Meet the Clerk

Lorraine C. Miller, 35th Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, is the third woman and first African-American to serve as an Officer of the House.

Learn more about Ms. Miller and the Clerk's role in the legislative process.

For Teachers

Looking to bring the U.S. House of Representatives into your Middle School classroom? Visit our For Teachers section for resources, activities, and lesson plans that complement the material on this site.


A person who supports a particular idea and speaks of his/her support publicly.
A change or addition to a bill.
Bicameral Legislature
A lawmaking body with two parts. The United States Congress is one because it is comprised of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.
A legislative proposal which could be made into a law if it is passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and is approved by the President.
Supported by members of two major political parties.
Advisors to the President and heads of the departments of the executive branch.
A person seeking election to an office.
The Washington, D.C. building used by the U.S. Congress for its sessions.
The presiding officer of a group or committee.
Checks and Balances
The system created by the Founding Fathers of the United States to ensure that no one branch of government becomes too powerful.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Legislation within the United States that outlawed racial segregation in schools, public spaces, and work places.
Cold War
Conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR) from the mid-1940s to the early 1990s.
A group of Representatives or Senators who study national problems and suggest solutions.
Conference Committee
A group of members  from both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate tasked with resolving disagreements about bills.
Congressional District
A division of a state containing approximately 600,000 people represented by one Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congressional Record
The daily record of House Floor debate and votes.
The residents of a district represented by a Member of Congress.
The document outlining the United States government and its functions.
Dean of the House
The longest serving Member in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A formal discussion of a proposal before the House of Representatives.
A representative of a United States territory elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Delegates do not participate in votes but do serve on committees. There are delegates from five territories—the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands—in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Democratic Caucus
A yearly meeting of all House Democrats.
Electoral College
A group of people who represent the 50 states and the District of Columbia in the election of the President of the United States.
Electronic Voting System
Using voting stations around the House Chamber and Member voting cards, it records roll call votes in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The final version of proposed legislation passed by one chamber of Congress.
Legislation that has been passed by both chambers of Congress, signed by their presiding officers, and sent to the President for his signature.
Federal Government
The central government of the United States that includes the three branch of government—legislative, executive, and judicial.
General Election
Election held the Tuesday after the first Monday in November of even-numbered years. The entire Membership of the House of Representatives is up for election on this day, as is one-third of the Senate. The President is elected every other general election.
Great Depression
The worldwide economic downturn that began in 1929 and ended in the late 1930s. It started in the United States and is often associated with the stock market crash on October 29, 1929.
A meeting or session of a committee of Congress, usually open to the public, in which testimony and arguments regarding proposed bills are presented.
A box into which a proposed legislative bill is dropped. Once the bill has been dropped in the hopper it is officially introduced to the House.
House Journal
The official log of House Floor action. The Constitution requires that all proceedings are recorded.
House Officers
The Clerk of the House, Sergeant at Arms, Chief Administrative Officer, and the Chaplain of the House.
House Page Program
High School Juniors who work in the House of Representatives for one Semester.
House Rules
The rules created by the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and enforced by the House Parliamentarian. The rules dictate how Members should behave while on the House Floor.
House Rules Committee
The committee responsible for limiting what can be said about and done to a bill on the House floor. It is often referred to as the "traffic cop" of Congress.
Incorporated Territories
Regions or districts of the United States not admitted as states but that have their own legislatures and the potential to become a state.
Jim Crow
State and local laws in the United States between 1876 and 1965 that called for segregation of schools, public places, public transportation, restrooms, and restaurants.
Joint Session of Congress
A meeting of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. These meetings occur in the House Chamber, typically for addresses from the President or foreign dignitaries.
Library of Congress
Known as "America's Library," the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. It is located across the street from the Capitol.
To change the language of a bill.
Member Cloakrooms
Rooms attached to the House chamber—one for Democrats and one for Republicans—where Members can talk privately, make phone calls, and get snacks.
People elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives who have not yet taken the Oath of Office.
Oath of Office
The pledge made by Members to serve their country. Each Member-elect must take the Oath to officially become a member.
Conditions added to a bill.
Public Policy
The set of policies that form the foundation of public laws.
The number of Members required to be present in order for Congress to conduct official business (218 in the House, 100 in Committee of the Whole, 51 in the Senate).
To disagree by formal argument.
Republican Conference
A yearly meeting of all House Republicans.
Resident Commissioner
A representative from Puerto Rico, elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Resident Commissioner does not participate in votes, but does serve on committees.
A measure expressing opinions on policies or issues or dealing with the internal affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate.
Roll Call Votes
A call of the roll in the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate to determine whether a quorum is present or to vote on a question.
A platform for public speaking. In the House, this is the place from which the Speaker of the House presides.
The length of time Congress assembles to conduct business.
Laws put into effect by the legislative branch of a government.
A subgroup of Members of a committee in either the House of Representatives or the Senate that meets to discuss and research possible laws.
A motion to stop action on a bill. The bill is no longer being considered for a law.
Unincorporated Territories
Regions or districts of the United States that are not admitted as states but that have their own legislature and no potential to become a state.
The Presidents ability, as allowed by the Constitution, to prevent a bill or joint resolution from becoming a law. It can be overridden by a two-thirds passing vote in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
Viva Voce Roll Call
A roll call taken verbally.
Voting Card
A card, unique to each Member, used to vote with the Electronic Voting System.