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H.Res. 281: Amending the Rules of the House of Representatives to require a specific oath be administered to any witness appearing before a committee.

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About the resolution

Does the religious reference belong in an ostensibly-nonreligious body like Congress?

Context and what the resolution does

When Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives in 2019, several committee chairs eliminated the phrase “so help me God” from the oath that witnesses are required to recite before giving testimony.

The Oath Act would explicitly require that clause, with this phrasing for all congressional testimony: “Do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony that you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

It was introduced in the House on March 26 as H.Res. 281, by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA4).

What supporters say

Supporters argue that giving your word before what they believe to be a …

Sponsor and status

Mike Johnson

Sponsor. Representative for Louisiana's 4th congressional district. Republican.

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Last Updated: Mar 26, 2021
Length: 1 page
Mar 26, 2021
117th Congress (2021–2023)

Introduced on Mar 26, 2021

This resolution is in the first stage of the legislative process. It was introduced into Congress on March 26, 2021. It will typically be considered by committee next before it is possibly sent on to the House or Senate as a whole.


16 Cosponsors (16 Republicans)



Mar 26, 2021

Bills and resolutions are referred to committees which debate the bill before possibly sending it on to the whole chamber.

If this resolution has further action, the following steps may occur next:
Passed Committee

Agreed To

H.Res. 281 is a simple resolution in the United States Congress.

A simple resolution is used for matters that affect just one chamber of Congress, often to change the rules of the chamber to set the manner of debate for a related bill. It must be agreed to in the chamber in which it was introduced. It is not voted on in the other chamber and does not have the force of law.

Resolutions numbers restart every two years. That means there are other resolutions with the number H.Res. 281. This is the one from the 117th Congress.

How to cite this information.

We recommend the following MLA-formatted citation when using the information you see here in academic work:

“H.Res. 281 — 117th Congress: Amending the Rules of the House of Representatives to require a specific oath be administered ….” 2021. August 9, 2022 <>

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GovTrack automatically collects legislative information from a variety of governmental and non-governmental sources. This page is sourced primarily from, the official portal of the United States Congress. is generally updated one day after events occur, and so legislative activity shown here may be one day behind. Data via the congress project.