United States Speaker of the House

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the presiding officer elected by the members of the U.S. House.

The Speaker receives a higher salary than other members of Congress, earning $223,500 per year.[1]

Current speaker

The current speaker is John Boehner, a Republican who represents Ohio's 8th Congressional District.


The office was established in 1789 by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.

United States Constitution, Article I Section 2:

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers...

The Constitution does not require that the speaker be an elected member of Congress, but no non-member has ever been elected to the office.[2]


When a Congress convenes for the first time, each major party conference or caucus nominates a candidate for Speaker. Members customarily elect the Speaker by roll call vote. A member usually votes for the candidate from his or her own party conference or caucus but can vote for anyone, whether that person has been nominated or not.[2]

To be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes cast—which may be less than a majority of the full House because of vacancies, absentee members, or members who vote "present." If no candidate receives the majority of votes, the roll call is repeated until a majority is reached and the Speaker is elected.[2]


The Speaker performs a number of functions, including:[2]

  • Presides over the House
  • Administers the Oath of Office to House Members
  • Communicates with the President of the United States and the U.S. Senate
  • Leads his or her party conference or caucus
  • Chairs his or her party’s steering committee, which is involved in the selection of party members for standing committees
  • Nominates chairs and members of the Committee on Rules and the Committee on House Administration.

The Speaker also appoints:[2]

  • Speakers pro tempore
  • The chair who presides over the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union
  • Members to House-Senate conference committees
  • A Member to the Committee on the Budget
  • Select committees
  • Certain House staff

The Speaker recognizes Members to speak on the House Floor or make motions during Floor proceedings. The Speaker makes many important rulings and decisions in the House. The Speaker may debate or vote, but typically only occasionally does so. The Speaker also serves as an ex officio member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

By statute, the Speaker is second in line, after the Vice President of the United States, to succeed the President.[2][3]

See also

External links