Order Code RS21363 Updated February 20, 2008 Legislative Procedure in Congress: Basic Sources for Congressional Staff Jennifer E. Manning Information Research Specialist Knowledge Services Group Summary Written for congressional staff, this report identifies and provides website addresses (when available) of official government sources for information on the legislative process and the rules and procedure of the House and Senate. References to selected CRS products are also provided, as well as a listing of selected titles for supplementary reading. Information is offered on the CRS legislative institutes. This report will be updated as new information is available. Understanding legislative procedure and processes is essential for congressional staff. The publications and websites listed here are key resources that congressional staff should be familiar with in order to understand basic legislative procedure in the House and Senate.1 House/Senate Sources Congressional staff can find official overviews and explanatory information on the legislative process within the U.S. House of Representatives on the House website at [http://www.house.gov/house/Tying_it_all.html]. Information on the legislative process within the U.S. Senate is available on the Senate website at [http://www.senate.gov/ pagelayout/legislative/d_three_sections_with_teasers/process.htm]. Available reference sources on the rules and procedure of the House and Senate are listed below. House Rules and Procedure Constitution, Jefferson’s Manual, and Rules of the House of Representatives. Washington: GPO, 2007. 1 Alexis Donovan provided research assistance for this report. CRS-2 This publication, often referred to as House Rules and Manual, is prepared for each Congress by the House Parliamentarian and is issued as a House document, most recently for the 110th Congress as H.Doc. 109-157, which is available online at [http://www.gpoaccess.gov/hrm/index.html]. It includes the text of the Constitution; the rules of the House and portions of Jefferson’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice currently pertinent to House procedure, each with commentary summarizing applicable precedents; a portion of the Congressional Budget Act; and other statutory provisions that operate as procedural rules. Copies are automatically distributed to House offices. House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents, and Procedures of the House. Washington: GPO, 2003. This one-volume publication prepared by William Holmes Brown and updated by Charles W. Johnson, both past House Parliamentarians, provides more current summary information on House rules and selected precedents than Procedure in the U.S. House of Representatives (see next entry). Organized alphabetically by topic, it reflects changes in the House rules and procedure adopted as of the 108th Congress. This is sometimes referred to as Brown’s. The full text is available online at [http://www.gpo access.gov/hpractice/]. The Office of the House Parliamentarian (5-7373) has a limited number of copies to distribute to House offices upon request. Procedure in the U.S. House of Representatives, 97th Congress: A Summary of the Modern Precedents and Practices of the House, 86th Congress-97th Congress. Washington: GPO, 1982. Frequently referred to as Deschler’s Procedure, after a former Parliamentarian of the House, this one-volume work summarizes House procedure and provides a cumulated, condensed version of House precedents from 1959 to 1980. A 1986 supplement, Procedure in the United States House of Representatives: Annotations of the Precedents of the House for the 97th, 98th, and 99th Congresses, covers 1981 through 1986. Both publications are out of print, but House offices can obtain copies from the Office of the House Parliamentarian (5-7373). These publications are not available on the Internet, but the full text of the multivolume Deschler’s Precedents of the U.S. House of Representatives is online at [http://www.gpoaccess.gov/precedents/deschler/index.html]. Related multivolume sets of House precedents are Cannon’s Precedents online at [http://www.gpoaccess.gov/precedents/cannon/index.html] and Hinds’ Precedents at [http://www.gpoaccess.gov/precedents/hinds/index.html]. Senate Rules and Procedure Senate Manual. Washington: GPO, 2003. This manual, usually prepared during the second session of each Congress by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, contains the standing rules, orders, laws, and resolutions affecting the Senate, as well as copies of historical U.S. documents and selected statistics on the Senate and other government entities. Issued as S.Doc. 1, copies are automatically distributed to Senate offices. The full text is available online at [http://www.gpoaccess.gov/smanual/index.html]. A current edition of just the Standing Rules of the Senate is available on the committee’s website at [http://rules.senate.gov/senaterules/]. Riddick, Floyd M., and Alan S. Frumin. Riddick’s Senate Procedure: Precedents and Practices. Washington: GPO, 1992. CRS-3 This publication was revised and updated in 1992 by the Parliamentarian of the Senate and published as S.Doc. 101-28. Organized alphabetically by topic, it contains currently applicable rulings by the presiding officer and practices related to Senate procedure. An appendix has suggested forms for various procedures, for example, offering motions or filing conference reports. The full text of Riddick’s is available online at [http://www.gpoaccess.gov/riddick/index.html]. Senate Cloture Rule. Washington: GPO, 1985. This committee print (S.Prt. 99-95) was prepared for the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration by the Congressional Research Service. It includes lists of selected filibusters; tables of cloture votes; a legislative history of the cloture rule; and a bibliography. This publication is not available on the Internet, but Members of Congress can obtain copies from the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration (4-6352) or the Congressional Research Service (7-5700). Lists of cloture votes from the 92nd Congress forward are also available on the Senate website’s “Cloture” page at [http://www.senate.gov/reference/reference_index_subjects/Cloture_vrd.htm]. Primers on the Legislative Process and Related Documents Our American Government. Washington: GPO, 2003. (H.Doc. 108-94) This revised version of the popular introductory guide is written in a question-andanswer format that covers a broad range of topics dealing with the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of our government. Its appendixes contain a glossary of legislative terms and a selective bibliography. Copies of each new edition are automatically distributed to congressional offices. The current edition is available online at [http://www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/cdocuments/108cat1.html] and also at [http://usinfo.state.gov/infousa/government/overview/docs/ouramgov.pdf]. Members of Congress can also obtain printed copies of the current edition from the House Legislative Resource Center and the Senate Document Room. The Constitution of the United States of America As Amended: Unratified Amendments: Analytical Index. Washington: GPO, 2003. (H.Doc. 108-95) This revised version contains the text of the Constitution, its amendments, and a very useful index to the Constitution and amendments. The full text, with its periodic supplements, is available online at [http://www.gpoaccess.gov/constitution/index.html]. Dove, Robert B. Enactment of a Law: Procedural Steps in the Legislative Process. Washington: GPO, 1982. Prepared by the Senate Parliamentarian, this primer on the legislative process traces procedures used in the Senate and the House of Representatives. No printed copies are available, but it was updated in 1997 and is available full text on the Senate website at [http://www.senate.gov/legislative/common/briefing/Enactment_law.htm], as well as on THOMAS, the Library of Congress public website, at [http://thomas.loc.gov/home/ enactment/enactlawtoc.html]. Johnson, Charles W. How Our Laws Are Made. Washington: GPO, 2003. (H. Doc. 108-93) This guide is updated periodically (most recently as H.Doc. 108-93) and is available on the THOMAS website at [http://thomas.loc.gov/home/lawsmade.toc.html]. This pamphlet outlines stages in the legislative process for the generalist and explains the uses CRS-4 of various publications, which track that process. It is prepared by the Parliamentarian of the House in consultation with the Parliamentarian of the Senate. Copies of new editions are automatically distributed to congressional offices, and can also be obtained from the House Legislative Resource Center and the Senate Document Room. CRS Sources CRS has a variety of resources and services available on legislative procedure. The CRS website is available for the use of Members of Congress and congressional staff at [http://www.crs.gov]. CRS products are found there, plus links to the Legislative Information System (LIS), and a “Legislative Reference Sources” page at [http://www.crs.gov/reference/general/legislative/legref.shtml]. Members of Congress and congressional staff may obtain useful CRS materials on legislative procedure from the “CRS Guides to Congressional Processes” page on the CRS website at [http://www.crs.gov/products/guides/guidehome.shtml]. Short one- or two-page fact sheets on House procedure are available under the heading “Fact Sheets: House Legislative Process” at [http://www.crs.gov/products/guides/legproc/factsheets/ MenuHouseFactSheets.shtml]. Fact sheets on Senate procedure are available under the heading “Fact Sheets: Senate Legislative Process” at [http://www.crs.gov/products/ guides/legproc/factsheets/MenuSenateFactSheets.shtml]. The “CRS Guides to Congressional Processes” Web page also includes a legislative glossary and an online introductory video about legislative procedure. Selected CRS Reports CRS Report 98-812. Amendments Between the Houses. CRS Report 98-706. Bills and Resolutions: Examples of How Each Kind Is Used. CRS Report 98-728. Bills, Resolutions, Nominations, and Treaties: Origins, Deadlines, Requirements, and Uses. CRS Report RS20147. Committee of the Whole: An Introduction. CRS Report RS20794. The Committee System in the U.S. Congress. CRS Report 98-736. Floor Consideration of Conference Reports in the House. CRS Report RS20200. General Debate In Committee of the Whole. CRS Report 98-777. The House Amendment Tree. CRS Report RL30945. House and Senate Rules of Procedure: A Comparison. CRS Report 98-175. House Committee Jurisdiction and Referral: Rules and Practice. CRS Report RS20308. House Committee Markups: Commonly Used Motions and Requests. CRS-5 CRS Report 98-309. House Legislative Procedures: Published Sources of Information. CRS Report 98-458. Introducing a House Bill or Resolution. CRS Report 98-459. Introducing a Senate Bill or Resolution. CRS Report 98-721. Introduction to the Federal Budget Process. CRS Report 98-425. Invoking Cloture in the Senate. CRS Report 95-563. The Legislative Process on the House Floor: An Introduction. CRS Report 96-548. The Legislative Process on the Senate Floor: An Introduction. CRS Report RL30787. Parliamentary Reference Sources: House of Representatives. CRS Report RL30788. Parliamentary Reference Sources: Senate. CRS Report 98-143. Procedural Distinctions Between the House and the Committee of the Whole. CRS Report 98-337. Senate Committee Hearings: Scheduling and Notification. CRS Report 98-308. Senate Legislative Procedures: Published Sources of Information. CRS Report 98-612. Special Rules and Options for Regulating the Amending Process. CRS Report RS22477. Sponsorship and Cosponsorship of House Bills. CRS Report 98-279. Sponsorship and Cosponsorship of Senate Bills. In addition to legislative procedure material, CRS offers several programs on legislative procedure for congressional staff. Legislative staff can attend Congress: An Introduction to Resources and Procedure, an introductory CRS program designed for and offered only to permanent, professional Hill staff who seek a foundation for understanding the legislative process and the resources available to monitor it. This CRS program is offered 10 or more times a year and is the first of the CRS Legislative Process Institutes, a three-part series providing training in the legislative process. The other parts are the Advanced Legislative Process Institute and the Graduate Institute (the “CRS Congress”). Attendance at Congress: An Introduction to Resources and Procedure is recommended as a prerequisite for the CRS Advanced Legislative Process Institutes. More information on the three CRS institutes is available on the CRS website at [http://www.crs.gov/services/general/briefings.shtml] or by telephone at 7-7904. CRS also offers a monthly introductory “Legislative Concepts” class to House staff and interns in the House Learning Center. Information is available on HouseNet [http://housenet.house.gov] under “House Learning Center.” Legislative staff members are also invited to attend the CRS Budget Process Institutes. The introductory Overview of the Federal Budget Process is offered several CRS-6 times each year and provides an introduction to federal budgeting procedures, particularly procedures used in Congress. Three advanced institutes — Budget Resolutions and Reconciliation, Appropriations Process, and The President and the Budget — are offered during the year at times when they are most relevant to congressional staff. Event dates and registration forms for CRS programs and institutes can be found on the CRS website at [http://www.crs.gov/events/invite.shtml]. Supplementary Reading Congress A to Z. 5th ed. Washington: CQ Press, 2008. Davidson, Roger H. and Walter J. Oleszek. Congress and Its Members. 11th ed. Washington: CQ Press, 2007. Green, Alan. Gavel to Gavel: A Guide to the Televised Proceedings of Congress. 5th ed. Washington: C-SPAN, 1993. Congressional Quarterly’s Guide to Congress. 6th ed. Washington: CQ Press, 2007. Koempel, Michael L., and Judy Schneider. Congressional Deskbook: the practical and comprehensive guide to Congress. Alexandria, VA: TheCapitol.Net, 2007. Kravitz, Walter. Congressional Quarterly’s American Congressional Dictionary. 3rd ed. Washington, CQ Press, 2001. Available to congressional offices in an updated and expanded edition on the CRS website at [http://www.crs.gov/products/guides/glossary/a.shtml]. Oleszek, Walter J. Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process. Washington: CQ Press, 2007. 7th ed. Tiefer, Charles. Congressional Practice and Procedure: A Reference, Research, and Legislative Guide. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1989. Where to Get These Publications Many of the works on legislative procedure listed in this report are produced by the Government Printing Office and may be purchased: ! ! ! by telephone, (202) 512-1800 or (866) 512-1800; online at the GPO Bookstore website at [http://bookstore.gpo.gov]; or by fax, (202) 512-2104. Some of these publications are only available from congressional sources for congressional office use, while others listed in the Supplementary Reading section may be purchased from bookstores or publishers.