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The Joint Committee (German: Gemeinsamer Ausschuss) is a special body in the constitutional and institutional system of Germany established by Article 53a of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (Grundgesetz, GG). It exists to ensure a functioning legislature during a constitutionally established and declared state of defense. During a state of defense, as well as prior to its declaration, the Federal Government must inform the committee about its plans.
The joint committee consists of members of the Bundestag (two-thirds) and members of the Bundesrat (one third). Each Land may appoint any member of the Bundesrat that it wishes to represent it in the committee, but unlike in the Bundesrat, where states may give instructions on voting on each matter to its respective delegations, each state cannot give binding instructions to its representative in the Gemeinsamer Ausschuss. The powers of the joint committee are restricted in such a way that they cannot be abused to exploit the special circumstances to abolish the constitutional order.
Even with the joint committee working under a state of defense, the Bundestag's other members may still meet, as well as can other committees of the Bundestag, and members of the Federal Government can still continue to be required to attend any of these meetings as well.
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