I'm watching the "debate" on the articles of impeachment and I am getting confused by the time management. I've seen this question (Controlling Time in the House of Representatives) but am still confused in this specific instance.

The Democratic manager (Schiff) has repeatedly stated "Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time" while the Republican manager (Collins) is "yielding 30 seconds" to numerous Republican members.

I don't understand what is going on. Is there some strategy here? If both managers were to "reserve" then what happens then? Does one side "win" if they end up with more time?

1 Answer 1


Speaking on the House Floor: Gaining Time and Parliamentary Phraseology, Updated December 10, 2018, pp 2-3.

Controlling Time as a Manager

Those designated to control the time often begin discussing the measure by yielding to themselves a set number of minutes or, more often, by stating:

I yield myself such time as I may consume.

The manager is then recognized and holds the floor until all of his or her available time expires or until the manager concludes by saying:

I reserve the balance of my time.


Each floor manager usually, but not necessarily, yields to Members on his or her side of the aisle. Managers do not refer to other Members by name and instead designate them by state. For example, the manager might say:

I yield two minutes to the gentleman from California.


Time is kept by the clerks sitting at the House dais, and managers often ask how much time remains available. In response, the presiding officer will announce how much time the majority and minority floor managers have left. It is not uncommon for the managers to discuss with each other how the remaining time will be distributed. For example, one manager might ask the other how many more Members on his side are waiting to speak.


Debate ends when all time has expired or all time has been yielded back. If the managers determine through discussion that no more Members wish to speak on either side, then they might, in turn, yield back their remaining time by stating:

I yield back the balance of my time.

And more ...

Is there some strategy here?

The strategy is to speak as effectively as can be done; to get the most votes on motions, amendments, bills, etc. for "their" side.

If both managers were to "reserve" then what happens then?

That is not permitted. When one side reserves, the other side speaks. If both side are done, they yield back their balance.

Does one side "win" if they end up with more time?


  • During yesterday's debate I frequently heard the managers designate the name of the represenative they're yielding to, after the state. "I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from California, So-and-So".
    – Barmar
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 16:07
  • I also noticed that the managers referred to female representatives as "gentlelady", but the clerk used "gentlewoman" when acknowledging. Is this just individual preference, or is there some tradition involved?
    – Barmar
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 16:08
  • @Barmar - As long as there is no breach of order or decorum, a representative is unlikely to be called to answer for not following established practice. As for the distinction between "gentlelady" and "gentlewoman", probably preference; though the linked source uses "gentlewoman". Wait for the time when some representative may insist on "gentlethem", or similar.
    – Rick Smith
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 17:15

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