at that time. The Chair recognized the gentleman from North 
    Carolina [Mr. Doughton] on a highly important matter in order to 
    expedite the business of the Congress, not only the House of 
    Representatives but the whole Congress.
        The Chair does not feel that the intervention of two or three 
    unanimous-consent requests would put him in a position where he 
    could well hold that the word ``immediately'' in the rule was not 
    being followed when he recognized the gentleman from New York [Mr. 
        The Chair holds that in recognizing the gentleman from New York 
    [Mr. Gavagan] when he did, he was complying with the rule which 
    states that it shall be called up immediately upon approval of the 
        The Chair therefore overrules the point of order made by the 
    gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Smith].

When No Business Is Scheduled

Sec. 6.5 The Speaker pro tempore announced that he would recognize 
    Members to address the House for longer

[[Page 3877]]

    than one minute (up to one hour) on a day where the House had no 
    scheduled business pending the filing of conference reports.

    On Dec. 16, 1971,(12) Speaker pro tempore J. Edward 
Roush, of Indiana, made an announcement relative to the order of 
business and one-minute speeches:
12. 117 Cong. Rec. 47429, 92d Cong. 1st Sess.

        The Speaker Pro Tempore: The Chair would advise Members that 
    since there is no legislative business before the House, if Members 
    desire to speak for more than 1 minute, the Chair will recognize 
    them for that purpose.

    Parliamentarian's Note: The Speaker generally refuses recognition 
for extensions of one-minute speeches when legislative business is 
scheduled,(13) but the evaluation of the time consumed is a 
matter for the Chair to determine and is not subject to question or 
challenge by parliamentary inquiry.(14)
13. 117 Cong. Rec. 13724, 92d Cong. 1st Sess., May 6, 1971; and 116 
        Cong. Rec. 42192, 42193, 91st Cong. 2d Sess., Dec. 17, 1970.
14. 118 Cong. Rec. 16288, 92d Cong. 2d Sess., May 9, 1972.

When Not Entertained

Sec. 6.6 Recognition for one-minute speeches is within the discretion 
    of the Speaker, and when the House has a heavy legislative 
    schedule, he sometimes refuses to recognize Members for that 

    On Oct. 19, 1966,(15) Speaker John W. McCormack, of 
Massachusetts, made a statement on the order of business, following the 
approval of the Journal and the receipt of several messages from the 
Senate and President:
15. 112 Cong. Rec. 27640, 89th Cong. 2d Sess.

        The Chair will receive unanimous-consent requests, after the 
    disposition of pending business.
        The unfinished business is the vote on agreeing to the 
    resolution (H. Res. 1062) certifying the report of the Committee on 
    Un-American Activities as to the failures of Jeremiah Stamler to 
    give testimony before a duly authorized subcommittee of said 
        The Clerk read the title of the resolution.

    On June 17, 1970,(16) Speaker McCormack in responding to 
a statement by Mr. H. R. Gross, of Iowa, relative to the fact that the 
Speaker had declined to recognize for one-minute speeches before 
legislative business on that day, stated as follows:
16. 116 Cong. Rec. 20245, 91st Cong. 2d Sess.

        The Chair will state to the gentleman from Iowa that earlier in 

[[Page 3878]]

    day the Chair did make the statement that the Chair would not 
    entertain unanimous-consent requests for 1-minute speeches to be 
    delivered until later on in the day.
        I am sure that the gentleman from Iowa clearly understood that 
    statement on the part of the Speaker. At that particular time the 
    Chair stated that the Chair would recognize Members for unanimous-
    consent requests to extend their remarks in the Record or 
    unanimous-consent requests to speak for 1 minute with the 
    understanding that they would not take their time but would yield 
    back their time.
        I think the Chair clearly indicated that the Chair would 
    recognize Members for that purpose at a later time during the day. 
    As far as the Chair is concerned the custom of the 1-minute speech 
    procedure is adhered to as much as possible because the Chair 
    thinks it is a very healthy custom.
        The Chair had the intent, after the disposition of the voting 
    rights bill, to recognize Members for 1-minute speeches or further 
    unanimous-consent requests if they desired to do so.

    On July 22, 1968,(17) Speaker McCormack discussed, from 
the floor, recognition for one-minute speeches:
17. 114 Cong. Rec. 22633, 22634, 90th Cong. 2d Sess.

        Mr. [Leslie C.] Arends [of Illinois]: Might I throw out a 
    suggestion here that may or may not have merit in the eyes of the 
    distinguished Speaker--I do not know. But it seems to me that every 
    day we start early for one reason or another almost an hour is gone 
    before we get down to the legislative process.
        Would it be proper if Members were permitted to extend their 
    remarks and make their 1 minute speeches at the end of the 
    legislative day in order that we might just get started right away 
    on the legislative program when we meet.
        Mr. McCormack: I call the 1-minute period ``dynamic 
    democracy.'' I hesitate to take away the privilege of a Member as 
    to speaking during that period and it has become a custom and a 
    practice of the House. I think it is a very good thing to adhere to 
    that custom and practice.
        It is only on rare occasions that Members have not been 
    recognized for that purpose. How would the gentleman feel if he had 
    a 1-minute speech to make and he had sent out his press release and 
    then found out that the Speaker was not going to recognize him? 
    Surely, I think, the gentleman would feel better if the Speaker did 
    recognize him; would he not?
        Mr. Arends: According to a person's views--I think it would be 
    the reverse.
        Mr. McCormack: Does the gentleman mean at the end of the day?
        Mr. Arends: You said that this might be ``dynamic democracy.'' 
    I would rather it would be started when we have the time rather 
    than be started at noon.
        Mr. McCormack: It is an integral part of the procedure of the 
    House and I like to adhere to it. Very seldom have I said to 
    Members that I will accept only unanimous-consent requests for 
    extensions of remarks. I hesitate to do it. I think every Member 
    realizes that I am trying to protect their rights. . . .

[[Page 3879]]

        Mr. [Durward G.] Hall [of Missouri]: I thank the gentleman for 
        I think the question is not that of eliminating the 1-minute 
    speeches after the Members have their news releases out. But it is 
    a question of not going back after the second or third rollcall and 
    rerecognizing speeches. In this connection does ``dynamic 
    democracy'' mean the same thing as benign but beneficial 
    dictatorship--which does have merit?
        Mr. McCormack: The gentleman from Missouri has raised a very 
    interesting question. Many times I have said to myself, I am going 
    to announce that the 1-minute speeches will have to be at 12 
    o'clock and not thereafter. But I have not come to the making of 
    that resolution because I just could not bring myself to it. It is 
    somewhat late in this session to do it and when, of course, we 
    Democrats control the House in the next Congress, and I hope I will 
    be Speaker, then I might do it. I am not promising it, but I may do 
    it. But there is something to what the gentleman from Missouri 

Sec. 6.7 The Speaker refused to recognize for one-minute speeches 
    before proceeding with a special-order speech eulogizing a deceased 

    On July 13, 1967,(18) Speaker John W. McCormack, of 
Massachusetts, before recognizing Mr. Glenard P. Lipscomb, of 
California, for a special-order speech (before legislative business) 
eulogizing deceased Member J. Arthur Younger, of California, made the 
following announcement:
18. 113 Cong. Rec. 18639, 90th Cong. 1st Sess.

        The Chair will not receive unanimous-consent requests at this 
    time, except for Members making a unanimous-consent request for 
    committees to sit during general debate today.

Recognition for Debate Only

Sec. 6.8 The Minority Leader having been recognized to proceed for one 
    minute and in that time having asked unanimous consent for the 
    consideration of a bill, the Speaker held that the gentleman was 
    not recognized for that purpose.

    On Jan. 26, 1944,(19) Speaker Sam Rayburn, of Texas, 
held that recognition for a one-minute speech was limited to that 
19. 90 Cong. Rec. 746, 747, 78th Cong. 2d Sess.

        Mr. [Joseph W.] Martin [Jr.] of Massachusetts: Mr. Speaker, I 
    ask unanimous consent to proceed for 1 minute.
        The Speaker: The Chair will not recognize any other Member at 
    this time for that purpose but will recognize the gentleman from 
        Mr. Martin of Massachusetts: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the 
    generosity of the Chair.

[[Page 3880]]

        I take this minute, Mr. Speaker, because I want to make a 
    unanimous consent request and I think it should be explained.
        I agree with the President that there is immediate need for 
    action on the soldiers' vote bill. A good many of us have been 
    hoping we could have action for the last month. To show our 
    sincerity in having action not next week but right now, I ask 
    unanimous consent that the House immediately take up the bill which 
    is on the Union Calendar known as S. 1285. the soldiers' voting 
        The Speaker: The gentleman from Massachusetts was not 
    recognized for that purpose.
        The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Kentucky.