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"First Day" Proceedings and Procedural Change in the Senate

Description: In the early weeks of the 112th Congress, the Senate considered proposals to change its Standing Rules, as well as proposals to alter other practices and procedures. Three resolutions that proposed to amend the Senate rules (S.Res. 8, S.Res. 10, as amended, and S.Res. 21, as amended) received votes, but none were agreed to. These three resolutions proposed a variety of changes, chiefly focused on the operation of the Senate's cloture rule (Rule XXII). The proceedings on these measures occurred in the context of a debate over whether or not the start of a new Congress presents a unique opportunity for the Senate to change its Standing Rules without certain constraints presented by its existing rules. This report is intended to provide context for understanding the issues raised by these proceedings, as well as an accounting of actions taken by the Senate at the start of the 112th Congress.
Date: January 18, 2013
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Guide to Individuals Seated on the House Dais

Description: The House of Representatives meets in the House chamber of the Capitol. In the front of the chamber is a three-tiered, elevated dais. This report discusses the seating arrangements and traditions in regards to the dais.
Date: November 10, 2014
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutional Points of Order in the Senate

Description: This report explains Senate rules, precedents, and practices in regard to constitutional points of order that are not ruled on by the presiding officer but is instead submitted to the Senate for its decision, including an analysis of recent cases in which such a point of order has been raised, and will be updated as events warrant. The report identifies 16 constitutional points of order that have been raised and received a Senate vote since 1989. Ten of these cases were disposed of negatively.
Date: November 12, 2014
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2010

Description: This report briefly describes current responsibilities and selection mechanisms for 15 House and Senate party leadership posts and provides tables with historical data, including service dates, party affiliation, and other information for each.
Date: June 29, 2010
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Office of the Parliamentarian in the House and Senate

Description: This report discusses the Office of the Parliamentarian, which provides expert advice and assistance on questions relating to the meaning and application of that chamber's legislative rules, precedents, and practices, in both the House and Senate. The Speaker began naming a parliamentarian in 1927; the Senate first recognized its parliamentarian in 1935.
Date: July 14, 2010
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2014

Description: This report briefly describes current responsibilities and selection mechanisms for 15 House and Senate party leadership posts and provides tables with historical data, including service dates, party affiliation, and other information for each.
Date: July 31, 2014
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2013

Description: This report briefly describes current responsibilities and selection mechanisms for 15 House and Senate party leadership posts and provides tables with historical data, including service dates, party affiliation, and other information for each. Tables have been updated as of the report's issuance date to reflect leadership changes.
Date: March 4, 2013
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Legislative Process on the Senate Floor: An Introduction

Description: This report provides a brief introduction to the legislative process on the Senate floor, including filibusters and cloture, restraint and delay, scheduling legislative business, unanimous consent agreements, the daily order of business, the amending process, and quorum calls and rollcall votes.
Date: August 13, 2014
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2015

Description: This report briefly describes current responsibilities and selection mechanisms for 15 House and Senate party leadership posts and provides tables with historical data, including service dates, party affiliation, and other information for each.
Date: October 30, 2015
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Electing the Speaker of the House of Representatives: Frequently Asked Questions

Description: This report briefly poses and answers several "frequently asked questions" in relation to the floor proceedings used to elect a Speaker of the House. Current practice for electing a Speaker, either at the start of a Congress or in the event of a vacancy, is by roll-call vote, during which Members state aloud the name of their preferred candidate.
Date: October 23, 2015
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Speaker of the House: House Officer, Party Leader, and Representative

Description: This report discusses the three roles of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is widely viewed as symbolizing the power and authority of the House. The Speaker is presiding officer of the House, serves as leader of the majority party conference, and is an elected Member of the House.
Date: November 12, 2015
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Senate Committee Rules in the 114th Congress: Key Provisions

Description: This report first provides a brief overview of Senate rules as they pertain to committee actions. It then provides tables that summarize selected, key features of each committee's rules in regard to meeting day, hearing and meeting notice requirements, scheduling of witnesses, hearing quorum, business quorum, amendment filing requirements, proxy voting, polling, nominations, investigations, and subpoenas. In addition, the report looks at selected unique provisions some committees have included in their rules in the miscellaneous category.
Date: February 8, 2016
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutional Points of Order in the Senate

Description: In general, the Senate's presiding officer does not take the initiative in enforcing Senate rules and precedents. Instead, a Senator may raise a point of order if he or she believes the Senate is taking (or is about to take) an action that violates the rules. In most circumstances, the presiding officer rules on the point of order on advice of the Parliamentarian; that ruling is typically subject to an appeal on which the Senate votes (unless the appeal is tabled or withdrawn). Pursuant to Rule XX, however, in certain circumstances a point of order is not ruled on by the presiding officer but is instead submitted to the Senate for its decision. A point of order that a pending matter (a bill or amendment, for example) violates the U.S. Constitution presents one such circumstance. This report explains Senate rules, precedents, and practices in regard to these constitutional points of order, including an analysis of recent cases in which such a point of order has been raised, and will be updated as events warrant.
Date: December 17, 2014
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Senate Rules Affecting Committees

Description: This report identifies and summarizes the provisions of the Senate's standing rules, standing orders, precedents, and other directives that relate to legislative activity in the Senate's standing committees. It covers four main issues: committee organization, committee meetings, hearings, and reporting.
Date: March 24, 2015
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Guide to Individuals Seated on the Senate Dais

Description: This report is a brief summary of House and Senate procedures for reaching agreement on legislation. It discusses the provisions of House Rule XXII and Senate Rule XXVIII as well as other applicable rules, precedents, and practices. The report focuses on the most common and customary procedures.
Date: March 9, 2015
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Senate Committee Hearings: Preparation

Description: Committee hearings allow Senators an opportunity to gather information on—and draw attention to—legislation and issues within a committee’s purview, conduct oversight of programs or agencies, and investigate allegations of wrongdoing. This checklist identifies, primarily for staff, many of the tasks that need to be performed by a full committee and, in most cases, subcommittees in advance of a hearing. Some of the tasks are required by Senate or committee rules; others are common committee practice. Some tasks are usually the responsibility of the committee’s majority staff, some are shared by majority and minority staff, and some are performed by a Senator’s personal office staff.
Date: March 16, 2015
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Enrollment of Legislation: Relevant Congressional Procedures

Description: This report describes the congressional procedure in the enrollment of legislation, which occurs in the chamber where the measure originated and is carried out by enrolling clerks under the supervision of the Clerk of the House of Representatives and Secretary of the Senate.
Date: May 7, 2008
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department