The Pledge of Allegiance Becomes a Part of the House Daily Order of Business
September 13, 1988
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives About this objectRepresentative Sonny Montgomery of Mississippi served seven terms as Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
On this date, Representative G. V. (Sonny) Montgomery of Mississippi led the U.S. House of Representatives in the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time as part of the daily order of business. The decision to recite the Pledge in the House that morning had grown out of a campaign issue raised during the 1988 presidential election between Vice President George H. W. Bush and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. Over the summer, Bush had criticized Dukakis for vetoing a bill as governor 11 years earlier requiring public schools to begin each day with the Pledge of Allegiance. On September 9, 1988, Representative John Rowland of Connecticut brought the debate to the House when he introduced a privileged resolution requiring the Speaker to open each legislative day with the Pledge. The motion—which created some heated discussion—was ruled out of order since it would have changed the Rules of the House. But about an hour later, Speaker James C. Wright of Texas took the floor to announce that the Pledge would be recited the next time the House met, on September 13th. Speaker Wright also said the Chair reserved the right to call another Member to conduct the Pledge during future sessions in the hope that it would prevent it from becoming “an instrument of disunity.” The House formally added the Pledge to its rules during the 104th Congress (1995–1997).