Proxy Voting and Polling in Senate Committee Page: 4 of 6
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on polling, news reports indicate that its subcommittees have passed appropriations bills
to the full committee by poll without a formal public markup."1
Proxies, Polling, and the Senate "Clean-Up" Rule
Paragraph 7(a)(3) of Senate Rule XXVI contains provisions that, under certain
circumstances, might bear on proxy votes or polls conducted by a Senate committee or
subcommittee. Under this rule - which is sometimes colloquially called the "clean-up
rule" - should a panel violate Senate procedures during its consideration of a measure
or matter, these missteps will not be the subject of a floor point of order so long as the
committee has properly conducted the vote to report. Paragraph 7 (a)(3) states:
Action by any committee in reporting any measure or matter in accordance with the
requirements of this subparagraph shall constitute the ratification by the committee of
all action theretofore taken by the committee with respect to that measure or matter,
including votes taken upon the measure or matter or any amendment thereto, and no
point of order shall lie with respect to that measure or matter.
The Senate included this provision in its rule book "to prevent the obstruction of
legislation on the Senate floor, based upon the internal operations of a committee, by
making the record vote of a committee on reporting a measure ... the final test of the
legality of such action."12
In short, a properly conducted vote to order a measure or matter reported to the
Senate "cleans up," or absolves, any potentially defective committee procedures that may
have occurred, including those related to a proxy vote or committee poll taken earlier.
" Emily Pierce, "Use of Appropriations 'Polling' Troubles Critics," Roll Call, September 20,
2004, p. 1; Chuck Conlon, "There are Markups, Then There's 'Polling'," CQ Today Online
News, July 16, 2008.
12 U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Government Operations, Report to Accompany S. 844,
S.Rept. 91-202, 91St Cong., 1St sess. (Washington: GPO, 1969), p. 3.
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Proxy Voting and Polling in Senate Committee, report, September 16, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc815612/m1/4/: accessed November 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.