Order Code 98-438
Updated December 21, 2006
The Senate’s Executive Calendar1
Analyst in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
Treaties and nominations constitute the executive business of the Senate and are the
subjects of the Senate’s Executive Calendar. When a Senate committee reports a treaty
or nomination, it is said to be placed “on the calendar” and is eligible for floor
consideration. It is not in order for the majority leader or any other Senator to move that
the Senate proceed to the consideration of a treaty or nomination that is not on the
calendar, though the leader could ask unanimous consent to do so. If a treaty or
nomination is not on the calendar, either it remains in the possession of the committee to
which it was referred, or it is being “held at the desk” by unanimous consent and awaiting
a decision to refer it to committee or to bring it directly to the floor for consideration by
unanimous consent. See [http://www.crs.gov/products/guides/guidehome.shtml] for more
information on legislative process.
The Senate’s other calendar, the Calendar of Business, identifies the bills,
resolutions, and other items of legislative business eligible for consideration (see CRS
Report 98-429, The Senate’s Calendar of Business). Both the Calendar of Business and
the Executive Calendar are published each day the Senate is in session and distributed to
Senators’ personal offices and all committee and subcommittee offices. There are no
cumulative issues of the Executive Calendar, each issue documents the Senate’s
legislative business as of its publication. The Executive Calendar is available on the
Legislative Information System website, [http://www.congress.gov/schedules/slegis.html].
Each issue of the Executive Calendar contains five sections.
First, the calendar presents the texts of any unanimous consent agreements
concerning executive business that have not yet been fully implemented. Such
agreements may control when the Senate will begin consideration of a treaty or
nomination, for example, or how long Senators can debate it.
Second, the calendar lists any Senate executive resolutions that concern executive
business. A measure to discharge a committee from further consideration of a treaty or
nomination, for example, would be an executive resolution, which are used very rarely.
This report was written by Stanley Bach, formerly a Senior Specialist in the Legislative Process
at CRS. Dr. Bach has retired, but the listed author updated the report and is available to answer
questions concerning its contents.
Third, the calendar lists all treaties that have been reported from committee. A
treaty becomes eligible for floor consideration on the day after it is placed on the calendar.
For each treaty, this list provides:
the treaty’s calendar number, reflecting the chronological order in which
it was placed on the calendar.
the treaty document number, which is the number assigned to the Senate
document containing the text of the treaty and any accompanying
documents that were submitted to the Senate. Each treaty document is
assigned a number that identifies the Congress during which the
President submitted the treaty and the order in which treaties were
submitted during that Congress. Treaty Doc. 105-2 would refer to the
second treaty submitted to the Senate during the 105th Congress (unlike
nominations and bills, treaties remain before the Senate from one
Congress to the next).
the subject of the treaty.
information on how the treaty was reported, such as when and by whom
it was reported; whether the Foreign Relations Committee reported it
favorably, unfavorably, or without recommendation; whether the
committee recommended that the Senate adopt any amendments or any
reservations, conditions, declarations, understandings, or other
statements; and the number of the printed committee report, if any.
Fourth, the calendar lists nominations that have been reported from committee.
Except by unanimous consent, the Senate may not begin floor consideration of a
nomination until it has been on the calendar for at least one day. Any nominations
appearing in the calendar for the first time are listed under the heading of “new reports.”
For each nomination, this section of the calendar identifies:
the calendar number that is assigned to each nomination in the order in
which it is placed on the calendar.
the number of the presidential message by which the nomination was
transmitted to the Senate.
the name of the nominee, the office to which he or she has been
nominated, and the name of the predecessor in that office.
information on how the nomination was reported, such as when and by
whom it was reported, which committee reported it, whether the
committee reported it favorably, unfavorably, or without
recommendation, and the number of the printed committee report, if any.
Fifth, the calendar identifies lists of nominations placed on the secretary’s desk.
These are routine nominations — in the armed services, the Coast Guard, the Public
Health Service, and the Foreign Service, for example — that the Senate normally
considers and approves by unanimous consent without committee action. When the
Senate receives such nominations, they are printed in the Congressional Record for the
information of all Senators. After being printed in the Record, these nominations are
identified in the Executive Calendar by entries such as “Foreign Service nominations
beginning John C. Kornblum, and ending William L. Young, which nominations were
received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record of September 19, 1996.”