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How Measures Are Brought to the Senate Floor: A Brief Introduction

Description: This report discusses two basic methods that are used by the Senate to bring legislation to the floor for consideration. The Senate, at the majority leader's request, grants unanimous consent to take up a matter or agrees to his motion to proceed to consider it. Because the motion to proceed is subject to debate in most circumstances, it is less frequently used. Both methods are derived from the basic premise that the Senate as a body may decide what matters it considers.
Date: November 25, 2013
Creator: Davis, Christopher M.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Invoking Cloture in the Senate

Description: This report discusses cloture, the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to set an end to a debate without also rejecting the bill, amendment, conference report, motion, or other matter it has been debating.
Date: November 25, 2013
Creator: Davis, Christopher M.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Majority Cloture for Nominations: Implications and the "Nuclear" Proceedings

Description: This report explains the procedural context within which the precedent was set and addresses the precedent's effects on floor consideration of nominations (as well as noting other potential effects on the nominations process). In addition, since the parliamentary circumstances under which the precedent was set fall within proceedings often called the "nuclear option," the report concludes by briefly noting the precedent's relevance for future proposals to alter or reinterpret Senate rules through the establishment of new precedent.
Date: December 6, 2013
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Senate Consideration of Presidential Nominations: Committee and Floor Procedure

Description: This report describes the process by which the Senate provides advice and consent on presidential nominations, including receipt and referral of nominations, committee practices, and floor procedure. The report was updated to reflect the changes resulting from Senate actions on November 21, 2013.
Date: November 25, 2013
Creator: Rybicki, Elizabeth
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Amending Process in the Senate

Description: This report is intended to provide an overview of the fundamentals of the Senate amendment process. It summarizes many of the rules, precedents, and practices of the Senate affecting the consideration of amendments to measures on the floor.
Date: March 15, 2013
Creator: Davis, Christopher M.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

"Holds" in the Senate

Description: This report discusses a wide range of proposals aimed at reforming holds (an informal practice among Senators to communicate policy views and scheduling preferences) to infuse more accountability, uniformity, and transparency in their use and to make it clear that holds are not a veto on the majority leader's prerogative of calling up measures or matters.
Date: May 22, 2014
Creator: Oleszek, Mark J.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Senate Rules Restricting the Content of Conference Reports

Description: This report discusses two Senate rules that affect the authority of conferees to include in their report matter that was not passed by the House or Senate before the conference committee was appointed.
Date: May 21, 2014
Creator: Rybicki, Elizabeth
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

"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
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
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.
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Budget Enforcement Procedures: Senate Pay- As-You-Go (PAYGO) Rule

Description: This report discusses the Senate pay-as-you-go, or PAYGO, rule which generally requires that any legislation projected to increase direct spending or reduce revenues must also include equivalent amounts of direct spending cuts, revenue increases, or a combination of the two, so that the legislation does not increase the on-budget deficit over a six-year period and an 11-year period.
Date: January 12, 2010
Creator: Heniff, Bill, Jr.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

"Holds" in the Senate

Description: This report discusses a wide range of proposals aimed at reforming holds (an informal practice among Senators to communicate policy views and scheduling preferences) to infuse more accountability, uniformity, and transparency in their use and to make it clear that holds are not a veto on the majority leader's prerogative of calling up measures or matters.
Date: March 19, 2015
Creator: Oleszek, Mark J.
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department