Standing Rules of the United States Senate, Rule VII

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Rule VII of the Standing Rules of the United States Senate, established by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, governs morning business and the opening of a legislative day in the Senate.

Opening a legislative day[edit]

Paragraph 1 states on each legislative day after the Senate Journal is read, the Presiding Officer on demand of any Senator shall lay before the Senate messages from the President of the United States, reports and communications from the heads of executive departments, and other communications addressed to the Senate, and such bills, joint resolutions, and other messages from the House of Representatives as may remain upon his table from any previous day's session undisposed of. The Presiding Officer on demand of any Senator shall then call for, in the following order:

  1. The presentation of petitions and memorials.
  2. Reports of committees.
  3. The introduction of bills and joint resolutions.
  4. The submission of other resolutions.
  5. All of which shall be received and disposed of in such order, unless unanimous consent shall be otherwise given, with newly offered resolutions being called for before resolutions coming over from a previous legislative day are laid before the Senate.

Conclusion of morning business[edit]

Paragraph 2 states the Presiding Officer cannot consider any motions to proceed with any bill, resolution, report of a committee, or other subjects on the calendar until the morning business has been concluded and announced from the Chair, or until one hour after the Senate convenes at the beginning of a new legislative day. The exception is by unanimous consent provided that on Mondays which are the beginning of a legislative day the calendar shall be called under Rule VIII, and until two hours after the Senate convenes.

Laying of a bill[edit]

Paragraph 3 states that at any time, the Presiding Officer may lay any bill or other matter sent to the Senate by the President or the House of Representatives for appropriate action allowed under the rules and any question pending at that time shall be suspended for this purpose. It shall be in order at any time for a Senator to move to lay, before the Senate. Any motion so made shall be determined without debate.

Petitions and memorials[edit]

Paragraph 4 states that petitions or memorials shall be referred to the appropriate committee according to subject matter on the same basis as bills and resolutions without debate if signed by the petitioner or memorialist. A question of receiving or reference may be raised and determined without debate. No petition or memorial or other paper signed by citizens or subjects of a foreign power shall be received unless transmitted to the Senate by the President of the United States.

Printing rule for petitions and memorials[edit]

Paragraph 5 states that only a brief statement of the contents of petitions and memorials shall be printed in the Congressional Record. No other portion of any petition or memorial shall be printed in the Record unless specifically ordered by vote of the Senate and as provided for in paragraph 4 of Rule XI. The order shall be deemed to apply to the body of the petition or memorial only. Any names attached to the petition or memorial shall not be printed unless specially ordered. The exceptions are petitions and memorials from the legislatures or conventions of the respective states, territories, and insular possessions, lawfully called for, shall be printed in full in the Record whenever presented.

Delivery and endorsement[edit]

Paragraph 6 states that Senators having petitions, memorials, bills, or resolutions to present after the morning hour may deliver them in the absence of objection to the Presiding Officer's desk. These items must be endorsed with their names, and with the approval of the Presiding Officer, they shall be entered on the Senate Journal with the names of the Senators presenting them. In the absence of objection, these items shall be considered as having been read twice and referred to the appropriate committees. A transcript of these entries shall be furnished to the official reporter of debates for publication in the Congressional Record, under the direction of the Secretary of the United States Senate.