Standing Rules of the United States Senate, Rule XXVI

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Rule XXIV of the Standing Rules of the United States Senate, established by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, governs committee procedure.

Paragraph 1[edit]

Each standing committee, including any subcommittee of any such committee, is authorized to hold such hearings, to sit and act at such times and places during the sessions, recesses, and adjourned periods of the Senate, to require by subpoena or otherwise the attendance of such witnesses and the production of such correspondence, books, papers, and documents, to take such testimony and to make such expenditures out of the contingent fund of the Senate as may be authorized by resolutions of the Senate. Each such committee may make investigations into any matter within its jurisdiction, may report such hearings as may be had by it, and may employ stenographic assistance at a cost not exceeding the amount prescribed by the Committee on Rules and Administration. The expenses of the committee shall be paid from the contingent fund of the Senate upon vouchers approved by the chairman.

Paragraph 2[edit]

Each committee shall adopt rules (not inconsistent with the Rules of the Senate) governing the procedure of such committee. The rules of each committee shall be published in the Congressional Record not later than March 1 of the first year of each Congress, except that if any such committee is established on or after February 1 of a year, the rules of that committee during the year of establishment shall be published in the Congressional Record not later than sixty days after such establishment. Any amendment to the rules of a committee shall not take effect until the amendment is published in the Congressional Record.

Regular and special meetings[edit]

Paragraph 3 deals with regular and special meetings of committees:

Each standing committee (except the Committee on Appropriations) shall fix regular weekly, biweekly, or monthly meeting days for the transaction of business before the committee and additional meetings may be called by the chairman as he may deem necessary. If at least three members of any such committee desire that a special meeting of the committee be called by the chairman, those members may file in the offices of the committee their written request to the chairman for that special meeting. Immediately upon the filing of the request, the clerk of the committee shall notify the chairman of the filing of the request. If, within three calendar days after the filing of the request, the chairman does not call the requested special meeting, to be held within seven calendar days after the filing of the request, a majority of the members of the committee may file in the offices of the committee their written notice that a special meeting of the committee will be held, specifying the date and hour of that special meeting. The committee shall meet on that date and hour. Immediately upon the filing of the notice, the clerk of the committee shall notify all members of the committee that such special meeting will be held and inform them of its date and hour. If the chairman of any such committee is not present at any regular, additional, or special meeting of the committee, the ranking member of the majority party on the committee who is present shall preside at that meeting.

Notice of meetings and testimony[edit]

Paragraph 4 provides for notice of meetings and testimony.

(a) Each committee (except the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on the Budget) shall make public announcement of the date, place, and subject matter of any hearing to be conducted by the committee on any measure or matter at least one week before the commencement of that hearing unless the committee determines that there is good cause to begin such hearing at an earlier date.
(b) Each committee (except the Committee on Appropriations) shall require each witness who is to appear before the committee in any hearing to file with the clerk of the committee, at least one day before the date of the appearance of that witness, a written statement of his proposed testimony unless the committee chairman and the ranking minority member determine that there is good cause for noncompliance. If so requested by any committee, the staff of the committee shall prepare for the use of the members of the committee before each day of hearing before the committee a digest of the statements which have been so filed by witnesses who are to appear before the committee on that day.
(c) After the conclusion of each day of hearing, if so requested by any committee, the staff shall prepare for the use of the members of the committee a summary of the testimony given before the committee on that day. After approval by the chairman and the ranking minority member of the committee, each such summary may be printed as a part of the committee hearings if such hearings are ordered by the committee to be printed.
(d) Whenever any hearing is conducted by a committee (except the Committee on Appropriations) upon any measure or matter, the minority on the committee shall be entitled, upon request made by a majority of the minority members to the chairman before the completion of such hearing, to call witnesses selected by the minority to testify with respect to the measure or matter during at least one day of hearing thereon.

Limitation on meeting times and exceptions to public meeting requirements[edit]

Paragraph 5 places limitation on meeting times and provides all meeting shall be open to the public, with six exceptions:

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of the rules, when the Senate is in session, no committee of the Senate or any subcommittee thereof may meet, without special leave, after the conclusion of the first two hours after the meeting of the Senate commenced and in no case after two o'clock postmeridian unless consent therefor has been obtained from the majority leader and the minority leader (or in the event of the absence of either of such leaders, from his designee). The prohibition contained in the preceding sentence shall not apply to the Committee on Appropriations or the Committee on the Budget. The majority leader or his designee shall announce to the Senate whenever consent has been given under this subparagraph and shall state the time and place of such meeting. The right to make such announcement of consent shall have the same priority as the filing of a cloture motion.
(b) Each meeting of a committee, or any subcommittee thereof, including meetings to conduct hearings, shall be open to the public, except that a meeting or series of meetings by a committee or a subcommittee thereof on the same subject for a period of no more than fourteen calendar days may be closed to the public on a motion made and seconded to go into closed session to discuss only whether the matters enumerated in clauses (1) through (6) would require the meeting to be closed, followed immediately by a record vote in open session by a majority of the members of the committee or subcommittee when it is determined that the matters to be discussed or the testimony to be taken at such meeting or meetings
(1) will disclose matters necessary to be kept secret in the interests of national defense or the confidential conduct of the foreign relations of the United States;
(2) will relate solely to matters of committee staff personnel or internal staff management or procedure;
(3) will tend to charge an individual with crime or misconduct, to disgrace or injure the professional standing of an individual, or otherwise to expose an individual to public contempt or obloquy, or will represent a clearly unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual;
(4) will disclose the identity of any informer or law enforcement agent or will disclose any information relating to the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense that is required to be kept secret in the interests of effective law enforcement;
(5) will disclose information relating to the trade secrets of financial or commercial information pertaining specifically to a given person if
(A) an Act of Congress requires the information to be kept confidential by Government officers and employees; or
(B) the information has been obtained by the Government on a confidential basis, other than through an application by such person for a specific Government financial or other benefit, and is required to be kept secret in order to prevent undue injury to the competitive position of such person; or
(6) may divulge matters required to be kept confidential under other provisions of law or Government regulations.
(c) Whenever any hearing conducted by any such committee or subcommittee is open to the public, that hearing may be broadcast by radio or television, or both, under such rules as the committee or subcommittee may adopt.
(d) Whenever disorder arises during a committee meeting that is open to the public, or any demonstration of approval or disapproval is indulged in by any person in attendance at any such meeting, it shall be the duty of the Chair to enforce order on his own initiative and without any point of order being made by a Senator. When the Chair finds it necessary to maintain order, he shall have the power to clear the room, and the committee may act in closed session for so long as there is doubt of the assurance of order.
(e) Each committee shall prepare and keep a complete transcript or electronic recording adequate to fully record the proceeding of each meeting or conference whether or not such meeting or any part thereof is closed under this paragraph, unless a majority of its members vote to forgo such a record.

Committee and subcommittee meeting periods[edit]

Paragraph 6 sets meeting periods.

Morning meetings of committees and subcommittees thereof shall be scheduled for one or both of the periods prescribed in this paragraph. The first period shall end at eleven o'clock antemeridian. The second period shall begin at eleven o'clock antemeridian and end at two o'clock postmeridian.

Voting procedure[edit]

Paragraph 7 deals with voting procedures:

(a)
(1) Except as provided in this paragraph, each committee, and each subcommittee thereof is authorized to fix the number of its members (but not less than one-third of its entire membership) who shall constitute a quorum thereof for the transaction of such business as may be considered by said committee, except that no measure or matter or recommendation shall be reported from any committee unless a majority of the committee were physically present.
(2) Each such committee, or subcommittee, is authorized to fix a lesser number than one-third of its entire membership who shall constitute a quorum thereof for the purpose of taking sworn testimony.
(3) The vote of any committee to report a measure or matter shall require the concurrence of a majority of the members of the committee who are present. No vote of any member of any committee to report a measure or matter may be cast by proxy if rules adopted by such committee forbid the casting of votes for that purpose by proxy; however, proxies may not be voted when the absent committee member has not been informed of the matter on which he is being recorded and has not affirmatively requested that he be so recorded. 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 on the ground that such previous action with respect thereto by such committee was not taken in compliance with such requirements.
(b) Each committee (except the Committee on Appropriations) shall keep a complete record of all committee action. Such record shall include a record of the votes on any question on which a record vote is demanded. The results of rollcall votes taken in any meeting of any committee upon any measure, or any amendment thereto, shall be announced in the committee report on that measure unless previously announced by the committee, and such announcement shall include a tabulation of the votes cast in favor of and the votes cast in opposition to each such measure and amendment by each member of the committee who was present at that meeting.
(c) Whenever any committee by roll call vote reports any measure or matter, the report of the committee upon such measure or matter shall include a tabulation of the votes cast by each member of the committee in favor of and in opposition to such measure or matter. Nothing contained in this subparagraph shall abrogate the power of any committee to adopt rules (2) providing in accordance with subparagraph (a) for a lesser number as a quorum for any action other than the reporting of a measure or matter.

Review and study of matters within committee jurisdiction[edit]

Paragraph 8 provides for the review and study of matters within committee jurisdiction.

(a) In order to assist the Senate in --
(1) its analysis, appraisal, and evaluation of the application, administration, and execution of the laws enacted by the Congress, and
(2) its formulation, consideration, and enactment of such modifications of or changes in those laws, and of such additional legislation, as may be necessary or appropriate, each standing committee (except the Committees on Appropriations and the Budget), shall review and study, on a continuing basis the application, administration, and execution of those laws, or parts of laws, the subject matter of which is within the legislative jurisdiction of that committee. Such committees may carry out the required analysis, appraisal, and evaluation themselves, or by contract, or may require a Government agency to do so and furnish a report thereon to the Senate. Such committees may rely on such techniques as pilot testing, analysis of costs in comparison with benefits, or provision for evaluation after a defined period of time.
(b) In each odd-numbered year, each such committee shall submit, not later than March 31, to the Senate, a report on the activities of that committee under this paragraph during the Congress ending at noon on January 3 of such year.

Paragraph 9[edit]

(a) Except as provided in subparagraph (b), each committee shall report one authorization resolution each year authorizing the committee to make expenditures out of the contingent fund of the Senate to defray its expenses, including the compensation of members of its staff and agency contributions related to such compensation, during the period beginning on March 1 of such year and ending on the last day of February of the following year. Such annual authorization resolution shall be reported not later than January 31 of each year, except that, whenever the designation of members of standing committees of the Senate occurs during the first session of a Congress at a date later than January 20, such resolution may be reported at any time within thirty days after the date on which the designation of such members is completed. After the annual authorization resolution of a committee for a year has been agreed to, such committee may procure authorization to make additional expenditures out of the contingent fund of the Senate during that year only by reporting a supplemental authorization resolution. Each supplemental authorization resolution reportedby a committee shall amend the annual authorization resolution of such committee for that year and shall be accompanied by a report specifying with particularity the purpose for which such authorization is sought and the reason why such authorization could not have been sought at the time of the submission by such committee of its annual authorization resolution for that year.
(b) In lieu of the procedure provided in subparagraph (a), the Committee on Rules and Administration may
(1) direct each committee to report an authorization resolution for a two-year budget period beginning on March 1 of the first session of a Congress; and
(2) report one authorization resolution containing more than one committee authorization resolution for a one-year or two-year budget period.

Paragraph 10[edit]

(a) All committee hearings, records, data, charts, and files shall be kept separate and distinct from the congressional office records of the Member serving as chairman of the committee; and such records shall be the property of the Senate and all members of the committee and the Senate shall have access to such records. Each committee is authorized to have printed and bound such testimony and other data presented at hearings held by the committee.
(b) It shall be the duty of the chairman of each committee to report or cause to be reported promptly to the Senate any measure approved by his committee and to take or cause to be taken necessary steps to bring the matter to a vote. In any event, the report of any committee upon a measure which has been approved by the committee shall be filed within seven calendar days (exclusive of days on which the Senate is not in session) after the day on which there has been filed with the clerk of the committee a written and signed request of a majority of the committee for the reporting of that measure. Upon the filing of any such request, the clerk of the committee shall transmit immediately to the chairman of the committee notice of the filing of that request. This subparagraph does not apply to the Committee on Appropriations.
(c) If at the time of approval of a measure or matter by any committee (except for the Committee on Appropriations), any member of the committee gives notice of intention to file supplemental, minority, or additional views, that member shall be entitled to not less than three calendar days in which to file such views, in writing, with the clerk of the committee. All such views so filed by one or more members of the committee shall be included within, and shall be a part of, the report filed by the committee with respect to that measure or matter. The report of the committee upon that measure or matter shall be printed in a single volume which
(1) shall include all supplemental, minority, or additional views which have been submitted by the time of the filing of the report, and
(2) shall bear upon its cover a recital that supplemental, minority, or additional views are included as part of the report.

This subparagraph does not preclude

(A) the immediate filing and printing of a committee report unless timely request for the opportunity to file supplemental, minority, or additional views has been made as provided by this subparagraph; or
(B) the filing by any such committee of any supplemental report upon any measure or matter which may be required for the correction of any technical error in a previous report made by that committee upon that measure or matter.

Paragraph 11[edit]

(a) The report accompanying each bill or joint resolution of a public character reported by any committee (except the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on the Budget) shall contain
(1) an estimate, made by such committee, of the costs which would be incurred in carrying out such bill or joint resolution in the fiscal year in which it is reported and in each of the five fiscal years following such fiscal year (or for the authorized duration of any program authorized by such bill or joint resolution, if less than five years), except that, in the case of measures affecting the revenues, such reports shall require only an estimate of the gain or loss in revenues for a oneyear period; and
(2) a comparison of the estimate of costs described in subparagraph (1) made by such committee with any estimate of costs made by any Federal agency; or
(3) in lieu of such estimate or comparison, or both, a statement of the reasons why compliance by the committee with the requirements of subparagraph (1) or (2), or both, is impracticable.
(b) Each such report (except those by the Committee on Appropriations) shall also contain
(1) an evaluation, made by such committee, of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in carrying out the bill or joint resolution. The evaluation shall include (A) an estimate of the numbers of individuals and businesses who would be regulated and a determination of the groups and classes of such individuals and businesses, (B) a determination of the economic impact of such regulation on the individuals, consumers, and businesses affected, (C) a determination of the impact on the personal privacy of the individuals affected, and (D) a determination of the amount of additional paperwork that will result from the regulations to be promulgated pursuant to the bill or joint resolution, which determination may include, but need not be limited to, estimates of the amount of time and financial costs required of affected parties, showing whether the effects of the bill or joint resolution could be substantial, as well as reasonable estimates of the recordkeeping requirements that may be associated with the bill or joint resolution; or
(2) in lieu of such evaluation, a statement of the reasons why compliance by the committee with the requirements of clause (1) is impracticable.
(c) It shall not be in order for the Senate to consider any such bill or joint resolution if the report of the committee on such bill or joint resolution does not comply with the provisions of subparagraphs (a) and (b) on the objection of any Senator.

Paragraph 12[edit]

Whenever a committee reports a bill or a joint resolution repealing or amending any statute or part thereof it shall make a report thereon and shall include in such report or in an accompanying document (to be prepared by the staff of such committee) (a) the text of the statute or part thereof which is proposed to be repealed; and (b) a comparative print of that part of the bill or joint resolution making the amendment and of the statute or part thereof proposed to be amended, showing by stricken through type and italics, parallel columns, or other appropriate typographical devices the omissions and insertions which would be made by the bill or joint resolution if enacted in the form recommended by the committee. This paragraph shall not apply to any such report in which it is stated that, in the opinion of the committee, it is necessary to dispense with the requirements of this subsection to expedite the business of the Senate.

Paragraph 13[edit]

(a) Each committee (except the Committee on Appropriations) which has legislative jurisdiction shall, in its consideration of all bills and joint resolutions of a public character within its jurisdiction, endeavor to insure that
(1) all continuing programs of the Federal Government and of the government of the District of Columbia, within the jurisdiction of such committee or joint committee, are designed; and
(2) all continuing activities of Federal agencies, within the jurisdiction of such committee or joint committee, are carried on; so that, to the extent consistent with the nature, requirements, and objectives of those programs and activities, appropriations therefor will be made annually.
(b) Each committee (except the Committee on Appropriations) shall with respect to any continuing program within its jurisdiction for which appropriations are not made annually, review such program, from time to time, in order to ascertain whether such program could be modified so that appropriations therefore would be made annually.