The US has two legislative Houses in its bicameral legislature; the House of Representatives and the upper house, known simply as the Senate. The US Senate doesn’t have a speaker since the Vice-President takes up the leadership role in the Upper House. However, both state and national level House of Representatives does have a speaker of their own.
Who is the House Speaker?
Any Speaker in the United States is the elected leader of their respective House of Representatives, be it at a state level, or at the national level. For example, rep Dennis Bonnen (District 25) is the Honorable House Speaker who leads the Texas House of Representatives currently, while rep. Nancy Pelosi is leading the United States House of Representatives as of now.
While the Speaker is certainly an elected leader of the House, they usually belong to the majority party, due to the obvious advantage they hold in voting for the Speaker’s election. The election is held at the beginning of every new US Congressional Session.
The Difference between National and State House Speakers
As a leader of the House, being a Speaker comes with multiple responsibilities, which are similar in many ways for both national and state-level Speakership. However, before getting to the roles the Speakers play within the US government, it is important to make one important distinction between State House Speakers and the National Speaker: only the national speaker can temporarily take over as the president, in absence of both the President and the Vice-President.
Usual Roles of the US Speaker
There are a significant number of constitutional responsibilities that a Speaker is expected to carry out as the leader of the House. Some of the most important ones can be briefly introduced as the following.
• To preside over, maintain order, and decide on debates within the House
• To appoint members and chairpersons for conference committees, select committees, House Rules Committees, and special committees
• To administer the Oath of Office to all new members of the House
• To establish the legislative agenda, in accordance with the contemporary situation and their urgency
• To delegate the day-to-day tasks to other representatives in the House
• To delegate the task of presiding over a house meeting or debate to another representative, in his/her absence
• To decide on disputes regarding issues related to the Parliament and the House of Representatives
• To act and serve as the House Steering Committee’s Chairperson
These are to be used as guidelines, and a good Speaker always chooses to be dynamic in his/her role, adapting to the situation rather than the designation.
Get to Know More about US Speakers: Past and Present
This was, of course, only an introduction to who the US Speakers are exactly and what roles they are supposed to play at both state and national levels. To know more about Speakers currently in office, as well as other famous Speakers who have done a great deal for their respective states and the nation during their time at the office, do try to visit their official websites. The Dennis Bonnen website has all the information any Texan or US citizen may need to know about not only the SpeakerBonnen but also his past political career, personal life, multiple professional, academic, and political achievements. The site also highlights the impact that Dennis Bonnen’s wife and successful lawyer, Kimberly Bonnen, has had on his life and work.
The Dynamic Role of House Speakers: Texas in Highlight
The role of a speaker is dynamic in nature, which means that they can and should change with the state’s or nation’s immediate issues at hand. If we take the Texas House of Representatives, for example, we saw a speaker Bonnenuniting the Texas reps under him and working towards addressing the state’s many issues throughout 2019. Dennis Bonnen’s designation as the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives only began back in January 2019, but ever since that time, rep Dennis Bonnenhas shown remarkable success in many areas.
Since the entire nation is now under the grip of COVID-19for months, Dennis Bonnen has also shifted his attention towards countering the pandemic’s effects in Texas, as best as possible from his position. There was a recent instance of Dennis Bonnen recording an interview with Garry P. Nunn, where he discussed the economic, social, healthcare, and political impacts of Covid-19 on Texas.
It should be noted that the legislative and executive infrastructure of Texas was handled smoothly during this time of crisis. In spite of having nearly 90,000 confirmed cases as of now, Texas has one of the lowest fatality rates, as well as one of the highest recovery rates simultaneously among all US states. Do check the Texas House of Representatives website for more information on the benefits and relief schemes introduced to counter the emergency.