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"If the People become inattentive to the public affairs... 
I, and Congress, Assemblies, Judges and Governors shall all become wolves." 

~ Thomas Jefferson

   

HOW OUR LAWS ARE MADE
Revised and Updated January 31, 2000 by Charles W. Johnson, Parliamentarian, U.S. House of Representatives
FOREWORD
     First published in 1953 by the Committee on the Judiciary of
the House of Representatives, this 22nd edition of "How Our Laws
Are Made" reflects changes in congressional procedures since the
21st edition, which was revised and updated in 1997.  This
edition was prepared by the Office of the Parliamentarian of the
U.S. House of Representatives in consultation with the Office of
the Parliamentarian of the U.S. Senate. 

     The framers of our Constitution created a strong federal
government resting on the concept of "separation of powers."

     In Article I, Section 1, of the Constitution, the
Legislative Branch is created by the following language: "All
legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress
of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House
of Representatives." 

     Upon this elegant, yet simple, grant of legislative powers
has grown an exceedingly complex and evolving legislative
process.  To aid the public's understanding of the legislative
process, we have revised this popular brochure.  For more
detailed information on how our laws are made and for the text of
the laws themselves, the reader should refer to government
internet sites or pertinent House and Senate publications
available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Charles W. Johnson
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION     
II. THE CONGRESS
III. SOURCES OF LEGISLATION   
IV. FORMS OF CONGRESSIONAL ACTION  
     BILLS     
     JOINT RESOLUTIONS   
     CONCURRENT RESOLUTIONS   
     SIMPLE RESOLUTIONS  
V. INTRODUCTION AND REFERRAL TO COMMITTEE   
VI. CONSIDERATION BY COMMITTEE     
     COMMITTEE MEETINGS  
     PUBLIC HEARINGS     
     MARKUP    
     FINAL COMMITTEE ACTION   
     POINTS OF ORDER WITH RESPECT TO COMMITTEE HEARING PROCEDURE
     
VII. REPORTED BILLS 
     CONTENTS OF REPORTS 
     FILING OF REPORTS   
     AVAILABILITY OF REPORTS AND HEARINGS    
VIII. LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT BY STANDING COMMITTEES     
IX. CALENDARS  
     UNION CALENDAR 
     HOUSE CALENDAR 
     PRIVATE CALENDAR    
     CORRECTIONS CALENDAR     
     CALENDAR OF MOTIONS TO DISCHARGE COMMITTEES  
X. OBTAINING CONSIDERATION OF MEASURES  
     UNANIMOUS CONSENT   
     SPECIAL RESOLUTION OR "RULE"  
     CONSIDERATION OF MEASURES MADE IN ORDER BY RULE REPORTED
FROM THE COMMITTEE ON RULES   
     MOTION TO DISCHARGE COMMITTEE 
     MOTION TO SUSPEND THE RULES   
     CALENDAR WEDNESDAY  
     DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BUSINESS 
     QUESTIONS OF PRIVILEGE   
     PRIVILEGED MATTERS  
XI. CONSIDERATION AND DEBATE  
     COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE  
     SECOND READING 
     AMENDMENTS AND THE GERMANENESS RULE     
     THE COMMITTEE "RISES"    
     HOUSE ACTION   
     MOTION TO RECOMMIT  
     QUORUM CALLS AND ROLLCALLS    
     VOTING    
     ELECTRONIC VOTING   
     PAIRING OF MEMBERS  
     SYSTEM OF LIGHTS AND BELLS    
     RECESS AUTHORITY    
     LIVE COVERAGE OF FLOOR PROCEEDINGS 
XII. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET PROCESS  
XIII. ENGROSSMENT AND MESSAGE TO SENATE 
XIV. SENATE ACTION  
     COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION  
     CHAMBER PROCEDURE   
XV. FINAL ACTION ON AMENDED BILL   
     REQUEST FOR A CONFERENCE 
     AUTHORITY OF CONFEREES   
     MEETINGS AND ACTION OF CONFEREES   
     CONFERENCE REPORTS  
     CUSTODY OF PAPERS   
XVI. BILL ORIGINATING IN SENATE    
XVII. ENROLLMENT    
XVIII. PRESIDENTIAL ACTION    
     VETO MESSAGE   
     LINE ITEM VETO 
XIX. PUBLICATION    
     SLIP LAWS 
     STATUTES AT LARGE   
     UNITED STATES CODE  
APPENDIX  
 

  

  

  

  

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                    HOW OUR LAWS ARE MADE

I. INTRODUCTION

     This brochure is intended to provide a basic outline of the
numerous steps of our federal lawmaking process from the source
of an idea for a legislative proposal through its publication as
a statute.  The legislative process is a matter about which every
citizen should be well informed in order to understand and
appreciate the work of Congress.

     It is hoped that this guide will enable every citizen to
gain a greater understanding of the federal legislative process
and its role as one of the foundations of our representative
system.  One of the most practical safeguards of the American
democratic way of life is this legislative process with its
emphasis on the protection of the minority, allowing ample
opportunity to all sides to be heard and make their views known. 
The fact that a proposal cannot become a law without
consideration and approval by both Houses of Congress is an
outstanding virtue of our bicameral legislative system.  The open
and full discussion provided under the Constitution often results
in the notable improvement of a bill by amendment before it
becomes law or in the eventual defeat of an inadvisable proposal.

     As the majority of laws originate in the House of
Representatives, this discussion will focus principally on the
procedure in that body. 

II. THE CONGRESS

     Article I, Section 1, of the United States Constitution,
provides that: 

     All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a
Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate
and House of Representatives. 

     The Senate is composed of 100 Members-two from each state,
regardless of population or area-elected by the people in
accordance with the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.  The 17th
Amendment changed the former constitutional method under which
Senators were chosen by the respective state legislatures.  A
Senator must be at least 30 years of age, have been a citizen of
the United States for nine years, and, when elected, be a
resident of the state for which the Senator is chosen.  The term
of office is six years and one-third of the total membership of
the Senate is elected every second year.  The terms of both
Senators from a particular state are arranged so that they do not
terminate at the same time.  Of the two Senators from a state
serving at the same time the one who was elected first-or if both
were elected at the same time, the one elected for a full term-is
referred to as the "senior" Senator from that state.  The other
is referred to as the "junior" Senator.  If a Senator dies or
resigns during the term, the governor of the state must call a
special election unless the state legislature has authorized the
governor to appoint a successor until the next election, at which
time a successor is elected for the balance of the term.  Most of
the state legislatures have granted their governors the power of
appointment. 

     Each Senator has one vote.

     As constituted in the 105th Congress, the House of
Representatives is composed of 435 Members elected every two
years from among the 50 states, apportioned to their total
populations.  The permanent number of 435 was established by
federal law following the Thirteenth Decennial Census in 1910, in
accordance with Article I, Section 2, of the Constitution.  This
number was increased temporarily to 437 for the 87th Congress to
provide for one Representative each for Alaska and Hawaii.  The
Constitution limits the number of Representatives to not more
than one for every 30,000 of population.  Under a former
apportionment in one state, a particular Representative
represented more than 900,000 constituents, while another in the
same state was elected from a district having a population of
only 175,000.  The Supreme Court has since held unconstitutional
a Missouri statute permitting a maximum population variance of
3.1 percent from mathematical equality.  The Court ruled in
Kirkpatrick v. Preisler, 394 U.S. 526 (1969), that the variances
among the districts were not unavoidable and, therefore, were
invalid.  That decision was an interpretation of the Court's
earlier ruling in Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1 (1964), that
the Constitution requires that "as nearly as is practicable one
man's vote in a congressional election is to be worth as much as
another's."  

     A law enacted in 1967 abolished all "at-large" elections
except in those less populous states entitled to only one
Representative.  An "at-large" election is one in which a
Representative is elected by the voters of the entire state
rather than by the voters in a congressional district within the
state. 

     A Representative must be at least 25 years of age, have been
a citizen of the United States for seven years, and, when
elected, be a resident of the state in which the Representative
is chosen.  If a Representative dies or resigns during the term,
the governor of the state must call a special election pursuant
to state law for the choosing of a successor to serve for the
unexpired portion of the term. 

     Each Representative has one vote.

     In addition to the Representatives from each of the States,
a Resident Commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and
Delegates from the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam,
and the Virgin Islands are elected pursuant to federal law.  The
Resident Commissioner and the Delegates have most of the
prerogatives of Representatives including the right to vote in
committees to which they are elected.  However, the Resident
Commissioner and the Delegates do not have the right to vote on
matters before the House.

     Under the provisions of Section 2 of the 20th Amendment to
the Constitution, Congress must assemble at least once every
year, at noon on the 3rd day of January, unless by law they
appoint a different day.

     A Congress lasts for two years, commencing in January of the
year following the biennial election of Members.  A Congress is
divided into two sessions.

The Constitution authorizes each House to determine the rules of
its proceedings.  Pursuant to that authority, the House of
Representatives adopts its rules on the opening day of each
Congress.  The Senate considers itself a continuing body and
operates under continuous standing rules that it amends from time
to time.

     Unlike some other parliamentary bodies, both the Senate and
the House of Representatives have equal legislative functions and
powers with certain exceptions.  For example, the Constitution
provides that only the House of Representatives originate revenue
bills.  By tradition, the House also originates appropriation
bills.  As both bodies have equal legislative powers, the
designation of one as the "upper" House and the other as the
"lower" House is not appropriate.

The chief function of Congress is the making of laws.  In
addition, the Senate has the function of advising and consenting
to treaties and to certain nominations by the President.  However 
under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, both Houses confirm
the President's nomination for Vice-President when there is a
vacancy in that office.  In the matter of impeachments, the House
of Representatives presents the charges-a function similar to
that of a grand jury-and the Senate sits as a court to try the
impeachment.  No impeached person may be removed without a
two-thirds vote of the Senate.  The Congress also plays a role in
presidential elections.  Both Houses meet in joint session on the
sixth day of January, following a presidential election, unless
by law they appoint a different day, to count the electoral
votes.  If no candidate receives a majority of the total
electoral votes, the House of Representatives, each state
delegation having one vote, chooses the President from among the
three candidates having the largest number of electoral votes. 
The Senate, each Senator having one vote, chooses the Vice President 
from the two candidates having the largest number of votes for that 
office. 

III. SOURCES OF LEGISLATION

     Sources of ideas for legislation are unlimited and proposed
drafts of bills originate in many diverse quarters.  Primary
among these is the idea and draft conceived by a Member or
Delegate.  This may emanate from the election campaign during
which the Member had promised, if elected, to introduce
legislation on a particular subject.  The Member may have also
become aware after taking office of the need for amendment to or
repeal of an existing law or the enactment of a statute in an
entirely new field. 

     In addition, the Member's constituents, either as
individuals or through citizen groups may avail themselves of the
right to petition and transmit their proposals to the Member. 
The right to petition is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the
Constitution.  Many excellent laws have originated in this way,
as some organizations, because of their vital concern with
various areas of legislation, have considerable knowledge
regarding the laws affecting their interests and have the
services of legislative draftspersons for this purpose.  
Similarly, state legislatures may "memorialize" Congress to 
enact specified federal laws by passing resolutions
to be transmitted to the House and Senate as memorials.  If
favorably impressed by the idea, the Member may introduce the
proposal in the form in which it has been submitted or may
redraft it.  In any event, the Member may consult with the
Legislative Counsel of the House or the Senate to frame the ideas
in suitable legislative language and form.

     In modern times, the "executive communication" has become a
prolific source of legislative proposals.  The communication is 
usually in the form of a message or letter from a member of the 
President's Cabinet, the head of an independent agency, or the
President transmitting a draft of a proposed bill to the Speaker
of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate. 
Despite the structure of separation of powers, Article II,
Section 3, of the Constitution imposes an obligation on the
President to report to Congress from time to time on the "State
of the Union" and to recommend for consideration such measures as
the President considers necessary and expedient.  Many of these
executive communications follow on the President's message to
Congress on the state of the Union.  The communication is then
referred to the standing committee or committees having
jurisdiction of the subject matter of the proposal.  The chairman
or the ranking minority member of the relevant committee usually
introduces the bill promptly either in the form in which it was
received or with desired changes.  This practice is usually
followed even when the majority of the House and the President
are not of the same political party, although there is no
constitutional or statutory requirement that a bill be introduced
to effectuate the recommendations.  The committee or one of its
subcommittees may also decide to examine the communication to
determine whether a bill should be introduced.  The most
important of the regular executive communications is the annual
message from the President transmitting the proposed budget to
Congress.  The President's budget proposal, together with
testimony by officials of the various branches of the government
before the Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate, is
the basis of the several appropriation bills that are drafted by
the Committee on Appropriations of the House. 

     Many of the executive departments and independent agencies
employ legislative counsels who are charged with the drafting of
bills.  These legislative proposals are forwarded to Congress
with a request for their enactment.

     The drafting of statutes is an art that requires great
skill, knowledge, and experience.  In some instances, a draft is
the result of a study covering a period of a year or more by a
commission or committee designated by the President or a member
of the cabinet.  The Administrative Procedure Act and the Uniform
Code of Military Justice are two examples of enactments resulting
from such studies.  In addition, congressional committees
sometimes draft bills after studies and hearings covering periods
of a year or more. 

IV. FORMS OF CONGRESSIONAL ACTION

     The work of Congress is initiated by the introduction of a
proposal in one of four forms: the bill, the joint resolution,
the concurrent resolution, and the simple resolution.  The most
customary form used in both Houses is the bill.  During the 105th
Congress (1997-1998), 7,529 bills and 200 joint resolutions were
introduced in both Houses.  Of the total number introduced, 4,874
bills and 140 joint resolutions originated in the House of
Representatives.

     For the purpose of simplicity, this discussion will be
confined generally to the procedure on a House of Representatives
bill, with brief comment on each of the forms. 

BILLS

     A bill is the form used for most legislation, whether
permanent or temporary, general or special, public or private.

The form of a House bill is as follows:

     A BILL

     For the establishment, etc. [as the title may be].

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, etc.

     The enacting clause was prescribed by law in 1871 and is
identical in all bills, whether they originate in the House of
Representatives or in the Senate. 

     Bills may originate in either the House of Representatives
or the Senate with one notable exception provided in the
Constitution.  Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution provides
that all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House
of Representatives but that the Senate may propose or concur with
amendments.  By tradition, general appropriation bills also
originate in the House of Representatives.

     There are two types of bills-public and private.  A public
bill is one that affects the public generally.  A bill that
affects a specified individual or a private entity rather than
the population at large is called a private bill.  A typical
private bill is used for relief in matters such as immigration
and naturalization and claims against the United States. 

     A bill originating in the House of Representatives is
designated by the letters "H.R." followed by a number that it
retains throughout all its parliamentary stages.  The letters
signify "House of Representatives" and not, as is sometimes
incorrectly assumed, "House resolution."  A Senate bill is
designated by the letter "S." followed by its number.  The term
"companion bill" is used to describe a bill introduced in one
House of Congress that is similar or identical to a bill
introduced in the other House of Congress.

     A bill that has been agreed to in identical form by both
bodies becomes the law of the land only after-

(1)  Presidential approval; or  
(2)  failure by the President to return it with objections to the
House in which it originated within 10 days while Congress is in
session; or  
(3)  the overriding of a presidential veto by a two-thirds vote
in each House.

     It does not become law without the President's signature if
Congress by their final adjournment prevent its return with
objections.  This is known as a "pocket veto."  For a discussion
of presidential action on legislation, see Part XVIII.

JOINT RESOLUTIONS

     Joint resolutions may originate either in the House of
Representatives or in the Senate-not, as is sometimes incorrectly
assumed, jointly in both Houses.  There is little practical
difference between a bill and a joint resolution and the two
forms are often used interchangeably.  One difference in form is
that a joint resolution may include a preamble preceding the
resolving clause.  Statutes that have been initiated as bills
have later been amended by a joint resolution and vice versa. 
Both are subject to the same procedure except for a joint
resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution.  When a
joint resolution amending the Constitution is approved by
two-thirds of both Houses, it is not presented to the President
for approval.  Following congressional approval, a joint
resolution to amend the Constitution is sent directly to the
Archivist of the United States for submission to the several
states where ratification by the legislatures of three-fourths of
the states within the period of time prescribed in the joint
resolution is necessary for the amendment to become part of the
Constitution. 

The form of a House joint resolution is as follows:

     JOINT RESOLUTION

     Authorizing, etc. [as the title may be].

     Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That all, etc.

     The resolving clause is identical in both House and Senate
joint resolutions as prescribed by statute in 1871.  It is
frequently preceded by a preamble consisting of one or more
"whereas" clauses indicating the necessity for or the
desirability of the joint resolution. 

     A joint resolution originating in the House of
Representatives is designated "H.J. Res." followed by its
individual number which it retains throughout all its
parliamentary stages.  One originating in the Senate is
designated "S.J. Res." followed by its number. 

     Joint resolutions, with the exception of proposed amendments
to the Constitution, become law in the same manner as bills.

CONCURRENT RESOLUTIONS

A matter affecting the operations of both Houses is usually
initiated by a concurrent resolution.  In modern
practice, and as determined by the Supreme Court in INS v.
Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983), concurrent and simple resolutions
normally are not legislative in character since not "presented"
to the President for approval, but are used merely for expressing
facts, principles, opinions, and purposes of the two Houses. A
concurrent resolution is not equivalent to a bill and its use is
narrowly limited within these bounds.

     The term "concurrent," like "joint," does not signify
simultaneous introduction and consideration in both Houses.

     A concurrent resolution originating in the House of
Representatives is designated "H. Con. Res." followed by its
individual number, while a Senate concurrent resolution is
designated "S. Con. Res." together with its number.  On approval
by both Houses, they are signed by the Clerk of the House and the
Secretary of the Senate and transmitted to the Archivist of the
United States for publication in a special part of the Statutes
at Large volume covering that session of Congress. 

SIMPLE RESOLUTIONS

     A matter concerning the rules, the operation, or the opinion
of either House alone is initiated by a simple resolution.  A
resolution affecting the House of Representatives is designated
"H. Res." followed by its number, while a Senate resolution is
designated "S. Res." together with its number.  Simple
resolutions are considered only by the body in which they were
introduced.  Upon adoption, simple resolutions are attested to by
the Clerk of the House of Representatives or the Secretary of the
Senate and are published in the Congressional Record. 

V. INTRODUCTION AND REFERRAL TO COMMITTEE

     Any Member, the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico, or
the Delegates in the House of Representatives may introduce a
bill at any time while the House is in session by simply placing
it in the "hopper," a wooden box provided for that purpose
located on the side of the rostrum in the House Chamber. 
Permission is not required to introduce the measure.  Printed
blank forms for an original bill are available through the
Clerk's office.  The Member introducing the bill is known as the
sponsor. An unlimited number of Members may co-sponsor a bill. 
To prevent the possibility that a bill might be introduced in the
House on behalf of a Member without that Member's prior approval,
the sponsor's signature must appear on the bill before it is
accepted for introduction.   Members who co-sponsor a bill upon
its date of introduction are original co-sponsors.  Members who
co-sponsor a bill after its introduction are additional
co-sponsors.  Co-sponsors are not required to sign the bill.  A
Member may not be added or deleted as a co-sponsor after the bill
has been reported by the last committee authorized to consider
it, but in no event shall the Speaker entertain a request to
delete the name of the sponsor.  In the Senate, unlimited
multiple sponsorship of a bill is permitted.  Occasionally, a
Member may insert the words "by request" after the Member's name
to indicate that the introduction of the measure is at the
suggestion of some other person or group. 

     In the Senate, a Senator usually introduces a bill or
resolution by presenting it to one of the clerks at the Presiding
Officer's desk, without commenting on it from the floor of the
Senate.  However, a Senator may use a more formal procedure by
rising and introducing the bill or resolution from the floor.  A
Senator usually makes a statement about the measure when
introducing it on the floor.  Frequently, Senators obtain consent
to have the bill or resolution printed in the body of the
Congressional Record following their formal statement.

     If any Senator objects to the introduction of a bill or
resolution, the introduction of the bill or resolution is
postponed until the next day.  If there is no objection, the bill
is read by title and referred to the appropriate committee.

     In the House of Representatives, it is no longer the custom
to read bills-even by title-at the time of introduction.  The
title is entered in the Journal and printed in the Congressional
Record, thus preserving the purpose of the custom.  The bill is
assigned its legislative number by the Clerk.  The bill is then
referred as required by the rules of the House to the appropriate
committee or committees by the Speaker, the Member elected by 
the Members to be the Presiding Officer of the House, with the 
assistance of the Parliamentarian.  The bill number and committee 
referral appear in the next issue of the Congressional Record.  
It is then sent to the Government Printing Office where it is 
printed in its introduced form and printed copies are made available 
in the document rooms of both Houses.  Printed and electronic 
versions of the bill are also made available to the public.  

     Copies of the bill are sent to the office of the chairman of
the committee to which it has been referred.  The clerk of the
committee enters it on the committee's Legislative Calendar.

     Perhaps the most important phase of the legislative process
is the action by committees.  The committees provide the most
intensive consideration to a proposed measure as well as the
forum where the public is given their opportunity to be heard.  A
tremendous volume of work, often overlooked by the public, is
done by the Members in this phase.  There are, at present, 19
standing committees in the House and 16 in the Senate as well as
several select committees.  In addition, there are four standing
joint committees of the two Houses, that have oversight
responsibilities but no legislative jurisdiction.  The House may
also create select committees or task forces to study specific
issues and report on them to the House.  A task force may be
established formally through a resolution passed by the House or
informally through an organization of interested Members and
committees by the House leadership.

     Each committee's jurisdiction is divided into certain
subject matters under the rules of each House and all measures
affecting a particular area of the law are referred to the
committee with jurisdiction over the particular subject matter. 
For example, the Committee on the Judiciary in the House has
jurisdiction over measures relating to judicial proceedings
generally, and 17 other categories, including constitutional
amendments, immigration and naturalization, bankruptcy, patents,
copyrights, and trademarks.  In total, the rules of the House and
of the Senate each provide for over 200 different classifications
of measures to be referred to committees.  Until 1975, the
Speaker of the House could refer a bill to only one committee. 
In modern practice, the Speaker may refer an introduced bill to
multiple committees for consideration of those provisions of the
bill within the jurisdiction of each committee concerned.  The
Speaker must designate a primary committee of jurisdiction on
bills referred to multiple committees.  The Speaker may place
time limits on the consideration of bills by all committees, but
usually time limits are placed only on additional committees. 
Additional committees are committees other than the primary
committee to which a bill has been referred, either initially on
its introduction or sequentially following the report of the
primary committee.  A time limit would be placed on an additional
committee only when the primary committee has reported its
version to the House.

     Membership on the various committees is divided between the
two major political parties.  The proportion of the Members of
the minority party to the Members of the majority party is
determined by the majority party, except that half of the members
on the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct are from the
majority party and half from the minority party.  The respective
party caucuses nominate Members of the caucus to be elected to
each standing committee at the beginning of each Congress. 
Membership on a standing committee during the course of a
Congress is contingent on continuing membership in the party
caucus that nominated the Member for election to the committee. 
If the Member ceases to be a Member of the party caucus, the
Member automatically ceases to be a member of the standing
committee. 

     Members of the House may serve on only two committees and
four subcommittees with certain exceptions.  However, the rules
of the caucus of the majority party in the House provide that a
Member may be chairman of only one subcommittee of a committee or
select committee with legislative jurisdiction, except for
certain committees performing housekeeping functions and joint
committees.

     A Member usually seeks election to the committee that has
jurisdiction over a field in which the Member is most qualified
and interested.  For example, the Committee on the Judiciary
traditionally is composed almost entirely of lawyers.  Many
Members are nationally recognized experts in the specialty of
their particular committee or subcommittee. 

     Members rank in seniority in accordance with the order of
their appointment to the full committee and the ranking majority
member with the most continuous service is usually elected
chairman.  The rules of the House require that committee chairmen
be elected from nominations submitted by the majority party
caucus at the commencement of each Congress.  No Member of the
House may serve as chairman of the same standing committee or of
the same subcommittee thereof for more than three consecutive
Congresses.

     The rules of the House prohibit a committee that maintains a
subcommittee on oversight from having more than six subcommittees
with the exception of the Committee on Appropriations and the
Committee on Government Reform.

     Each committee is provided with a professional staff to
assist it in the innumerable administrative details involved in 
the consideration of bills and its oversight responsibilities. 
For standing committees, the professional staff is limited to 30
persons appointed by a vote of the committee. Two-thirds of the
committee staff are selected by a majority vote of the majority
committee members and one-third of the committee staff are
selected by a majority vote of minority committee members.  All
staff appointments are made without regard to race, creed, sex,
or age.  The minority staff provisions do not apply to the
Committee on Standards of Official Conduct because of its
bipartisan nature.  The Committee on Appropriations has special
authority under the rules of the House for appointment of staff
for the minority.  
     
VI. CONSIDERATION BY COMMITTEE

     One of the first actions taken by a committee is to seek the 
input of the relevant departments and agencies.  Frequently, 
the bill is also submitted to the General Accounting Office 
with a request for an official report of views on the necessity 
or desirability of enacting the bill into law. Normally, ample 
time is given for the submission of the reports and they are accorded 
serious consideration.  However, these reports are not binding on 
the committee in determining whether or not to act
favorably on the bill.  Reports of the departments and agencies
in the executive branch are submitted first to the Office of
Management and Budget to determine whether they are consistent
with the program of the President.  Many committees adopt rules
requiring referral of measures to the appropriate subcommittee
unless the full committee votes to retain the measure at the full
committee.

COMMITTEE MEETINGS

     Standing committees are required to have regular meeting
days at least once a month.  The chairman of the committee may
also call and convene additional meetings.  Three or more members
of a standing committee may file with the committee a written
request that the chairman call a special meeting.  The request
must specify the measure or matter to be considered.  If the
chairman fails to call the requested special meeting within three
calendar days after the filing of the request, to be held within
seven calendar days after the filing of the request, a majority
of the members of the committee may call the special meeting by
filing with the committee written notice specifying the date, 
hour, and the measure or matter to be considered. 
In the Senate, the Chair may still control the agenda of the
special meeting through the power of recognition.  
Committee meetings may be held for various purposes including the
"markup" of legislation, authorizing subpoenas, or internal
budget and personnel matters.

A subpoena may be authorized and issues at a meeting by a vote
of a committee or subcommittee with a majority of members 
present.  The power to authorize and issue subpoenas also 
may be delegated to the chairman of the committee.  A 
subpoena may require both testimonial and documentary evidence 
to be furnished to the committee.  A subpoena is signed by the 
chairman of the committee or by a member designated by the 
committee.

All meetings for the transaction of business of standing
committees or subcommittees, except the Committee on Standards of
Official Conduct, must be open to the public, except when the
committee or subcommittee, in open session with a majority
present, determines by record vote that all or part of the
remainder of the meeting on that day shall be closed to the
public. Members of the committee may authorize congressional 
staff and departmental representatives to be present at any meeting 
that has been closed to the public.  Open committee meetings may be
covered by the media.  Permission to cover hearings and meetings
is granted under detailed conditions as provided in the rules of
the House.

The rules of the House provide that House committees may not meet
during a joint session of the House and Senate or during a recess
when a joint meeting of the House and Senate is in progress. 
Committees may meet at other times during an adjournment or
recess up to the expiration of the constitutional term.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

     If the bill is of sufficient importance, the committee may
set a date for public hearings.  Each committee, except for the
Committee on Rules, is required to make public announcement of
the date, place, and subject matter of any hearing to be
conducted by the committee on any measure or matter at least one
week before the commencement of that hearing, unless the
committee chairman with the concurrence of the ranking minority
member or the committee by majority vote determines that there is
good cause to begin the hearing at an earlier date.  If that 
determination is made, the chairman must make a public
announcement to that effect at the earliest possible date. 
Public announcements are published in the Daily Digest portion of
the Congressional Record as soon as possible after the
announcement is made and are often noted by the media.  Personal 
notice of the hearing, usually in the form of a letter, is sometimes 
sent to relevant individuals, organizations, and government 
departments and agencies.

     Each hearing by a committee and subcommittee, except the
Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, is required to be
open to the public except when the committee or subcommittee, in
open session and with a majority present, determines by record
vote that all or part of the remainder of the hearing on that day
shall be closed to the public because disclosure of testimony,
evidence, or other matters to be considered would endanger the
national security, would compromise sensitive law enforcement
information, or would violate a law or a rule of the House.  The
committee or subcommittee by the same procedure may vote to close
one subsequent day of hearing, except that the Committees on
Appropriations, Armed Services, and the Permanent Select
Committee on Intelligence, and subcommittees thereof, may vote to
close up to five additional consecutive days of hearings.  When a
quorum for taking testimony is present, a majority of the members
present may close a hearing to discuss whether the evidence or
testimony to be received would endanger national security or
would tend to defame, degrade, or incriminate any person.  A 
committee or subcommittee may vote to release or make public 
matters originally received in a closed hearing or meeting. Open
committee hearings may be covered by the media.  Permission to
cover hearings and meetings is granted under detailed conditions
as provided in the rules of the House.

     Hearings on the Budget are required to be held by the
Committee on Appropriations in open session within 30 days after
its transmittal to Congress, except when the committee, in open
session and with a quorum present, determines by record vote that
the testimony to be taken at that hearing on that day may be
related to a matter of national security.  The committee may by
the same procedure close one subsequent day of hearing.

     On the day set for the public hearing in a committee or
subcommittee, an official reporter is present to record the
testimony.  After a brief introductory statement by the chairman 
and often by the ranking minority member or other committee member, 
the first witness is called.  Members or Senators who wish to be 
heard sometimes testify first out of courtesy and due to the 
limitations on their time.  Cabinet officers and high-ranking 
civil and military officials of the government, as well as 
interested private individuals, testify either voluntarily or by 
subpoena.

     So far as practicable, committees require that witnesses who
appear before it file a written statement of their proposed
testimony in advance of their appearance and limit their oral
presentations to a brief summary of their arguments.  In the case
of a witness appearing in a nongovernmental capacity, a written
statement of proposed testimony shall include a curriculum vitae
and a disclosure of certain federal grants and contracts. 

     Minority party members of the committee are entitled to call
witnesses of their own to testify on a measure during at least
one day of the hearing. 

     Each member is provided only five minutes in the interrogation 
of each witness until each member of the committee who desires to
question a witness has had an opportunity to do so.  In addition,
a committee may adopt a rule or motion to permit committee members 
to question a witness for a specified period not longer than one 
hour.  Committee staff may also be permitted to question a witness 
for a specified period not longer than one hour.

     A transcript of the testimony taken at a public hearing is
made available for inspection in the office of the clerk of the
committee.  Frequently, the complete transcript is printed and
distributed widely by the committee.

MARKUP

     After hearings are completed, the subcommittee usually will
consider the bill in a session that is popularly known as the
"markup" session.  The views of both sides are studied in detail
and at the conclusion of deliberation a vote is taken to
determine the action of the subcommittee.  It may decide to
report the bill favorably to the full committee, with or without
amendment, or unfavorably, or without recommendation.  The
subcommittee may also suggest that the committee "table" it or
postpone action indefinitely.  Each member of the subcommittee,
regardless of party affiliation, has one vote.  Proxy voting is
no longer permitted in House committees.

     
FINAL COMMITTEE ACTION

     At full committee meetings, reports on bills may be 
made by subcommittees.  Bills are read for amendment in 
committees by section and members may offer germane
amendments.  Committee amendments are only proposals to change
the bill as introduced and are subject to acceptance or rejection
by the House itself.  A vote of committee members is taken to
determine whether the full committee will report favorably or
table the bill.  If the committee votes to report the bill
favorably to the House, it may report the bill without
amendments or introduce and report a "clean bill."  If the committee 
has approved extensive amendments, the committee may decide to report
the original bill with one "amendment in the nature of a
substitute" consisting of all the amendments previously adopted,
or may report a new bill incorporating those amendments, commonly
known as a clean bill.  The new bill is introduced (usually by
the chairman of the committee), and, after referral back to the
committee, is reported favorably to the House by the committee. 
A committee may table a bill or not take action on it, thereby
preventing further action on a bill.  This makes adverse reports 
to the House by a committee unusual.  On rare occasions, a
committee may report a bill without recommendation or
adversely.  The House also has the ability to discharge a 
bill from committee.  For a discussion of the motion to 
discharge, see Part X. 

     Generally, a majority of the committee or subcommittee
constitutes a quorum.  A quorum is the number of members who must
be present in order for the committee to report.  This ensures
participation by both sides in the action taken.  However, a
committee may vary the number of members necessary for a quorum
for certain actions.  For example, a committee may fix the number
of its members, but not less than two, necessary for a quorum for
taking testimony and receiving evidence.  Except for the
Committees on Appropriations, the Budget, and Ways and
Means, a committee may fix the number of its members, but not
less than one-third, necessary for a quorum for taking certain
other actions.  The absence of a quorum is subject to a point of
order, an objection that the proceedings are in violation of a
rule of the committee or of the House, because the required
number of members are not present.
      
POINTS OF ORDER WITH RESPECT TO COMMITTEE HEARING PROCEDURE

     A point of order in the House does not lie with respect to a
measure reported by a committee on the ground that hearings on
the measure were not conducted in accordance with required
committee procedure.  However, certain points of order may be
made by a member of the committee that reported the measure if,
in the committee hearing on that measure, that point of order was
(1) timely made and (2) improperly improperly disposed of.

VII. REPORTED BILLS

     If the committee votes to report the bill to the House, the 
committee staff writes the committee report.  The report describes 
the purpose and scope of the bill and the reasons for its recommended 
approval.  Generally, a section-by-section analysis is set forth
explaining precisely what each section is intended to accomplish. 
All changes in existing law must be indicated in the report and
the text of laws being repealed must be set out.  This
requirement is known as the "Ramseyer rule."  A similar rule in
the Senate is known as the "Cordon rule."  Committee amendments
also must be set out at the beginning of the report and
explanations of them are included.  Executive communications
regarding the bill may be referenced in the report. 

     If at the time of approval of a bill by a committee, except
the Committee on Rules, a member of the committee gives notice of
an intention to file supplemental, minority, or additional views,
that member is entitled to not less than two additional calendar
days after the day of such notice (excluding Saturdays, Sundays,
and legal holidays unless the House is in session on those days)
in which to file those views with the clerk of the committee. 
Those views that are timely filed must be included in the report
on the bill.  Committee reports must be filed while the House is 
in session unless unanimous consent is obtained from the House to 
file at a later time or the committee is awaiting additional views.

     The report is assigned a report number upon its filing and
is sent to the Government Printing Office for printing.  House
reports are given a prefix-designator that indicates the number
of the Congress.  For example, the first House report in the
106th Congress was numbered 106-1. 

     In the printed report, committee amendments are indicated by
showing new matter in italics and deleted matter in line-through
type.  The report number is printed on the bill and the calendar
number is shown on both the first and back pages of the bill. 
However, in the case of a bill that was referred to two or more
committees for consideration in sequence, the calendar number is
printed only on the bill as reported by the last committee to
consider it.  For a discussion of House calendars, see Part IX.

     Committee reports are perhaps the most valuable single
element of the legislative history of a law.  They are used by
courts, executive departments, and the public as a source of 
information regarding the purpose and meaning of the law. 

CONTENTS OF REPORTS

     The report of a committee on a measure that has been
approved by the committee must include (1) the committee's
oversight findings and recommendations, (2) a statement required
by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, if the measure 
is a bill or joint resolution providing new budget authority 
(other than continuing appropriations) or an increase or 
decrease in revenues or tax expenditures, (3) a cost
estimate and comparison prepared by the Director of the
Congressional Budget Office whenever the Director has submitted
that estimate and comparison to the committee prior to the filing
of the report, and (4) a summary of the oversight findings and
recommendations made by the Committee on Government Reform
whenever they have been submitted to the reporting committee in
a timely fashion to allow an opportunity to consider the findings
and recommendations during the committee's deliberations on the
measure.  Each report accompanying a bill or joint resolution
relating to employment or access to public services or
accommodations must describe the manner in which the provisions
apply to the legislative branch.  Each of these items are set out
separately and clearly identified in the report.  

With respect to each record vote by a committee, the total number
of votes cast for, and the total number of votes cast against any
public measure or matter or amendment thereto and the names of
those voting for and against, must be included in the committee
report. 

     In addition, each report of a committee on a public bill or
public joint resolution must contain a statement citing the
specific powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact
the law proposed by the bill or joint resolution.  Committee
reports that accompany bills or resolutions that contain federal
unfunded mandates are also required to include an estimate
prepared by the Congressional Budget Office on the cost of the
mandates on state, local, and tribal governments.  If an estimate
is not available at the time a report is filed, committees are
required to publish the estimate in the Congressional Record. 
Each report also must contain an estimate, made by the committee,
of the costs which would be incurred in carrying out that bill or
joint resolution in the fiscal year reported and in each of the
five fiscal years thereafter or for the duration of the program
authorized if less than five years.  The report must include a 
comparison of the estimates of those costs with the estimate made 
by any Government agency and submitted to that committee.  
The Committees on Appropriations, on House Administration, Rules, 
and Standards of Official Conduct are not required to include cost 
estimates in their reports.  In addition, the committee's own cost 
estimates are not required to be included in reports when a cost 
estimate and comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office has been submitted prior to the filing of the report a
nd included in the report.  

FILING OF REPORTS

     Measures approved by a committee must be reported promptly
after approval.  A majority of the members of the committee may
file a written request with the clerk of the committee for the
reporting of the measure.  When the request is filed, the clerk
must immediately notify the chairman of the committee of the
filing of the request, and the report on the measure must be
filed within seven days (excluding days on which the House is not
in session) after the day on which the request is filed.  This
does not apply to a report of the Committee on Rules with respect
to the rule, joint rule, or order of business of the House or
to the reporting of a resolution of inquiry addressed to the head
of an executive department.

AVAILABILITY OF REPORTS AND HEARINGS

     A measure or matter reported by a committee (except the
Committee on Rules in the case of a resolution providing a rule,
joint rule, or other order of business) may not be considered in
the House until the third calendar day (excluding Saturdays,
Sundays, and legal holidays unless the House is in session on
those days) on which the report of that committee on that measure
has been available to the Members of the House. This rule is
subject to certain exceptions including resolutions providing for
certain privileged matters, measures declaring war or other
national emergency, and government agency decisions,
determinations, and actions that are effective unless disapproved
or otherwise invalidated by one or both Houses of Congress. 
However, it is always in order to consider a report from the
Committee on Rules specifically providing for the consideration
of a reported measure or matter notwithstanding this restriction. 
If hearings were held on a measure or matter so reported, the
committee is required to make every reasonable effort to have
those hearings printed and available for distribution to the
Members of the House prior to the consideration of the measure in
the House.  Committees are also required, to the maximum extent
feasible, to make their publications available in electronic
form.  General appropriation bills may not be considered until
printed committee hearings and a committee report thereon have
been available to the Members of the House for at least three
calendar days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays
unless the House is in session on those days). 

VIII. LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT BY STANDING COMMITTEES

     Each standing committee, other than the Committees on
Appropriations and on the Budget, is required to review and
study, on a continuing basis, the application, administration,
execution, and effectiveness of the laws dealing with the subject
matter over which the committee has jurisdiction and the
organization and operation of federal agencies and entities
having responsibility for the administration and evaluation of
those laws. 

     The purpose of the review and study is to determine whether
laws and the programs created by Congress are being implemented
and carried out in accordance with the intent of Congress and
whether those programs should be continued, curtailed, or
eliminated.  In addition, each committee having oversight
responsibility is required to review and study any conditions or
circumstances that may indicate the necessity or desirability of
enacting new or additional legislation within the jurisdiction of
that committee, and must undertake, on a continuing basis, future
research and forecasting on matters within the jurisdiction of
that committee.  Each standing committee also has the function of
reviewing and studying, on a continuing basis, the impact or
probable impact of tax policies on subjects within its
jurisdiction.

     The rules of the House provide for special treatment of an
investigative or oversight report of a committee.  Committees are
allowed to file joint investigative and activities reports and 
to file investigative and activities reports after the House has
completed its final session of a Congress.  In addition, several
of the standing committees have special oversight
responsibilities.  The details of those responsibilities are set
forth in the rules of the House.

IX. CALENDARS

     The House of Representatives has five calendars of business:
the Union Calendar, the House Calendar, the Private Calendar, the
Corrections Calendar, and the Calendar of Motions to Discharge
Committees.  The calendars are compiled in one publication
printed each day the House is in session.  This publication also
contains a history of Senate-passed bills, House bills reported
out of committee,  bills on which the House has acted, as well as
other useful information.

     When a public bill is favorably reported by all committees
to which referred, it is assigned a calendar number on either the
Union Calendar or the House Calendar, the two principal calendars
of business.  The calendar number is printed on the first page of
the bill and, in certain instances, is printed also on the back
page.  In the case of a bill that was referred to multiple
committees for consideration in sequence, the calendar number is
printed only on the bill as reported by the last committee to
consider it.  

UNION CALENDAR

     The rules of the House provide that there shall be:

     A Calendar of the Committee of the Whole House on the
state of the Union, to which shall be referred public bills and 
public resolutions raising revenue, involving a tax or charge on 
the people, directly or indirectly making appropriations of money 
or property or requiring such appropriations to be made, authorizing 
payments out of appropriations already made, releasing any liability
to the United States for money or property, or referring a claim 
to the Court of Claims.

The large majority of public bills and resolutions reported to
the House are placed on the Union Calendar.  For a discussion of
the Committee of the Whole House, see Part XI.

HOUSE CALENDAR

     The rules further provide that there shall be:

     A House Calendar, to which shall be referred all
public bills and public resolutions not requiring 
referral to the Calendar of the Committee of the Whole House 
on the state of the Union.  

PRIVATE CALENDAR

     The rules also provide that there shall be:

     A Private Calendar...to which shall be referred all 
private bills and private resolutions.

     All private bills reported to the House are placed on the
Private Calendar.  The Private Calendar is called on the first
and third Tuesdays of each month. If two or more Members object 
to the consideration of any measure called, it is
recommitted to the committee that reported it.  There are six
official objectors, three on the majority side and three on the
minority side, who make a careful study of each bill or
resolution on the Private Calendar.  The official objectors' role
is to object to a measure that does not conform to the
requirements for that calendar and prevent the passage without
debate of nonmeritorious bills and resolutions.  Private bills
that have been reported from committee are only considered under
the calendar procedure.  Alternative procedures reserved for
public bills are not applicable for reported private bills.

CORRECTIONS CALENDAR

     If a measure pending on either the House or Union Calendar
is of a noncontroversial nature, it may be placed on the
Corrections Calendar.  The Corrections Calendar was created to
address specific problems with federal rules, regulations, or
court decisions that bipartisan and narrowly targeted bills could
expeditiously correct.  After a bill has been favorably reported
and is on either the House or Union Calendar, the Speaker may,
after consultation with the Minority Leader, file with the Clerk
a notice requesting that such bill also be placed upon a special
calendar known as the Corrections Calendar.  On the second and
fourth Tuesdays of each month, the Speaker directs the Clerk to
call any bill that has been on the Corrections Calendar for three
legislative days.  A three-fifths vote of the Members voting is
required to pass any bill called from the Corrections Calendar. 
A failure to adopt a bill from the Corrections Calendar does not
necessarily mean the final defeat of the bill because it may then
be brought up for consideration in the same way as any other bill
on the House or Union Calendar. 

CALENDAR OF MOTIONS TO DISCHARGE COMMITTEES

     When a majority of the Members of the House sign a motion to
discharge a committee from consideration of a public bill or
resolution, that motion is referred to the Calendar of Motions to
Discharge Committees.  For a discussion of motions to discharge,
see Part X.

X. OBTAINING CONSIDERATION OF MEASURES

     Certain measures, either pending on the House and Union 
Calendars or unreported and pending in committee, are more 
important and urgent than others and a system permitting
their consideration ahead of those that do not require immediate
action is necessary.  If the calendar numbers alone were the
determining factor, the bill reported most recently would be the
last to be taken up as all measures are placed on the House and
Union Calendars in the order reported.

UNANIMOUS CONSENT

     The House occasionally employs the practice of allowing
reported or unreported measures to be considered by the unanimous 
agreement of all Members in the House Chamber.  The power to 
recognize Members for a unanimous consent request is ultimately in 
the discretion of the Chair but recent Speakers have issued strict 
guidelines on when such a request is to be entertained.  Most 
unanimous consent requests for consideration of measures may only 
be entertained by the Chair when assured that the majority and 
minority floor and committee leaderships have no objection. 

SPECIAL RESOLUTION OR "RULE"

     To avoid delays and to allow selectivity in the
consideration of public measures, it is possible to have them
taken up out of their order on their respective calendar or to 
have them discharged from the committee or committees to which 
referred by obtaining from the Committee on Rules a special 
resolution or "rule" for their consideration.  The Committee on 
Rules, which is composed of majority and minority members but with 
a larger proportion of majority members than other committees, is
specifically granted jurisdiction over resolutions relating to
the order of business of the House.  Typically, the chairman of
the committee that has favorably reported the bill requests the
Committee on Rules to originate a resolution that will provide
for its immediate or subsequent consideration.  Under unusual
circumstances, the Committee on Rules may originate a resolution
providing for the "discharge" and consideration of a measure that 
has not been reported by the legislative committee of committees 
of jurisdiction.  If the Committee on Rules has determined that 
the measure should be taken up, it may report a resolution reading 
substantially as follows with respect to a bill on the Union Calendar 
or an unreported bill:

     Resolved, That upon the adoption of this resolution the
Speaker declares pursuant to rule XVIII that the House resolve
itself into the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the
Union for the consideration of the bill (H.R.__) entitled, etc.,
and the first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. After
general debate, which shall be confined to the bill and shall
continue not to exceed __ hours, to be equally divided and
controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the
Committee on __, the bill shall be read for amendment under the
five-minute rule. At the conclusion of the consideration of the
bill for amendment, the Committee shall rise and report the bill
to the House with such amendments as may have been adopted, and
the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill
and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening
motion except one motion to recommit with or without
instructions. 

     If the measure is on the House Calendar or the
recommendation is to avoid consideration in the Committee of the
Whole, the resolution reads substantially as follows: 

     Resolved, That upon the adoption of this resolution it shall
be in order to consider the bill (H.R. __) entitled, etc., in the
House.

     The resolution may waive points of order against the bill. 
A point of order is an objection that a pending matter or
proceeding is in violation of a rule of the House.  The bill may
be susceptible to various points of order that may be made
against its consideration, including an assertion that the bill
carries a retroactive federal income tax increase, contains a
federal unfunded mandate, or has not been reported from committee
properly.  When a rule limits or prevents floor
amendments, it is popularly known as a "closed rule" or "modified
closed rule."  However, a special resolution may not deny the
minority party the right to offer a motion to recommit the bill
with amendatory or general instructions.  For a discussion of the
motion to recommit, see Part XI. 

CONSIDERATION OF MEASURES MADE IN ORDER BY RULE REPORTED FROM THE
COMMITTEE ON RULES

     When a rule has been reported to the House and is not
considered immediately, it is referred to the calendar and, if
not called up for consideration by the who filed the report
within seven legislative days thereafter, any member of the
Committee on Rules may call it up as a privileged matter, after
having given one calendar day notice of the Member's intention to
do so.  The Speaker will recognize any member of the committee
seeking recognition for that purpose.

     If the House has adopted a resolution making in order a 
motion to consider a bill, and such a motion has not been offered
within seven calendar days thereafter, such a motion shall be 
privileged if offered by direction of all reporting committees 
having initial jurisdiction of the bill.

     There are several other methods of obtaining consideration
of bills that either have not been reported by a committee or, if
reported, for which a rule has not been granted.  Two of those
methods, a motion to discharge a committee and a motion to
suspend the rules, are discussed below.

MOTION TO DISCHARGE COMMITTEE

     A Member may present to the Clerk a motion in writing to
discharge a committee from the consideration of a public bill or
resolution that has been referred to it 30 days prior thereto.  A
Member also may file a motion to discharge the Committee on Rules
from further consideration of a resolution providing a special
rule for the consideration of a public bill or resolution
reported by a standing committee, or a special rule for the
consideration of a public bill or resolution that has been 
referred to a standing committee for 30 legislative days. 
This motion to discharge the Committee on Rules may be made only
when the resolution has been referred to that committee at least
seven legislative days prior to the filing of the motion to
discharge.  The motion may not permit consideration of nongermane
amendments.  The motion is placed in the custody of the Journal
Clerk, where Members may sign it at the House rostrum only when
the House is in session.  The names of Members who have signed a
discharge motion are available electronically or published in 
the Congressional Record on a weekly basis.  When a majority 
of the total membership of the House (218 Members) have signed 
the motion, it is entered in the Journal, printed with all the 
signatures thereto in the Congressional Record, and referred to 
the Calendar of Motions to Discharge Committees. 

     On the second and fourth Mondays of each month, except
during the last six days of a session, a Member who has signed a
motion to discharge that has been on the calendar at least seven
legislative days may seek recognition and be recognized for the
purpose of calling up the motion.  The motion to discharge is
debated for 20 minutes, one-half in favor of the proposition and
one-half in opposition.

     If the motion to discharge the Committee on Rules from a
resolution prevails, the House shall immediately consider such 
resolution.  If the resolution is adopted, the House proceeds to 
its execution.  This is the modern practice for utilization of 
the discharge rule.

     If the motion to discharge a standing committee of
the House from a public bill or resolution pending before the

committee prevails, a Member who signed the motion may move that
the House proceed to the immediate consideration of the bill or
resolution.  If the motion is agreed to, the bill or resolution
is considered immediately under the general rules of the House. 
If the House votes against the motion for immediate
consideration, the bill or resolution is referred to its proper
calendar with the same status as if reported favorably by a 
standing committee.

MOTION TO SUSPEND THE RULES

     On Monday and Tuesday of each week and during the last six
days of a session, the Speaker may entertain a motion to suspend
the rules of the House and pass a public bill or resolution. 
Members need to arrange in advance with the Speaker to
be recognized to offer such a motion.  The Speaker usually 
recognizes only a major member of the committee that has reported
or has primary jurisdiction over the bill. The motion to suspend the
rules and pass the bill is debatable for 40 minutes, one-half of
the time in favor of the proposition and one-half in opposition. 
The motion may not be separately amended but may be amended in
the form of a manager's amendment included in the motion when it
is offered.  Because the rules may be suspended and the bill
passed only by affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members
voting, a quorum being present, this procedure is usually used
only for expedited consideration of relatively noncontroversial
public measures. 

     The Speaker may postpone all recorded and yea-nay votes on
certain questions before the House, including a motion to suspend
the rules and the passage of bills and resolutions, until a
specified time on that legislative day or the next two
legislative days.  At that time, the House disposes of the
postponed votes consecutively without further debate.  After an 
initial fifteen-minute vote is taken, the Speaker may
reduce to not less than five minutes the time period for
subsequent votes.  If the House adjourns before completing action
on postponed votes, the postponed votes must be the first order
of business on the next legislative day.  Eliminating
intermittent recorded votes on suspensions reduces interruptions
of committee activity and allows more efficient scheduling of
voting.

CALENDAR WEDNESDAY

     On Wednesday of each week, unless dispensed with by
unanimous consent or by affirmative vote of two-thirds of the
Members voting, a quorum being present, the standing committees
are called in alphabetical order.  A committee when named may
call up for consideration any bill reported by it on a previous
day and pending on either the House or Union Calendar.  The
report on the bill must have been available for three days 
and must not be priviliged under the rules of the House.
General debate is limited to two hours on any Calendar Wednesday
measure and must be confined to the subject matter of the
measure, the time being equally divided between those for and
those against it.  An affirmative vote of a simple majority of
the Members present is sufficient to pass the measure.  The
purpose of this rarely utilized procedure is to provide an 
alternative method of consideration when the Committee on Rules 
has not reported a rule for a specific bill.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BUSINESS

     On the second and fourth Mondays of each month, after the
disposition of motions to discharge committees and after the
disposal of business on the Speaker's table requiring only
referral to committee, the Committee on Government Reform may
call up for consideration any District of Columbia business 
reported from that committee.

QUESTIONS OF PRIVILEGE

House rules provide special privilege to questions of privilege. 
Questions of privilege are classified as those questions 1)
affecting the rights of the House collectively, its safety,
dignity, and the integrity of its proceedings, and 2) affecting
the rights, reputations, and conduct of Members, individually, in
their representative capacity.  A question of privilege has been
held to take precedence over all questions except the motion to
adjourn.  Questions of the privileges of the House, those
concerning the rights of the House collectively, take the form of
a resolution which may be called up by any Member after proper
notice.  A question of personal privilege, affecting the rights,
reputation, and conduct of individual Members, may be raised from
the floor without formal notice.  Debate on a question of
privilege proceeds under the hour rule, with debate on a question
of the privileges of the House divided between the proponent and
the leader of the opposing party or a designee.

PRIVILEGED MATTERS

     Under the rules of the House, certain matters are regarded
as privileged matters and may interrupt the order of business. 
Conference reports, veto messages from the President, and certain
amendments to measures by the Senate after the stage of
disagreement between the two Houses are examples of privileged
matters.  Certain reports from House committees are also
privileged, including reports from the Committee on Rules,
reports from the Committee on Appropriations on the general
appropriation bills, printing and committee funding resolutions
reported from the Committee on House Administration, and reports
on Member's conduct from the Committee on Standards of Official
Conduct.  Bills, joint resolutions, and motions may also take on
privileged status as a result of special procedures written into
statute.  The Member in charge of such a matter may call it up at
practically any time for immediate consideration when no other 
business is pending.  Usually, this is done after consultation 
with both the majority and minority floor leaders so that the 
Members of both parties will have advance notice.

     At any time after the reading of the Journal, a Member, by
direction of the Committee on Appropriations, may move that the
House resolve itself into the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union for the purpose of considering general
appropriation bills.  A general appropriation bill may not be
considered in the House until three calendar days (excluding
Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays unless the House is in
session on those days) after printed committee reports and
hearings on the bill have been available to the Members.  The limit
on general debate on such a bill is generally fixed by a rule
reported from the Committee on Rules. 

XI. CONSIDERATION AND DEBATE

     Our democratic tradition demands that bills be given
consideration by the entire membership usually with adequate
opportunity for debate and the proposing of amendments. 

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE

     In order to expedite the consideration of bills and
resolutions, the rules of the House provide for a parliamentary
mechanism, known as the Committee of the Whole House on the 
state of the Union, that enables the House to act with a 
quorum of less than the requisite majority of 218.  A quorum 
in the Committee of the Whole is 100 members.  All
measures on the Union Calendar-those involving a tax, making
appropriations, authorizing payments out of appropriations
already made, or disposing of property-must be first considered
in the Committee of the Whole. 

     The Committee on Rules reports a rule allowing for immediate
consideration of a measure by the Committee of the Whole.  After
adoption of the rule by the House, the Speaker may declare the
House resolved into the Committee of the Whole.  When the House
resolves into the Committee of the Whole, the Speaker leaves the
chair after appointing a Chairman to preside.

     The rule referred to in the preceding paragraph also fixes
the length of the debate in the Committee of the Whole.  This may
vary according to the importance of the measure.  As provided in 
the rule, the control of the time is usually divided equally between 
the chairman and the ranking minority member of the relevant 
committee.  Members seeking to speak for or against the measure 
may arrange in advance with the Member in control of the time on 
their respective side to be allowed a certain amount of time in 
the debate.  Members may also ask the Member speaking at the time to
yield to them for a question or a brief statement.  A transcript
of the proceedings in the House and the Senate is printed daily
in the Congressional Record.  Frequently, permission is granted a
Member by unanimous consent to revise and extend his remarks in
the Congressional Record if sufficient time to make a lengthy
oral statement is not available during actual debate.  These
revisions and extensions are printed in a distinctive type and
cannot substantively alter the verbatim transcript.

     The conduct of the debate is governed principally by the
rules of the House that are adopted at the opening of each
Congress.  Jefferson's Manual, prepared by Thomas Jefferson for
his own guidance as President of the Senate from 1797 to 1801, is
another recognized authority.  The House has a long-standing rule
that the provisions of Jefferson's Manual should govern 
the House in all applicable cases and where they are not
inconsistent with the rules of the House.  The House also relies
on an 11-volume compilation of parliamentary precedents, entitled
Hinds' Precedents and Cannon's Precedents of the House of
Representatives, dating from 1789 to 1935, to guide its action.  
A later compilation, Deschler-Brown Precedents of the 
House of Representatives, spans 15 volumes and
covers 1936 to date.  In addition, a summary of the House
precedents prior to 1959 can be found in a single volume entitled
Cannon's Procedure in the House of Representatives.  Procedure in
the U.S. House of Representatives, fourth edition, as
supplemented, and House Practice, published in 1996, are recent
compilations of the precedents of the House, in summary form,
together with other useful related material.  Also, various
rulings of the Chair are set out as notes in the current House
Rules and Manual.  Most parliamentary questions arising during
the course of debate are responded to by a ruling based on a
precedent of action in a similar situation.  The Parliamentarian
of the House is present in the House Chamber in order to assist
the Speaker or the Chairman in making a correct ruling on
parliamentary questions.

SECOND READING

     During general debate on a bill, an accurate account of the 
time used on both sides is kept and the Chairman terminates the
debate when all the time allowed under the rule has been
consumed.  After general debate, the second reading of the bill
begins.  The second reading is a section-by-section reading
during which time germane amendments may be offered to a section
when it is read.  Under some special "modified closed" rules
adopted by the House, certain bills are considered as read and
open only to prescribed amendments under limited time
allocations.  Under the normal "open" amendment process, a Member
is permitted five minutes to explain the proposed amendment,
after which the Member who is first recognized by the Chair is
allowed to speak for five minutes in opposition to it.  There is
no further debate on that amendment, thereby effectively
preventing filibuster-like tactics.  This is known as the
"five-minute rule."  However, Members may offer an amendment to 
the amendment, for separate five-minute debate, or may offer a 
pro forma amendment-"to strike out the last word"-which does not 
change the language of the amendment but allows the Member five 
minutes for debate.  Each substantive amendment and amendment 
thereto is put to the Committee of the Whole for adoption unless 
the House has adopted a special rule "self-executing" the 
adoption of certain amendments in the Committee of the Whole. 

     At any time after debate has begun on proposed amendments to
a section or paragraph of a bill under the five-minute rule, the
Committee of the Whole may by majority vote of the Members
present close debate on the section or paragraph.  However, if
debate is closed on a section or paragraph before there has been
debate on an amendment that a Member has caused to be printed in
the Congressional Record at least one day prior to floor 
consideration of the amendment, the Member who caused the amendment 
to be printed in the Record is given five minutes in which to explain 
the amendment.  Five minutes is also given to speak in opposition to
the amendment and no further debate on the amendment is allowed. 
Amendments placed in the Congressional Record must indicate the 
full text of the proposed amendment, the name of the Member 
proposing it, the number of the bill or amendment to which it will 
be offered, and the point in the bill or amendment thereto where
the amendment is intended to be offered.  These amendments appear
in the portion of the Record designated for that purpose.

AMENDMENTS AND THE GERMANENESS RULE

     The rules of the House prohibit amendments of a subject
matter different from the text under consideration.  This rule,
commonly known as the germaneness rule, is considered the single
most important rule of the House of Representatives because of
the obvious need to keep the focus of a body the size of the
House on a predictable subject matter.  The germaneness rule
applies to the proceedings in the House, the Committee of the
Whole, and the standing committees.  There are hundreds of prior
rulings or "precedents" on issues of germaneness available to
guide the Chair. 

THE COMMITTEE "RISES"

     At the conclusion of the consideration of a bill for
amendment, the Committee of the Whole "rises" and reports the
bill to the House with the amendments that have been adopted.  In
rising, the Committee of the Whole reverts back to the House and
the Chairman of the Committee is replaced in the chair by the
Speaker of the House.  The House then acts on the bill and any
amendments adopted by the Committee of the Whole.

HOUSE ACTION

     Debate on a bill in the House is cut off by moving and
ordering "the previous question."  All debate is cut off on the
bill if this motion is carried by a majority of the Members
voting, a quorum being present, or by a special rule ordering the
previous question upon the rising of the Committee of the Whole. 
The Speaker then puts the question: "Shall the bill be engrossed
and read a third time?"  If this question is decided in the
affirmative, the bill is read a third time by title only and
voted on for passage. 

     If the previous question has been ordered by the terms of
the rule on a bill reported by the Committee of the Whole, the
House immediately votes on whatever amendments have been reported
by the Committee in the order in which they appear in the bill
unless voted on en bloc.  After completion of voting on the
amendments, the House immediately votes on the passage of the
bill with the amendments it has adopted.  However, a motion to
recommit, as described in the next section, may be offered and
voted on prior to the vote on passage.  

     The Speaker may postpone a recorded vote on final passage of
a bill or resolution or agreement to a conference report for up
to two legislative days. 

     Measures that do not have to be considered in the Committee
of the Whole are considered in the House in accordance with the
terms of the rule limiting debate on the measure or under the
"hour rule."  The hour rule limits the amount of time that a
Member may occupy in debate on a pending question to 60 minutes. 
Generally, the opportunity for debate may also be curtailed when
the Speaker makes the rare determination that a motion is
dilatory.

     After passage or rejection of the bill by the House, a pro
forma motion to reconsider it is automatically made and laid on
the table.  The motion to reconsider is tabled to prohibit this
motion from being made at a later date because the vote of the
House on a proposition is not final and conclusive until there 
has been an opportunity to reconsider it. 

MOTION TO RECOMMIT

     After the previous question has been ordered on the passage
of a bill or joint resolution, it is in order to offer one motion
to recommit the bill or joint resolution to a committee and the
Speaker is required to give preference in recognition for that
purpose to a minority party Member who is opposed to the bill or
joint resolution.  This motion is normally not subject to debate. 
However, a motion to recommit with instructions offered after the
previous question has been ordered is debatable for 10 minutes,
except that the majority floor manager may demand that the debate
be extended to one hour.  Whatever time is allotted for debate is
divided equally between the proponent and opponent of the
motion.  Instructions in the motion to recommit normally take the
form of germane amendments proposed by the minority to
immediately change the final form of the bill prior to passage.
Instructions may also be "general," directing the committee to
take specified actions such as to review the bill with a
particular political viewpoint or to hold further hearings.

QUORUM CALLS AND ROLLCALLS

Article 1, Section 5, of the Constitution provides that a
majority of each House constitutes a quorum to do business and
authorizes a smaller number than a quorum to compel the
attendance of absent Members.  In order to fulfill this
constitutional responsibility, the rules of the House provide
alternative procedures for quorum calls in the House and the
Committee of the Whole.

     In the absence of a quorum, 15 Members may initiate a call
of the House to compel the attendance of absent Members.  Such a
call of the House must be ordered by a majority vote.  A call of
the House is then ordered and the call is taken by electronic
device or by response to the alphabetical call of the roll of
Members.  Absent Members have a minimum of 15 minutes from the
ordering of the call of the House by electronic device to have
their presence recorded.  If sufficient excuse is not offered for
their absence, they may be sent for by the Sergeant-at-Arms and
their attendance secured and retained.  The House then determines
the conditions on which they may be discharged.  Members who
voluntarily appear are, unless the House otherwise directs,
immediately admitted to the Hall of the House and must report
their names to the Clerk to be entered in the Journal as present. 
Compulsory attendance or arrest of Members has been rare in
modern practice. The rules of the House provide special 
authority for the Speaker to recognize a Member of the 
Speaker's choice to move a call of the House at any time.

     When a question is put to a vote by the Speaker and a quorum
fails to vote on such question, if a quorum is not present and
objection is made for that reason, there is a call of the House
unless the House adjourns.  The call is taken by electronic
device and the Sergeant-at-Arms may bring in absent Members.  The
yeas and nays on the pending question are at the same time
considered as ordered and an "automatic" recorded vote is taken. 
The Clerk utilizes the electronic system or calls the roll and 
each Member who is present may vote on the pending question. 
If those voting on the question and those who are present and 
decline to vote together make a majority of the House, the Speaker 
declares that a quorum is constituted, and the pending question 
is decided as the majority of those voting have determined.

     The rules of the House prohibit points of order of no
quorum unless the Speaker has put a question to a vote. 

     The rules for quorum calls are different in some respects in
the Committee of the Whole.  The first time the Committee of the
Whole finds itself without a quorum during a day the Chairman
is required to order the roll to be called by electronic device,
unless the Chairman orders a call of the Committee.  However, the
Chairman may refuse to entertain a point of order of no quorum
during general debate.  If on a call, a quorum (100 Members)
appears, the Committee continues its business.  If a quorum does
not appear, the Committee rises and the Chairman reports the
names of the absentees to the House.  The rules provide for the
expeditious conduct of quorum calls in the Committee of the
Whole.  The Chairman may suspend a quorum call after 100 Members
have recorded their presence.  Under such a short quorum call,
the Committee will not rise proceedings under the quorum call 
are vacated.  In that case, a recorded vote, if ordered
immediately following the termination of the short quorum call,
is a minimum of 15 minutes.  In the alternative, the Chair may
choose to permit a full 15-minute quorum call, wherein all
Members are recorded as present or absent, to be followed
by a five-minute record vote on the pending question.  Once a
quorum of the Committee of the Whole has been established for a 
day, a quorum call in the Committee is only in order when the
Committee is operating under the five-minute rule and the
Chairman has put the pending question to a vote. The rules 
prohibit a point of order of no quorum against a vote in which 
the Committee of the Whole agrees to rise.  However, an
appropriate point of no quorum would be permitted against a 
vote defeating a motion to rise.


VOTING

     There are three methods of voting in the Committee of the
Whole that are also employed in the House.  These are the voice
vote, the division, and the recorded vote.  The yea-and-nay vote
is an additional method used only in the House, which may be
automatic if a Member objects to the vote on the ground that a
quorum is not present.

     To conduct a voice vote the Chair puts the question: "As
many as are in favor (as the question may be) say `Aye'.  As many
as are opposed, say `No'."  The Chair determines the result on a
comparison of the volume of ayes and noes.  This is the form in
which the vote is ordinarily taken in the first instance.

     If it is difficult to determine the result of a voice vote,
a division may be demanded by a Member or initiated by the Chair. 
The Chair then states: "As many as are in favor will rise and
stand until counted."  After counting those in favor he calls on
those opposed to stand and be counted, thereby determining the
number in favor of and those opposed to the question.

     If any Member requests a recorded vote and that request is
supported by at least one-fifth of a quorum of the House (44 
Members), or 25 Members in the Committee of the Whole, the vote 
is taken by electronic device.  After the recorded vote is 
concluded, the names of those voting and those not voting are 
entered in the Journal.  Members have a minimum of 15 minutes 
to be counted from the time the record vote is ordered.  The 
Speaker may reduce the period for voting to five minutes on 
subsequent votes in certain situations where there has been 
no intervening debate or business.  The Speaker is not required 
to vote unless the Speaker's vote would be decisive.

     In the House, if the yeas and nays are demanded, the Speaker
directs those in favor of taking the vote by that method to stand
and be counted.  The support of one-fifth of the Members present
is necessary for ordering the yeas and nays.  When the yeas and
nays are ordered or a point of order is made that a quorum is not
present, the Speaker states: "As many as are in favor of the
proposition will vote "Aye." "As many as are opposed will vote
"No."  The Clerk activates the electronic system or calls the
roll and reports the result to the Speaker, who announces it to
the House. 

     The rules of the House require a three-fifths vote to pass a
bill, joint resolution, amendment, or conference report that
contains a specified type of federal income tax rate increase. 

     The rules prohibit a Member from (1) casting another
Member's vote or recording another Member's presence in the House
or the Committee of the Whole or (2) authorizing another
individual to cast a vote or record the Member's presence in the
House or the Committee of the Whole.

ELECTRONIC VOTING

     Recorded votes are usually taken by electronic device,
except when the Speaker orders the vote to be recorded by other
methods prescribed by the rules of the House, or in the failure
of the electronic device to function.  In addition, quorum calls
are generally taken by electronic device.  The electronic system
works as follows: A number of vote stations are attached to
selected chairs in the Chamber.  Each station is equipped with a
vote card slot and four indicators, marked "yea," "nay,"
"present," and "open" that are lit when a vote is in progress and
the system is ready to accept votes.  Each Member is provided
with a personalized Vote-ID Card.  A Member votes by inserting
the voting card into any one of the vote stations and depressing
the appropriate button to indicate the Member's choice.  If a
Member is without a Vote-ID Card or wishes to change his vote
during the last five minutes of a vote, the Member may be
recorded by handing a paper ballot to the Tally Clerk, who then
records the vote electronically according to the indicated
preference of the Member.  The paper ballots are green for "yea,"
red for "nay," and amber for "present."  The voting machine
records the votes and reports the result when the vote is
completed.

PAIRING OF MEMBERS

     The former system of pairing of Members, where a Member
could arrange in advance to be recorded as being either in favor
of or opposed to the question by being "paired" with another
absent Member who holds contrary views on the question, has
largely been eliminated.  The rules still allow for "live pairs." 
A live pair is where a Member votes as if not paired,
subsequently withdraws that vote, and then asks to be marked
"present" to protect the other Member.  The most common practice
is for absent Members to submit statements for the Record stating
how they would have voted if present on specific votes.

SYSTEM OF LIGHTS AND BELLS

     Due to the diverse nature of daily tasks that they have to
perform, it is not practicable for Members to be present in the
House or Senate Chamber at every minute that the body is in
session.  Furthermore, many of the routine matters do not require
the personal attendance of all the Members.  A legislative call
system consisting of electric lights and bells or buzzers located
in various parts of the Capitol Building and House and Senate
Office Buildings alerts Members to certain occurrences in the
House and Senate Chambers. 

     In the House, the Speaker has ordered that the bells and
lights comprising the system be utilized as follows:

* 1 long ring followed by a pause and then 3 rings and 3 lights
on the left-Start or continuation of a notice or short quorum
call in the Committee of the Whole that will be vacated if and
when 100 Members appear on the floor. Bells are repeated every
five minutes unless the call is vacated or the call is converted
into a regular quorum call. 

     * 1 long ring and extinguishing of 3 lights on the
left-Short or notice quorum call vacated. 

* 2 rings and 2 lights on the left-15 minute recorded vote,
yea-and-nay vote or automatic rollcall vote by electronic device.
The bells are repeated five minutes after the first ring.   
       

* 2 rings and 2 lights on the left followed by a pause and then 2
more rings-Automatic rollcall vote or yea-and-nay vote taken by a
call of the roll in the House. The bells are repeated when the
Clerk reaches the R's in the first call of the roll.

* 2 rings followed by a pause and then 5 rings-First vote under
Suspension of the Rules or on clustered votes. Two bells are
repeated five minutes after the first ring. The first vote will
take 15 minutes with successive votes at intervals of not less
than five minutes. Each successive vote is signaled by five
rings.

* 3 rings and 3 lights on the left-15 minute quorum call in
either the House or in the Committee of the Whole by electronic
device. The bells are repeated five minutes after the first ring.

* 3 rings followed by a pause and then 3 more rings-15 minute
quorum call by a call of the roll. The bells are repeated when
the Clerk reaches the R's in the first call of the roll. 

* 3 rings followed by a pause and then 5 more rings-Quorum call
in the Committee of the Whole that may be followed immediately by
a five-minute recorded vote. 

     * 4 rings and 4 lights on the left-Adjournment of the House. 

     * 5 rings and 5 lights on the left-Any five-minute vote. 

     * 6 rings and 6 lights on the left-Recess of the House.

     * 12 rings at 2-second intervals with 6 lights on the left-
Civil Defense Warning. 

     * The 7th light indicates that the House is in session.

RECESS AUTHORITY

     The House may by vote authorize the Speaker to declare a
recess under the rules of the House.  The Speaker also has the
authority to declare the House in recess for a short time when no
question is pending before the House.  

LIVE COVERAGE OF FLOOR PROCEEDINGS

     The rules of the House provide for unedited radio and
television broadcasting and recording of proceedings on the floor
of the House.  However, the rules prohibit the use of these
broadcasts and recordings for any political purpose or in any
commercial advertisement.  The rules of the Senate also provide
for broadcasting and recording of proceedings in the Senate
Chamber with similar restrictions.

XII. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET PROCESS

     The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974
as amended provides Congress with a procedure establishing
appropriate spending and revenue levels for each year.  The
congressional budget process, as set out in the 1974 Budget Act,
is designed to coordinate decisions on sources and levels of
revenues and on objects and levels of expenditures.  Its basic
method is to prescribe the overall size of the fiscal pie and the
particular sizes of its various pieces.  Each year the Congress
adopts a concurrent resolution imposing overall constraints on
revenues and spending and distributing the overall constraint on
spending among groups of programs and activities. 

     Congress aims to complete action on a concurrent resolution
on the budget for the next fiscal year by April 15.  Congress may
adopt a later budget resolution that revises the most recently
adopted budget resolution.  One of the mechanisms Congress uses
to implement the constraints on revenue and spending is called
the reconciliation process.  Reconciliation is a two-step process
designed to bring existing law in conformity with the most
recently adopted concurrent resolution on the budget.  The first
step in the reconciliation process is the language found in a
concurrent resolution on the budget instructing House and Senate
committees to determine and recommend changes in laws or bills
that will achieve the constraints established in the concurrent
resolution on the budget.  The instructions to a committee
specify the amount of spending reductions or revenue changes a
committee must attain and leave to the discretion of the
committee the specific changes to laws or bills that must be
made.  The second step involves the combination of the various
instructed committees' recommendations into an omnibus
reconciliation bill which is reported by the Committee on the
Budget or by the one committee instructed, if only one committee
has been instructed, and considered by the whole House. 

     The Budget Act maintains that reconciliation provisions must
be related to reconciling the budget.  This principle is codified
in section 313 of the Budget Act, the so-called Byrd Rule, named
after Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia.  Section 313
provides a point of order in the Senate against extraneous matter
in reconciliation bills.  Determining what is extraneous is a
difficult task for the Senate's Presiding Officer.  The Byrd Rule
may only be waived in the Senate by a three-fifths vote and sixty
votes are required to overturn the presiding officer's ruling.

     Congress aims to complete action on a reconciliation bill or
resolution by June 15 of each year.  After Congress has completed
action on a concurrent resolution on the budget for a fiscal
year, it is generally not in order to consider legislation that
does not conform to the constraints on spending and revenue set
out in the resolution.

     Congress has enacted legislation under which breaches are
remedied by "sequestration," that is, automatic cancellations of
spending authority.  Sequestration results when the statutory
parameters for the deficit, discretionary spending, or the
"Paygo" requirement have been exceeded.  Paygo requires that tax
reductions or increases in entitlements must be offset by tax
increases or reductions in entitlements.

     The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, through an
amendment to the Congressional Budget Act, established
requirements on committees with respect to measures containing
unfunded intergovernmental mandates.  An unfunded
intergovernmental mandate is the imposition of a substantial
financial requirement or obligation on a state, local or tribal
government.  The Act also established a unique point of order to
enforce the requirements of the Act with respect to intergovernmental 
mandates in excess of fifty million dollars annually. 
In the House, an unfunded mandate point of order is not disposed
of by a ruling of the Chair but by the Chair putting the question
of consideration to the body.  The House or the Committee of the
Whole then decides by vote whether or not to proceed with the
measure with the alleged mandate contained therein.

XIII. ENGROSSMENT AND MESSAGE TO SENATE

     The preparation of a copy of the bill in the form in which
it has passed the House can be a detailed and complicated process
because of the large number and complexity of amendments to some
bills adopted by the House.  Frequently, these amendments are
offered during a spirited debate with little or no prior formal
preparation.  The amendment may be for the purpose of inserting
new language, substituting different words for those set out in
the bill, or deleting portions of the bill.  It is not unusual to
have more than 100 amendments adopted, including those proposed
by the committee at the time the bill is reported and those
offered from the floor during the consideration of the bill in
the Chamber.  In some cases, amendments offered from the floor
are written in longhand.  Each amendment must be inserted in
precisely the proper place in the bill, with the spelling and
punctuation exactly as it was adopted by the House.  It is
extremely important that the Senate receive a copy of the bill in
the precise form in which it has passed the House.  The
preparation of such a copy is the function of the enrolling
clerk.

     In the House, the enrolling clerk is under the Clerk of the
House.  In the Senate, the enrolling clerk is under the Secretary
of the Senate.  The enrolling clerk receives all the papers
relating to the bill, including the official Clerk's copy of the
bill as reported by the standing committee and each amendment
adopted by the House.  From this material, the enrolling clerk
prepares the engrossed copy of the bill as passed, containing all
the amendments agreed to by the House.  At this point, the
measure ceases technically to be called a bill and is termed "An
Act" signifying that it is the act of one body of the Congress,
although it is still popularly referred to as a bill.  The
engrossed bill is printed on blue paper and is signed by the
Clerk of the House.  Bills may also originate in the Senate with 
certain exceptions.  For a discussion of bills originating in 
the Senate, see Part XVI. 

XIV. SENATE ACTION

     The Parliamentarian, in the name of the Vice President, as
the President of the Senate, refers the engrossed bill to the
appropriate standing committee of the Senate in conformity with
the rules of the Senate.  The bill is reprinted immediately and
copies are made available in the document rooms of both Houses. 
This printing is known as the "Act print" or the "Senate referred
print."

COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

     Senate committees give the bill the same detailed
consideration as it received in the House and may report it with
or without amendment.  A committee member who wishes to express
an individual view or a group of Members who wish to file a
minority report may do so by giving notice, at the time of the
approval of a report on the measure, of an intention to file
supplemental, minority, or additional views.  These views may be
filed within three days with the clerk of the committee and
become a part of the report.  When a committee reports a bill, it
is reprinted with the committee amendments indicated by showing
new matter in italics and deleted matter in line-through type. 
The calendar number and report number are indicated on the first
and back pages, together with the name of the Senator making the
report.  The committee report and any minority or individual
views accompanying the bill also are printed at the same time.  

     All committee meetings, including those to conduct hearings,
must be open to the public.  However, a majority of the members
of a committee or subcommittee may, after discussion in closed
session, vote in open session to close a meeting or series of
meetings on the same subject for no longer than 14 days if it is
determined that the matters to be discussed or testimony to be
taken will disclose matters necessary to be kept secret in the
interests of national defense or the confidential conduct of the
foreign relations of the United States; will relate solely to
internal committee staff management or procedure; will tend to
charge an individual with a crime or misconduct, to disgrace or
injure the professional standing of an individual, or otherwise
to expose an individual to public contempt, or will represent a
clearly unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual;
will disclose law enforcement information that is required to be
kept secret; will disclose certain information regarding certain
trade secrets; or may disclose matters required to be kept
confidential under other provisions of law or government
regulation. 

CHAMBER PROCEDURE

     The rules of procedure in the Senate differ to a large
extent from those in the House.  The Senate relies heavily on the
practice of obtaining unanimous consent for actions to be taken. 
For example, at the time that a bill is reported, the Majority
Leader may ask unanimous consent for the immediate consideration
of the bill.  If the bill is of a noncontroversial nature and
there is no objection, the Senate may pass the bill with little
or no debate and with only a brief explanation of its purpose and
effect.  Even in this instance, the bill is subject to amendment
by any Senator.  A simple majority vote is necessary to carry an
amendment as well as to pass the bill.  If there is any
objection, the report must lie over one legislative day and the
bill is placed on the calendar. 

     Measures reported by standing committees of the Senate may
not be considered unless the report of that committee has been
available to Senate Members for at least two days (excluding
Sundays and legal holidays) prior to consideration of the measure
in the Senate.  This requirement, however, may be waived by
agreement of the Majority and Minority leaders and does not apply
in certain emergency situations.

     In the Senate, measures are brought up for consideration by
a simple unanimous consent request, by a complex unanimous
consent agreement, or by a motion to proceed to the consideration
of a measure on the calendar.  A unanimous consent agreement,
sometimes referred to as a "time agreement," makes the
consideration of a measure in order and often limits the amount
of debate that will take place on the measure and lists the
amendments that will be considered.  The offering of a unanimous
consent request to consider a measure or the offering of a motion
to proceed to the consideration of a measure is reserved, by
tradition, to the Majority Leader.

     Usually a motion to consider a measure on the calendar is
made only when unanimous consent to consider the measure cannot
be obtained.  There are two calendars in the Senate, the Calendar
of Business and the Executive Calendar.  All legislation is
placed on the Calendar of Business and treaties and nominations
are placed on the Executive Calendar.  Unlike the House, there is
no differentiation on the Calendar of Business between the
treatment of (1) bills raising revenue, general appropriation
bills, and bills of a public character appropriating money or
property, and (2) other bills of a public character not
appropriating money or property. 

     The rules of the Senate provide that at the conclusion of
the morning business for each "legislative day" the Senate
proceeds to the consideration of the calendar.  In the Senate,
the term "legislative day" means the period of time from when the
Senate adjourns until the next time the Senate adjourns.  Because
the Senate often "recesses" rather than "adjourns" at the end of
a daily session, the legislative day usually does not correspond
to the 24-hour period comprising a calendar day.  Thus, a
legislative day may cover a long period of time-from days to
weeks, or even months.  Because of this and the modern practice
of waiving the call of the calendar by unanimous consent at the
start of a new legislative day, it is rare to have a call of the
calendar.  When the calendar is called, bills that are not
objected to are taken up in their order, and each Senator is
entitled to speak once and for five minutes only on any question. 
Objection may be interposed at any stage of the proceedings, but
on motion the Senate may continue consideration after the call of
the calendar is completed, and the limitations on debate then do
not apply. 

     On any day (other than a Monday that begins a new
legislative day), following the announcement of the close of
morning business, any Senator, usually the Majority Leader,
obtaining recognition may move to take up any bill out of its
regular order on the calendar.  The five-minute limitation on
debate does not apply to the consideration of a bill taken up in
this manner, and debate may continue until the hour when the
Presiding Officer of the Senate "lays down" the unfinished
business of the day.  At that point consideration of the bill is
discontinued and the measure reverts back to the Calendar of
Business and may again be called up at another time under the
same conditions.

     When a bill has been objected to and passed over on the call
of the calendar it is not necessarily lost.  The Majority Leader,
after consulting the Minority Leader, determines the time at
which the bill will be considered.  At that time, a motion is
made to consider the bill.  The motion is debatable if made after
the morning hour.

     Once a Senator is recognized by the Presiding Officer, the
Senator may speak for as long as the Senator wishes and loses the
floor only when the Senator yields it or takes certain
parliamentary actions that forfeit the Senator's right to the
floor.  However, a Senator may not speak more than twice on any
one question in debate on the same legislative day without leave
of the Senate.  Debate ends when a Senator yields the floor and
no other Senator seeks recognition, or when a unanimous consent
agreement limiting the time of debate is operating. 

     On occasion, Senators opposed to a measure may extend debate
by making lengthy speeches or a number of speeches at various 
stages of consideration intended to prevent or defeat action
on the measure.  This is the tactic known as "filibustering." 
Debate, however, may be closed if 16 Senators sign a motion to
that effect and the motion is carried by three-fifths of the
Senators duly chosen and sworn.  Such a motion is voted on one
hour after the Senate convenes, following a quorum call on the
next day after a day of session has intervened.  This procedure
is called "invoking cloture."  In 1986, the Senate amended its
rules to limit "post-cloture" consideration to 30 hours.  A
Senator may speak for not more than one hour and may yield all or
a part of that time to the majority or minority floor managers of
the bill under consideration or to the Majority or Minority
leader.  The Senate may increase the time for "post-cloture"
debate by a vote of three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and
sworn.  After the time for debate has expired, the Senate may
consider only amendments actually pending before voting on the
bill.

     While a measure is being considered it is subject to
amendment and each amendment, including those proposed by the
committee that reported the bill, is considered separately. 
Generally, there is no requirement that proposed amendments be
germane to the subject matter of the bill except in the case of
general appropriation bills or where "cloture" has been invoked. 
Under the rules, a "rider," an amendment proposing substantive
legislation to an appropriation bill, is prohibited.  However,
this prohibition may be suspended by two-thirds vote on a motion
to permit consideration of such an amendment on one day's notice
in writing.  Debate must be germane during the first three hours
after business is laid down unless determined to the contrary by
unanimous consent or on motion without debate.  After final
action on the amendments the bill is ready for engrossment and
the third reading, which is by title only.  The Presiding Officer
then puts the question on the passage and a voice vote is usually
taken although a yea-and-nay vote is in order if demanded by
one-fifth of the Senators present.  A simple majority is
necessary for passage.  Before an amended measure is cleared for
its return to the House of Representatives, or an unamended
measure is cleared for enrollment, a Senator who voted with the
prevailing side, or who abstained from voting, may make a motion
within the next two days to reconsider the action.  If the
measure was passed without a recorded vote, any Senator may make
the motion to reconsider.  That motion is usually tabled and its
tabling constitutes a final determination.  If, however, the
motion is granted, the Senate, by majority vote, may either
affirm its action, which then becomes final, or reverse it.

     The original engrossed House bill, together with the
engrossed Senate amendments, if any, is then returned to the
House with a message stating the action taken by the Senate. 
Where the Senate has adopted amendments, the message
requests that the House concur in them.  

     For a more detailed discussion of Senate procedure, see
Enactment of a Law, by Robert B. Dove, Parliamentarian of the
Senate. 

XV. FINAL ACTION ON AMENDED BILL

     On their return to the House, the official papers relating
to the amended measure are placed on the Speaker's table to await
House action on the Senate amendments.  Although rarely
exercised, the Speaker has the authority to refer Senate
amendments to the appropriate committee(s) with or without time
limits on their consideration.  If the amendments are of a minor 
or noncontroversial nature, any Members, usually the chairman of 
the committee that reported the bill, may, at the direction of 
the committee, ask unanimous consent to take the bill with the 
amendments from the Speaker's table and agree to the Senate 
amendments.  At this point, the Clerk reads the title of the bill 
and the Senate amendments.  If there is no objection, the amendments 
are then declared to be agreed to, and the bill is ready to be 
enrolled for presentation to the President.  If unanimous consent 
is not obtainable, the few bills that do not require consideration 
in the Committee of the Whole are privileged and may be called up 
from the Speaker's table by motion for immediate consideration of 
the amendments.  A simple majority is necessary to carry the motion 
and thereby complete floor action on the measure.  A Senate amendment 
to a House bill is subject to a point of order that it must first be
considered in the Committee of the Whole, if, originating in the
House, it would be subject to that point of order.  Most Senate
amendments require consideration in the Committee of the Whole
and this procedure by privileged motion is seldom utilized.

REQUEST FOR A CONFERENCE

     The mere fact that each House may have separately passed is 
own bill on a subject is not sufficient to make either bill eligible 
for conference.  One House must first take the additional step of 
amending and then passing the bill of the other House to form the 
basis for a conference. If the amendments are substantial or
controversial, a Member, usually the chairman of the committee of
jurisdiction, may request unanimous consent to take the House
bill with the Senate amendments from the Speaker's table,
disagree to the amendments and request or agree to a conference
with the Senate to resolve the disagreeing votes of the two
Houses.  In the case of a Senate bill with House amendments, the
House may insist on the House amendments and request a
conference.  For a discussion of bills originating in the Senate,
see Part XVI.  If there is objection, the Speaker may recognize a
Member for a motion, if offered by the direction of the primary 
committee and of all reporting committees that had initial 
referral of the bill, to (1) disagree to the Senate amendments 
and ask for or agree to a conference or
(2) insist on the House amendments to a Senate bill and request
or agree to a conference.  This may also be accomplished by a
motion to suspend the rules with a two-thirds vote or by a rule
from the Committee on Rules.  If there is no objection to the
request, or if the motion is carried, a motion to instruct the
managers of the conference would be in order.  This initial
motion to instruct is the prerogative of the minority party.  The
instructions to conferees usually urge the managers to accept or
reject a particular Senate or House provision or to take a more
generally described political position to the extent possible
within the scope of the conference.  However, such instructions
are not binding on House or Senate conferees.  After the motion
to instruct is disposed of, the Speaker then appoints the
managers, informally known as conferees, on the part of the House
and a message is sent to the Senate advising it of the House
action.  A majority of the Members appointed to be conferees must
have been supporters of the House position, as determined by the
Speaker.  The Speaker must appoint Members primarily responsible
for the legislation and must include, to the fullest extent
feasible, the principal proponents of the major provisions of the
bill as it passed the House.  The Speaker usually follows the
suggestion of the committee chairman bill designating the 
conferees on the part of the House from among the members of the 
committee with jurisdiction over the House or Senate provisions.  
Occasionally, the Speaker appoints conferees from more than 
one committee and may specify the portions of the House and 
Senate versions to which they are assigned.  The number is 
fixed by the Speaker and majority party representation 
generally reflects the ratio for the full House
committee, but may be greater on important bills.  The Speaker
also has the authority to name substitute conferees on specific
provisions and add or remove conferees after his original
appointment.  Representation of both major parties is an
important attribute of all our parliamentary procedures but, in
the case of conference committees, it is important that the views
of the House on the House measure be fully represented.

     If the Senate agrees to the request for a conference, a
similar committee is appointed by unanimous consent by the
Presiding Officer of the Senate.  Both political parties may be
represented on the Senate conference committee.  The Senate and
House committees need not be the same size but each House has one
vote in conference as determined by a majority within each set or
subset of managers.

     The request for a conference can be made only by the body in
possession of the official papers.  Occasionally, the Senate,
anticipating that the House will not concur in its amendments,
votes to insist on its amendments and requests a conference on
passage of the bill prior to returning the bill to the House. 
This practice serves to expedite the matter because time may be
saved by the designation of the Senate conferees before returning
the bill to the House.  The matter of which body requests the
conference is not without significance because the body asking
for the conference normally acts last on the report to be
submitted by the conferees and a motion to recommit the
conference report is not available to the body that acts last. 

AUTHORITY OF CONFEREES

     The conference committee is sometimes popularly referred to
as the "Third House of Congress."  Although the managers on the
part of each House meet together as one committee they are in
effect two separate committees, each of which votes separately
and acts by a majority vote.  For this reason, the number of
managers from each House is largely immaterial. 

     The conferees are strictly limited in their consideration to
matters in disagreement between the two Houses.  Consequently,
they may not strike out or amend any portion of the bill that was
not amended by the other House.  Furthermore, they may not insert new
matter that is not germane to or that is beyond the scope of the
differences between the two Houses.  Where the Senate amendment
revises a figure or an amount contained in the bill, the
conferees are limited to the difference between the two numbers
and may neither increase the greater nor decrease the smaller
figure.  Neither House may alone, by instructions, empower its
managers to make a change in the text to which both Houses have
agreed.

     When a disagreement to an amendment in the nature of a
substitute is committed to a conference committee, managers on
the part of the House may propose a substitute that is a
germane modification of the matter in disagreement, but the
introduction of any language in that substitute presenting specific
additional matter not committed to the conference committee 
by either House is not in order. Moreover, their report may not 
include matter not committed to the conference committee by either 
House.  The report may not include a modification of any specific 
matter committed to the conference committee by either or
both Houses if that modification is beyond the scope of that
specific topic, question, issue, or proposition as committed to
the conference committee. 

     The managers on the part of the House are under specific
guidelines when in conference on general appropriation bills.  An
amendment by the Senate to a general appropriation bill which
would be in violation of the rules of the House, if such
amendment had originated in the House, including an amendment
changing existing law, providing appropriations not authorized by
law, or providing reappropriations of unexpired balances, or an
amendment by the Senate providing for an appropriation on a bill
other than a general appropriation bill, may not be agreed to by
the managers on the part of the House.  However, the House may
grant specific authority to agree to such an amendment by a
separate vote on each specific amendment. 

MEETINGS AND ACTION OF CONFEREES

     The rules of the House require that one conference meeting
be open, unless the House, in open session, determines by a
record vote that a meeting will be closed to the public.  When
the report of the conference committee is read in the House, a
point of order may be made that the conferees failed to comply
with the House rule requiring an open conference meeting.  If the
point of order is sustained, the conference report is considered
rejected by the House and a new conference is deemed to have been
requested. 

     There are generally four forms of recommendations available
to the conferees when reporting back to their bodies:

(1)  The Senate recede from all (or certain of) its amendments.
      
(2)  The House recede from its disagreement to all (or certain
of) the Senate amendments and agree thereto. 
(3)  The House recede from its disagreement to all (or certain
of) the Senate amendments and agree thereto with amendments.
      
(4)  The House recede from all (or certain of) its amendments to
the Senate amendments or its amendments to Senate bill.

     In most instances, the result of the conference is a
compromise growing out of the third type of recommendation
available to the conferees because one House has originally 
substituted its own bill to be considered as a single amendment.  
The complete report may be composed of any one or more of these 
recommendations with respect to the various amendments where there
are number amendments.  Occasionally, on general appropriation bills
with numbered Senate amendments, because of the special rules
preventing House conferees from agreeing to Senate amendments
changing existing law or appropriations not authorized by law,
the conferees find themselves, under the rules or in fact, unable
to reach an agreement with respect to one or more amendments and
report back a statement of their inability to agree on those
particular amendments.  These amendments may then be acted upon
separately.  This partial disagreement is not practicable where, 
as is most often the case, one House strikes out all after the 
enacting clause and substitutes its own bill that must be 
considered as a single amendment.

     If they are unable to reach any agreement whatsoever, the
conferees report that fact to their respective bodies and the
amendments may be disposed of by motion.  Usually, new
conferees may be appointed in either or both Houses.  In 
addition, the Houses may provide a new nonbinding instruction 
to the conferees as to the position they are to take. 

     After House conferees on any bill or resolution in
conference between the two bodies have been appointed for 20
calendar days and have failed to make a report, a motion
to instruct the House conferees, or discharge them and appoint 
new conferees, is privileged.  The motion can be made only after 
the Member announces his intention to offer the motion and only 
at a time designated by the Speaker in the legislative schedule 
of the following day.  In addition, during the last six days of 
a session, it is a privileged motion to move to discharge, appoint, 
or instruct House conferees after House conferees have been 
appointed 36 hours without having made a report.

CONFERENCE REPORTS

     When the conferees, by majority vote of each group, have
reached complete agreement or find that they are able to agree
with respect to some but not all separately numbered amendments,
they make their recommendations in a report made in duplicate
that must be signed by a majority of the conferees appointed by
each body on each provision to which they are appointed.  The
minority of the managers have no authority to file a
statement of minority views in connection with the conference
report.  The report is required to be printed in both Houses and
must be accompanied by an explanatory statement prepared jointly
by the conferees on the part of the House and the conferees on
the part of the Senate.  The statement must be sufficiently
detailed and explicit to inform Congress of the effect of the 
report on the matters committed to conference. The engrossed 
bill and amendments and one copy of the report are delivered to 
the body that is to act first on the report, usually, the body 
that had agreed to the conference requested by the other.

     In the Senate, the presentation of a conference report
always is in order except when the Journal is being read, a point
of order or motion to adjourn is pending, or while the Senate is
voting or ascertaining the presence of a quorum.  When the report
is received, the question of proceeding to the consideration of
the report, if raised, is immediately voted on without debate. 
The report is not subject to amendment in either body and must be
accepted or rejected as an entirety.  If the time for debate on
the adoption of the report is limited, the time allotted must be
equally divided between the majority and minority party.  The
Senate, acting first, prior to voting on agreeing to the report
may by majority vote order it recommitted to the conferees.  When
the Senate agrees to the report, its managers are thereby
discharged and it then delivers the original papers to the House
with a message advising that body of its action.

     A report that contains any recommendations which extend
beyond the scope of differences between the two Houses is subject
to a point of order in its entirety unless that point of order is
waived in the House by unanimous consent, adoption of a rule
reported from the Committee on Rules, or the suspension of the
rules by a two-thirds vote. 

     The presentation of a conference report in the House 
is in order at any time, except during a reading of the Journal 
or the conduct of a recorded vote, a vote by division, or a 
quorum call. The report is considered in the House and may not
be sent to the Committee of the Whole on the suggestion that it
contains matters ordinarily requiring consideration in that
Committee.  The report may not be received by the House if the
required statement does not accompany it. 

     However, it is not in order to consider either (1) a
conference report or (2) a motion to dispose of a Senate amendment 
(including an amendment in the nature of a substitute) by a 
conference committee, until the third calendar day (excluding 
Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays unless the House is in 
session on those days) after the report and accompanying statement 
have been filed in the House and made available to Members in 
the Congressional Record. However, these provisions do not apply 
during the last six days of the session.  It is also not in order 
to consider a conference report or a motion to dispose of a 
Senate amendment reported in disagreement unless copies of the
report and accompanying statement, together with the text of the
amendment, have been available to Members for at least two hours
before their consideration.  By contrast, it is always in order
to call up for consideration a report from the Committee on Rules
on the same day reported that proposes only to waive the 
availability requirements for a conference report or a Senate 
amendment reported in disagreement. The time allotted for debate 
on a conference report or motion is one hour, equally divided between
the majority party and the minority party.  However, if the
majority and minority floor managers both support the conference 
report or motion, one-third of the debate time must be allotted
to a Member who is opposed.  If the House does not agree to 
a conference report that the Senate has already agreed to, the
report may not be recommitted to conference.  In that 
situation, the Senate conferees are discharged when the Senate 
agrees to the report.  The House may then request a new conference 
with the Senate and conferees must be reappointed.

      If a conference report is called up before the House
containing matter which would be in violation of the rules of the
House with respect to germaneness if the matter had been offered
as an amendment in the House, and which is contained either (1)
in the Senate bill or Senate amendment to the House measure
(including a Senate amendment in the nature of a substitute for
the text of that measure as passed by the House) and accepted by
the House conferees or agreed to by the conference committee with
modification or (2) in a substitute amendment agreed to by the
conference committee, a point of order may be made at the
beginning of consideration that nongermane matter is contained in
the report.  The point of order may also be waived by special rule.
If the point of order is sustained, a motion to reject the 
nongermane matter identified by the point of order is privileged. 
The motion is debatable for 40 minutes, one-half of the time in 
favor of, and one-half in opposition to,
the motion.  Notwithstanding the final disposition of a point of
order made with respect to the report, or of a motion to reject
nongermane matter, further points of order may be made with
respect to the report, and further motions may be made to reject
other nongermane matter in the conference report not covered by
any previous point of order which has been sustained.  If a
motion to reject has been adopted, after final disposition of all
points of order and motions to reject, the conference report is
considered rejected and the question then pending before the
House is whether (1) to recede and concur with an amendment that
consists of that portion of the conference report not rejected or
(2) to insist on the House amendment.  If all motions to reject
are defeated and the House thereby decides to permit the
inclusion of the nongermane Senate matter in the conference
report, then, after the allocation of time for debate on the
conference report, it is in order to move the previous question
on the adoption of the conference report.

     Similar procedures are available in the House when the
Senate proposes an amendment to a measure that would be in
violation of the rule against nongermane amendments, and
thereafter it is (1) reported in disagreement by a committee of
conference or (2) before the House and the stage of disagreement
is reached.

     The numbered amendments of the Senate reported in 
disagreement may be voted on separately and may be
adopted by a majority vote after the adoption of the conference
report itself as though no conference had been had with respect
to those amendments.  The Senate may recede from all amendments,
or from certain of its amendments, insisting on the others with
or without a request for a further conference with respect to
them.  If the House does not accept the amendments insisted on by
the Senate, the entire conference process may begin again with
respect to them.  One House may also further amend an amendment
of the other House until the third degree stage of amendment
within that House is reached.  

CUSTODY OF PAPERS

     The custody of the original official papers is important in
conference procedure because either body may act on a conference
report only when in possession of the papers.  The papers are
transmitted to the body agreeing to the conference and from that
body to the managers of the House that asked for the conference. 
The latter in turn carry the papers with them to the conference
and at its conclusion turn them over to the managers of the House
that agreed to the conference.  The managers of the House that
agreed to the conference deliver them to their own House, that
acts first on the report, and then delivers the papers to the
other House for final action on the report.  However, if the
managers on the part of the House agreeing to the conference
surrender the papers to the House asking for the conference, the
report may be acted on first by the House asking for the
conference.

     At the conclusion of the conference, each group of conferees
retains one copy of the report that has been made in duplicate
and signed by a majority of the managers of each body.  The House
copy is signed first by the House managers and the Senate copy is
signed first by its managers. 

     A bill cannot become a law of the land until it has been
approved in identical form by both Houses of Congress.  When the
bill has finally been approved by both Houses, all the original
papers are transmitted to the enrolling clerk of the body in
which the bill originated.

XVI. BILL ORIGINATING IN SENATE

     The preceding discussion has described the legislative
process for bills originating in the House.  When a bill
originates in the Senate, this process is reversed.  When the
Senate passes a bill that originated in the Senate, it is sent to
the House for consideration unless it is held by unanimous 
consent to become a vehicle for a similar House bill, if and 
when passed by the House.  The Senate bill is referred to the
appropriate House committee for consideration or held at the
Speaker's table for possible amendment following action on a
companion House bill.  If the committee reports the bill to the
full House and if the bill is passed by the House without
amendment, it is ready for enrollment.  If the House passes an
amended version of the Senate bill, the bill is returned to the
Senate for action on the House amendments.  The Senate may agree
to the amendments or request a conference to resolve the
disagreement over the House amendments or may futher amend the 
House amendments.  In accordance with the Constitution, the 
Senate cannot originate revenue measures.  By tradition, the 
House also originates general appropriations bills.  If
the Senate does originate a revenue measure, either as a Senate 
bill or an amendment to a non-revenue House bill, it can be 
returned to the Senate by a vote of the House as an infringement 
of the constitutional prerogative of the House.

XVII. ENROLLMENT

     When the bill has been agreed to in identical form by both
bodies-either 1) without amendment by the Senate, 2) by House
concurrence in the Senate amendments, 3) by Senate concurrence 
in House amendments, or 4) by agreement in both
bodies to the conference report-a copy of the bill is enrolled
for presentation to the President.

     The preparation of the enrolled bill is a painstaking and
important task because it must reflect precisely the effect of
all amendments, either by way of deletion, substitution, or
addition, agreed to by both bodies.  The enrolling clerk of the
House, with respect to bills originating in the House, receives
the original engrossed bill, the engrossed Senate amendments, the
signed conference report, the several messages from the Senate,
and a notation of the final action by the House, for the purpose
of preparing the enrolled copy.  From these documents the 
enrolling clerk must meticulously prepare for presentation to 
the President the final form of the bill as it was agreed to 
by both Houses.  On occasion, as many as 500 amendments have been 
adopted, each of which must be set out in the enrollment exactly 
as agreed to, and all punctuation must be in accord with the action 
taken. 

     The enrolled bill is printed on parchment paper and
certified by the Clerk of the House stating that the bill
originated in the House of Representatives.  A bill originating
in the Senate is examined and certified by the Secretary of the
Senate.  A House bill is then examined for accuracy by the
Committee on House Administration.  When the committee is
satisfied with the accuracy of the bill, the chairman of the
committee attaches a slip stating that it finds the bill truly
enrolled and sends it to the Speaker of the House for signature. 
All bills, regardless of the body in which they originated, are
signed first by the Speaker and then by the Vice President of the
United States, who, under the Constitution, serves as the
President of the Senate.  The President pro tempore of the Senate
may also sign enrolled bills.  The Speaker of the House may sign
enrolled bills whether or not the House is in session.  The
President of the Senate may sign bills only while the Senate is
actually sitting but advance permission is normally granted to
sign during a recess or after adjournment.  If the Speaker or the
President of the Senate is unable to sign the bill, it may be
signed by an authorized Member of the respective House.  After
both signatures are affixed, a House bill is returned to the
Committee on House Administration for presentation to the
President for action under the Constitution.  A Senate bill is
presented to the President by the Secretary of the Senate.

XVIII. PRESIDENTIAL ACTION

     Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution provides in part
that- 

     Every Bill which shall have passed the House of
Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a Law,
be presented to the President of the United States. 

     In actual practice, a clerk of the Committee on House
Administration, or the Secretary of the Senate when the bill
originated in that body, delivers the original enrolled bill to a
clerk at the White House and obtains a receipt.  The fact of the
delivery is then reported to the House by the chairman of the
committee.  Delivery to a White House clerk has customarily been
regarded as presentation to the President and as commencing the
10-day constitutional period for presidential action.

     Copies of the enrolled bill usually are transmitted by the
White House to the various departments interested in the subject
matter so that they may advise the President on the issues
surrounding the bill.

     If the President approves the bill, he signs it and usually
writes the word "approved" and the date.  However, the
Constitution requires only that the President sign it.

     The bill may become law without the President's signature by
virtue of the constitutional provision that if the President does
not return a bill with objections within 10 days (excluding
Sundays) after it has been presented to the President, it become
law as if the President had signed it.  However, if Congress by
their adjournment prevent its return, it does not become law. 
This is known as a "pocket veto"; that is, the bill
does not become law even though the President has not sent his
objections to the Congress.  The Congress has interpreted the
President's ability to pocket veto a bill to be limited to final
adjournment "sine die" of a Congress where Congress has finally
prevented return by the originating House and not to interim
adjournments or first session adjournments where the originating
House of Congress through its agents is able to receive a veto
message for subsequent reconsideration by that Congress when it
reconvenes.  The extent of pocket veto authority has not been
definitively decided by the courts. 

     Notice of the signing of a bill by the President is sent by
message to the House in which it originated and that House
informs the other, although this action is not necessary for the
act to be valid.  The action is also noted in the Congressional
Record. 

     A bill becomes law on the date of approval or passage over
the President's veto, unless it expressly provides a different
effective date.

VETO MESSAGE

     By the terms of the Constitution, if the President does not
approve the bill "he shall return it, with his Objections to that
House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the
Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider
it."  A bill returned with the President's objections need not
be voted on at once when laid before the House since the vetoed
bill can be postponed, referred back to committee, or tabled
before the question on passage is pending.  A vetoed bill is
always privileged until directly voted upon, and a motion to take
it from the table or from committee is in order at any time. 

     Once the relevant Member moves the previous question on the
question of override, the question is then put by the Speaker as
follows: "Will the House on reconsideration agree to pass the
bill, the objections of the President to the contrary
notwithstanding?."  Under the Constitution, a vote by the yeas
and nays is required to pass a bill over the President's veto. 
The Clerk activates the electronic system or calls the roll with
those in favor of passing the bill answering "Aye," and those
opposed "No."  If fewer than two-thirds of the Members present
vote in the affirmative, a quorum being present, the bill is
rejected, and a message is sent to the Senate advising that body
of the House action.  However, if two-thirds vote in the
affirmative, the bill is sent with the President's objections to
the Senate, unless that body has acted first, together with a
message advising it of the action in the House.

     The procedure in the Senate is the same, as a two-thirds
affirmative vote is also necessary to pass the bill over the
President's objections.  If the Senate joins the House and votes
two-thirds in the affirmative to pass the bill, the measure
becomes the law of the land notwithstanding the objections of the
President, and it is ready for publication as a binding statute. 

LINE ITEM VETO

     From 1997 until it was declared unconstitutional in 1998,
the Line Item Veto Act provided the President authority to cancel
certain individual items contained in a bill or joint resolution
that he had signed into law.  The law allowed the President to
cancel only three types of fiscal items: a dollar amount of
discretionary budget authority, an item of new direct spending,
and a tax change benefiting a class of 100 or fewer.  The
cancellations had to be received by the House and Senate within
five calendar days of the enactment of such a law and were
effective unless disapproved.  The President had to submit a
single message to both Houses containing all the cancellations
per law.  The Act also provided special expedited procedures by
which the House and Senate could consider a bill or joint
resolution disapproving a President's cancellation.  Such a
"disapproval bill" was subject to a majority vote in the House
and Senate and was presented to the President for his signature
or veto under the Constitution.  If the disapproval bill were
vetoed by the President, the House and Senate could override the
veto by a two-thirds vote in each House, in which case the
President's cancellations would be null and void.  While the Act
has not been repealed, the Supreme Court in Clinton v. City of
New York, 118 S. Ct. 2091, (1998) struck down the Line Item Veto
Act as unconstitutional.

XIX. PUBLICATION

     One of the important steps in the enactment of a valid law
is the requirement that it shall be made known to the people who
are to be bound by it.  There would be no justice if the state
were to hold its people responsible for their conduct before it
made known to them the unlawfulness of such behavior.  In
practice, our laws are published immediately upon their enactment
so that the public will be aware of them.

     If the President approves a bill, or allows it to become law
without signing it, the original enrolled bill is sent from the
White House to the Archivist of the United States for
publication.  If a bill is passed by both Houses over the
objections of the President, the body that last overrides the
veto transmits it.  It is then assigned a public law number, and
paginated for the Statutes at Large volume covering that session
of Congress.  The public and private law numbers run in sequence
starting anew at the beginning of each Congress and 
are prefixed for ready identification by the number of the
Congress.  For example, the first public law of the 106th
Congress is designated Public Law 106-1 and the first private law
of the 106th Congress is designated Private Law 106-1. 
Subsequent laws of this Congress also will contain the same
prefix designator.

SLIP LAWS

     The first official publication of the statute is in the form
generally known as the "slip law."  In this form, each law is
published separately as an unbound pamphlet.  The heading
indicates the public or private law number, the date of approval,
and the bill number.  The heading of a slip law for a public law
also indicates the United States Statutes at Large citation.  If
the statute has been passed over the veto of the President, or
has become law without the President's signature because he did
not return it with objections, an appropriate statement is
inserted instead of the usual notation of approval. 

     The Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and
Records Administration, prepares the slip laws and provides
marginal editorial notes giving the citations to laws mentioned
in the text and other explanatory details.  The marginal notes
also give the United States Code classifications, enabling the
reader immediately to determine where the statute will appear in
the Code.  Each slip law also includes an informative guide to
the legislative history of the law consisting of the committee
report number, the name of the committee in each House, as well
as the date of consideration and passage in each House, with a
reference to the Congressional Record by volume, year, and date. 
A reference to presidential statements relating to the approval
of a bill or the veto of a bill when the veto was overridden and
the bill becomes law is included in the legislative history as a
citation to the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents.

     Copies of the slip laws are delivered to the document rooms
of both Houses where they are available to officials and the
public.  They may also be obtained by annual subscription or
individual purchase from the Government Printing Office and are
available in electronic form for computer access.  Section 113 of
title 1 of the United States Code provides that slip laws are
competent evidence in all the federal and state courts,
tribunals, and public offices. 

STATUTES AT LARGE

     The United States Statutes at Large, prepared by the Office
of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records
Administration, provide a permanent collection of the laws of
each session of Congress in bound volumes.  The latest volume
containing the laws of the first session of the 105th Congress is
number 111 in the series.  Each volume contains a complete index
and a table of contents. A legislative history appears at the 
end of each law. There are also extensive marginal notes referring 
to laws in earlier volumes and to earlier and later matters in the 
same volume.

     Under the provisions of a statute originally enacted in
1895, these volumes are legal evidence of the laws contained in
them and will be accepted as proof of those laws in any court in
the United States.

     The Statutes at Large are a chronological arrangement of the
laws exactly as they have been enacted.  The laws are not arranged 
according to subject matter and do not reflect the present status 
of an earlier law that has been amended.  The laws are organized 
in that manner in the code of laws. 

UNITED STATES CODE

     The United States Code contains a consolidation and
codification of the general and permanent laws of the United
States arranged according to subject matter under 50 title
headings, in alphabetical order to a large degree.  It sets out
the current status of the laws, as amended, without repeating all
the language of the amendatory acts except where necessary. 
The Code is declared to be prima facie evidence of
those laws.  Its purpose is to present the laws in a concise and
usable form without requiring recourse to the many volumes of the
Statutes at Large containing the individual amendments.

     The Code is prepared by the Law Revision Counsel of the
House of Representatives.  New editions are published every six
years and cumulative supplements are published after the
conclusion of each regular session of the Congress.  The Code is
also available in electronic form.

     Twenty-three of the 50 titles have been revised and enacted
into positive law, and two have been eliminated by consolidation
with other titles.  Titles that have been revised and enacted
into positive law are legal evidence of the law and the courts
will receive them as proof of those laws.  Eventually all the
titles will be revised and enacted into positive law.  At that
point, they will be updated by direct amendment.

     

APPENDIX

SELECT LIST OF GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS

Constitution of the United States of America:
     Analysis and Interpretation, with annotations of cases
decided by the Supreme Court of the United States to June 29,
1992; prepared by Congressional Research Service, Library of
Congress, Johnny H. Killian, George A. Costello, co-editors:
Senate Document 103-6 (1996).

House Rules and Manual:
     Constitution, Jefferson's Manual, and Rules of the House of
Representatives of the United States, prepared by Charles W.
Johnson, Parliamentarian of the House, House Document 105-538
(1999). New editions are published each Congress.

Senate Manual:
     Containing the rules, orders, laws, and resolutions
affecting the business of the United States Senate; Jefferson's
Manual, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation,
Constitution of the United States, etc., prepared under the
direction of Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. New
editions are published each Congress. 

Hinds' and Cannon's Precedents of the House of Representatives:
     Including references to provisions of the Constitution,
laws, and decisions of the Senate, by Asher C. Hinds. Vols. 1-5
(1907).    
     Vols. 6-8 (1935), as compiled by Clarence Cannon, are
supplementary to vols. 1-5 and cover the 28-year period from 1907
to 1935, revised up to and including the 73d Congress.   
     Vols. 9-11 (1941) are index-digest to vols. 1-8.

Deschler-Brown Precedents of the United States House of
Representatives:  
     Including references to provisions of the Constitution and
laws, and to decisions of the courts, covering the period from
1928 to date, by Lewis Deschler, J.D., D.J., M.P.L., LL.D.,
Parliamentarian of the House (1928-1974), Wm. Holmes Brown,
Parliamentarian of the House (1974-1994).
     Vols. 1-15 have been published, additional volumes in
preparation. 

Cannon's Procedure in the House of Representatives:  
     By Clarence Cannon, A.M., LL.B., LL.D., Member of Congress,
sometime Parliamentarian of the House, Speaker pro tempore,
Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, Chairman of the Committee
on Appropriations, etc.

House Practice, A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures
of the House: 
     By Wm. Holmes Brown, Parliamentarian of the House
(1974-1994)

Procedure in the U.S. House of Representatives, Fourth Edition
(1982) (1987 Supp.): 
     By Lewis Deschler, J.D., D.J., M.P.L., LL.D.,
Parliamentarian of the House (1928-1974), and Wm. Holmes Brown,
Parliamentarian of the House (1974-1994).

Senate Procedure: 
     By Floyd M. Riddick, Parliamentarian Emeritus of the Senate,
Alan S. Frumin, Parliamentarian of the Senate: Senate Document 
No. 101-28 (1992). 

Calendars of the House of Representatives and History of
Legislation:  
     Published each day the House is in session; prepared under
the direction of the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Committee Calendars: 
     Published periodically by most of the standing committees of
the House of Representatives and Senate, containing the history
of bills and resolutions referred to the particular committee. 

Digest of Public General Bills and Resolutions: 
     A brief synopsis of public bills and resolutions, and
changes made therein during the legislative process; prepared by
American Law Division, Congressional Research Service, Library of
Congress.

Congressional Record: 
     Proceedings and debates of the House and Senate, published
daily, and bound with an index and history of bills and
resolutions at the conclusion of each session of the Congress.
The record of debates prior to 1874 was published in the Annals
of   Congress (1789-1824), The Register of Debates (1824-1837),
and the Congressional Globe (1833-1873).

Journal of the House of Representatives: 
     Official record of the proceedings of the House, published
at the conclusion of each session under the direction of the
Clerk of the House.

Journal of the United States Senate: 
     Official record of the proceedings of the Senate, published
at the conclusion of each session under      the direction of the
Secretary of the Senate.

United States Statutes at Large: 
     Containing the laws and concurrent resolutions enacted, and
reorganization plans and proclamations promulgated during each
session of the Congress, published annually under the direction
of the Archivist of the United States by the Office of the
Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration,
Washington, D.C. 20408. 
     Supplemental volumes: Tables of Laws Affected, Volumes 70-84
(1956-1970), Volumes 85-89 (1971-1975), containing tables of
prior laws amended, repealed, or patently affected by  provisions
of public laws enacted during that period. 
     Additional parts, containing treaties and international
agreements other than treaties,    published annually under the
direction of the Secretary of State until 1950. 

United States Code: 
     The general and permanent laws of the United States in force
on the day preceding the commencement of the session following
the last session the legislation of which is included: arranged
in 50 titles; prepared under the direction and supervision of the
Law Revision Counsel of the House of Representatives. New
editions are published every six years and cumulative supplements
are published annually.  

Federal Register: 
     Presidential Proclamations, Executive Orders, and federal
agency orders, regulations, and notices, and general documents of
public applicability and legal effect, published daily. The
regulations therein amend the Code of Federal Regulations.
Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National
Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. 20408. 

Code of Federal Regulations: 
     Cumulates in bound volumes the general and permanent rules
and regulations of Federal agencies published in the Federal
Register, including Presidential documents. Each volume of the
Code is revised at least once each calendar year and issued on a
quarterly basis. Published by the Office of the Federal Register,
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
20408. 

Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents: 
     Containing statements, messages, and other presidential
materials released by the White House during the previous 
week, published every Monday by the Office of the Federal
Register, National Archives and Records Administration,
Washington, D.C. 20408. 

History of the United States House of Representatives:
     Prepared by Congressional Research Service, Library of
Congress, House Document 103-324.

The Senate, 1789-1989, Addresses on the History of the United
States Senate, Vol. 1: 
     by Senator Robert C. Byrd, Senate Document No. 100-20
(1988). 

Historical Almanac of the United States Senate: 
     by Senator Bob Dole, Senate Document No. 100-35 (1989).


EARLIER PRINTINGS

Document and Number of copies printed

1953, H. Doc. 210, 83d Cong. (H. Res. 251 by Mr. Reed) - 36,771
1953, H. Doc. 210, 83d Cong. (H. Res. 251 by Mr. Reed) - 122,732
1955, H. Doc. 210, 83d Cong. (H. Con. Res. 93 by Mr. Willis) -    
   167,728
1956, H. Doc. 451, 84th Cong. (H. Con. Res. 251 by Mr. Willis) -  
    30,385
1956, S. Doc. 152, 84th Cong. (S. Res. 293 by Senator Kennedy) - 
182,358
1959, H. Doc. 156, 86th Cong. (H. Con. Res. 95 by Mr. Lesinski) - 
  228,591
1961, H. Doc. 136, 87th Cong. (H. Con. Res. 81 by Mr. Willis) -  
211,797
1963, H. Doc. 103, 88th Cong. (H. Con. Res. 108 by Mr. Willis) -  
   14,000
1965, H. Doc. 103, 88th Cong. (S. Res. 9 by Senator Mansfield) -  
 196,414
1965, H. Doc. 164, 89th Cong. (H. Con. Res. 165 by Mr. Willis) -  
 319,766
1967, H. Doc. 125, 90th  Cong. (H. Con. Res. 221 by Mr. Willis) - 
  324,821
1969, H. Doc. 127, 91st Cong. (H. Con. Res. 192 by Mr. Celler) -  
   174,500
1971, H. Doc. 144, 92d Cong. (H. Con. Res. 206 by Mr. Celler) -   
 292,000
1972, H. Doc. 92-323, 92d Cong. (H. Con. Res. 530 by Mr. Celler)
- 292,500
1974, H. Doc. 93-377, 93d Cong. (H. Con. Res. 201 by Mr. Rodino)  
- 246,000
1976, H. Doc. 94-509, 94th Cong. (H. Con. Res. 540 by Mr. Rodino) 
- 282,400
1978, H. Doc. 95-259, 95th Cong. (H. Con. Res.190 by Mr. Rodino)  
- 298,000
1980, H. Doc. 96-352, 96th Cong. (H. Con. Res. 95 by Mr. Rodino)  
- 298,000
1981, H. Doc. 97-120, 97th Cong. (H. Con. Res.106 by Mr. Rodino)  
- 298,000
1985, H. Doc. 99-158, 99th Cong. (H. Con. Res. 203 by Mr. Rodino) 
- 298,000
1989, H. Doc. 101-139, 101st  Cong. (H. Con. Res. 193 by Mr.
Brooks) - 323,000
1997, H. Doc. 105-14, 105th Cong. (S. Con. Res. 62 by Mr. Warner) 
- 387,000 

 

 

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