This protocol ensures that legislation is not debated on the House floor without the authoring Member present. It is designed to address occurrences in the past where legislation – especially measures addressing a specific parochial issue – has been debated on the House floor by committee managers, rather than the Member who originally proposed the legislation. Most commonly, these instances have applied to resolutions considered under suspension of the rules, but they have also applied to substantive legislation that has been assigned to a specific Member.
In order for legislation to be considered on the House floor, the original sponsor of the specific bill or resolution must be present during – and participate in – debate on the measure. This protocol does not apply to privileged measures reported by the Rules Committee or to legislation introduced by committee chairmen within their committee’s jurisdiction.