United States Constitution

PREAMBLE : We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution



Article 1, Section 5

Text of Article 1, Section 5:
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

The 'Travis Translation' of Article 1, Section 5:
Clause 1: The House of Representatives and the Senate are each in charge of the elections and behavior of their Members. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate need most of their Members there to do business. They can make the other Members come to work and punish them if they do not.

Clause 2: Both the House of Representatives and the Senate make their own rules for doing business. They can punish Members for misbehaving, and they can kick out Members if two-thirds of them vote for it.

Clause 3: Both the House of Representatives and the Senate will write down what they say and do in a journal and print it so everybody can read it, unless it is really secret. Votes of individual Representatives or Senators must be written down if 20% of the Members want that.

Clause 4: While Congress is meeting, the House of Representatives or the Senate cannot leave for more than three days, unless they both decide to leave.

The fifth section of Article I deals with rules.

And, as with much of this article, the text itself is straightforward: Congress needs to make sure that its members are qualified, it needs a majority present to do most business, it can set its own internal rules and govern the punishment for violating those rules, it should keep records, and – during a session of Congress – neither House (Senate or House of Representatives) can adjourn for more than three days or meet in a place other than the Capitol without the consent of the other House.