Speaker of the House Question

In the US Congress does the Speaker of the House have the absolute power to decide which bills, if any, get presented to the House for a debate or vote? In other words, if he/she doesn’t want to present a bill then nobody can override their decision? I would hope there would be a check and balance here.

The Speaker, who is the leader of the House’s majority, regularly meets with the majority leadership and discusses what bills to bring to the floor. There are rules for getting bills to the floor even despite the Speaker’s opposition. Different speakers have had more or less actual control, depending on personality, the unity of the majority, leverage over peers and the rules. Some, in the past, were real tyrants.

(Bolding mine.) About the Speaker of the House of Representatives

A bill can be brought to the floor without the Speaker’s cooperation (or more commonly without a committee’s cooperation) through the use of a discharge petition.

Discharge petitions are embarrassing for the leadership, so usually the threat of one (if you can back it up with enough votes) is enough to get the Speaker to cooperate.

That’s what I was looking for. Alternately you can depose the speaker and pick someone who is more reasonable to work with.

Deposing a Speaker would itself probably require a discharge petition, since an incumbent Speaker is unlikely to schedule a vote for his own ouster.

I thought Alexander Haig is in control…


Yeah. Funny how he forget about the Speaker of the House and the President pro tem of the Senate, though…

I assumed that since the majority party elects the Speaker they can also un-elect him and elect someone else instead.

Not speaking to the House rules specifically but deliberative bodies typically want some stability with their officers so it is normally difficult to remove them from office, especially if they’ve done nothing illegal or immoral.

That being said, Boehner was informally forced out once he lost the support of the Republican side of the aisle.

Interestingly though, Al probably learned the constitution in such a way that he thought he was in charge. Succession wasn’t changed to the present configuration until he was 25 years old. He was wrong, of course, but it gives some insight into his thinking. Prior to 1947 he would have had more standing.