Congressional Rules

Today, we’ll examine Section 6 of Article I of the Constitution. This section sets out some benefits for and prohibitions to members of both houses of Congress.

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE I.

SECTION 6. 1 The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

First, this paragraph gives Congress the authority to set the compensation of its own members in the same way it passes any other law. Some people today feel that this power has been abused and that the salaries and other perks for our legislators have become excessive. Be that as it may, Congress has certainly acted within its authority under the Constitution in establishing them.

This paragraph also protects our legislators from being detained or arrested on trumped-up charges by political opponents. The fear was that as some of them traveled from their home states through other states on their way to Congressional sessions, opponents in one of the states they traveled through might prevent them from getting there and fulfilling their duties.

It also protects them from retribution for anything they say in Congress in the course of fulfilling their duties. The founders wanted our Representatives and Senators to be free of fear of any such thing.

2 No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

This provision was put in to prevent financial hanky-panky. Without it, a member might get a bill passed to create a position on the federal payroll—or increase the pay of a position already in existence—so he could get himself appointed to that position. It also prevents double-dipping by barring a member from simultaneously holding a job on the federal payroll.

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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2 Responses to Congressional Rules

  1. Well dang it, there goes my political career ambitions. I was so hoping to create a secret federal payroll job for me and my friends, but now, well . . . I’ll just have to go on down to the welfare office and see about getting my monthly check amount increased.

    Thanks for continuing this very important work David. I wish more folks paid attention.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Patricia. Maybe we could get an exception of you. Better still, get your mommy and daddy to get you a $600,000 a year job with a TV network. That’s what Chelsea Clinton did.

      Like

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