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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

Closing a Congressional Office: Overview of House and Senate Practices

Description: Turnover of membership in the House and Senate necessitates closing congressional offices. The closure of a congressional office requires an outgoing Member of Congress to evaluate pertinent information regarding his or her staff; the disposal of personal and official records; and final disposition of office accounts, facilities, and equipment. This report is designed to address questions that arise when a congressional office is closing.
Date: December 5, 2014
Creator: Petersen, R. Eric
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

The Budget Reconciliation Process: The Senate's "Byrd Rule"

Description: Reconciliation is a procedure under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 by which Congress implements budget resolution policies affecting mainly permanent spending and revenue programs. The principal focus in the reconciliation process has been deficit reduction, but in recent years reconciliation has encompassed revenue reduction generally and spending increases in selected program areas. This report discusses the Byrd rule, which provides six definitions of what constitutes extraneous matter for purposes of the rule (and several exceptions thereto), but the term is generally described as covering provisions unrelated to achieving the goals of the reconciliation instructions.
Date: July 2, 2010
Creator: Keith, Robert
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

Proposals to Change the Operation of Cloture in the Senate

Description: This report provides a brief history of the Senate cloture rule, explains its main features and the arguments made by supporters and opponents of these features, outlines a range of proposals to change its operation, and briefly explains the methods by which the Senate might change its rules or practices.
Date: July 27, 2010
Creator: Davis, Christopher M.; Heitshusen, Valerie & Palmer, Betsy
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

A Parliamentary-Style Question Period: Proposals and Issues for Congress

Description: This report surveys how question periods are conducted in Britain and other parliamentary democracies, examines previous proposals for question periods in the United States, considers potential advantages and disadvantages of a question period, and outlines some legislative considerations for policymakers considering a question period for Congress.
Date: July 29, 2008
Creator: Glassman, Matthew E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

House and Senate Rules of Procedure: A Comparison

Description: This report compares selected House and Senate rules of procedure for various stages of the legislative process: referral of legislation to committees; scheduling and calling up measures; and floor consideration. No attempt is made to present a comprehensive discussion of how both chambers operate.
Date: April 16, 2008
Creator: Schneider, Judy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Evolution of the Senate's Role in the Nomination and Confirmation Process: A Brief History

Description: This report discusses the process of Advice and Consent in the Senate. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states that the President "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other Public Ministers and Counsels, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all Other Officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law…."
Date: July 2, 2008
Creator: Palmer, Betsy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A Survey of House and Senate Committee Rules on Subpoenas

Description: This report surveys House committees' subpoena rules first and then Senate committees' subpoena rules. Both surveys begin with a brief description of chamber rules, followed by a short summary of that chamber's committees' rules that are related to subpoenas but do not directly pertain to authorizing or issuing subpoenas.
Date: October 26, 2015
Creator: Koempel, Michael L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Senate Confirmation Process: An Overview

Description: This report briefly describes the role of the Senate in the confirmation process, defined in the Constitution; Article II, Section 2 provides that the President "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint high government officials."
Date: April 4, 2003
Creator: Tong, Lorraine H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Going to Conference in the Senate

Description: This report discusses the steps that the Senate must take, and one more step that it may take, as it arranges to send a bill to conference committee.
Date: April 21, 2003
Creator: Rybicki, Elizabeth & Bach, Stanley
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: February 28, 2003
Creator: Bach, Stanley & Palmer, Betsy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Amendments in the Senate: Types and Forms

Description: This report briefly describes the various types of amendments that take place in the Senate. It has sections describing distinctions among amendments, degrees of amendments, forms of amendments, and the scope of amendments.
Date: November 2, 2004
Creator: Saturno, James V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

House and Senate Rules of Procedure: A Comparison

Description: This report compares selected House and Senate rules of procedure governing various stages of the legislative process: referral of legislation to committees; scheduling and calling up measures; and floor consideration. The appendices provide sources of additional information about House and Senate rules of procedure.
Date: April 7, 1999
Creator: Rundquist, Paul; Schneider, Judy & Tong, Lorraine H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Preparation for Senate Committee Markup

Description: This report briefly discusses the preparation which precedes the legislative stage during which a committee chooses the language of a measure it expects to report to the Senate, called "markups." Markups are carefully planned in advance to insure that the requirements of Senate rules have been met, political decisions have been made, and administrative issues have been addressed.
Date: January 5, 2005
Creator: Carr, Thomas P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Sponsorship and Cosponsorship of Senate Bills

Description: This report discusses the sponsorship and co-sponsorship of Senate bills. A Senator who introduces a bill or other measure in the Senate is called its sponsor. Senators may together submit a bill, but the first-named Senator is considered the chief sponsor; the others are considered cosponsors.
Date: June 21, 2004
Creator: Sachs, Richard C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Senate Committee Reports: Required Contents

Description: This report briefly describes Senate rules and statutes that specify information that must be included as part of the written report about the purposes and provisions of a proposed measure. Senate committees also may include additional items in their reports.
Date: October 22, 2004
Creator: Carr, Thomas P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department