Paul Hays is a former Reading Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, a face familiar to viewers of C-SPAN, the network which covers House proceedings. The reading clerk reads bills, motions, and other papers before the House and keeps track of changes to legislation made on the floor. During the vote for Speaker at the beginning of each Congress, or when the electronic voting system fails, the clerk calls the roll of members for voting viva voce. Hays joined the House in 1966 and became Republican reading clerk in 1988 at the nomination of Minority Leader Robert H. Michel of Illinois. Bald and bespectacled, he read the articles of impeachment laid against President Bill Clinton in 1998.
His parents met while at George Washington University, his father a native of Mississippi, and his mother a transplant from Kansas. Paul Hays was born in Washington D.C. Hays started his career in Washington as a Supreme Court Page. He attended the Capitol Page School while he was a Page. Hays's aunt taught at the Capitol Page School for many years. Hays's Democratic counterpart was Mary Kevin Niland, who remained a reading clerk until 2008.
Paul Hays retired as Reading Clerk on April 30, 2007. The House met in a pro forma session that day therefore the last day Hays assisted in legislative business was April 26.
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