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Senate Standing Rules

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Senate Standing Rules

 

RULE I. CONVENTION, OFFICERS, AND ADJOURNMENT.

 

1. The Vice President shall convene the Senate at such time and date as session is scheduled, or at such time and date as the President demands in writing.

 

2. The Vice President shall upon convening the Senate receive from the Secretary of the Senate a report identifying the majority and minority party. The Vice President shall then formally identify the majority and minority parties.

 

3. The Vice President shall then adjourn the proceedings until that time at which the chief of staff of each party caucus transmits to the Secretary of the Senate the caucus' selection for floor leader and deputy floor leader. The chief of staff of the majority party caucus shall furthermore transmit to the Secretary of the Senate the caucus' selection for President pro tempore.

 

4. The Vice President shall upon reconvening the Senate receive from the Secretary of the Senate a copy of such transmissions, and announce the officers of the Senate. An officer of the Senate shall serve until death, resignation, replacement by his or her party, removal by the passage of a resolution by the senate, the conclusion of the Congress in which the officer was appointed, or a change in the Senate majority. The Vice President shall repeat the process in Paragraphs 2-4 of this Rule in the case of a change in the Senate majority.

 

5. The Vice President shall at such time as the Secretary of the Senate designates adjourn the Senate sin die. The Secretary of the Senate shall so designate on the last day of the Congress.

 

RULE II. THE CHAIR.

 

1. The Vice President shall preside when present. In the absence of the Vice President, the President pro tempore shall preside. In the absence of the Vice President and the President pro tempore (or a Senator designated to act in his or her place), the Secretary of the Senate shall preside.

 

2. The President pro tempore shall have the right to name in open Senate or in writing a Senator to perform the duties of the Chair. The Senator so named shall have the right to name in open session or in writing a Senator to perform the duties of the Chair, but not to extend beyond an adjournment, except by unanimous consent. A Senator named to the chair under this Paragraph shall be known as the Acting President pro tempore.

 

3. The Chief Justice of the United States of America shall preside over debate on a resolution convicting the President or Vice President of the United States of America following impeachment of such official by the United States House of Representatives.

 

RULE III. SUSPENSION AND AMENDMENT OF THE RULES.

 

1. The rules of the Senate shall continue from one Congress to the next Congress unless they are changed as provided in this rule.

 

2. The Senate may amend these rules by the passage of a resolution.

 

3. A Senator may at any time move to suspend these rules, and such motion shall be decided without debate upon receiving a second. The Senator must specify the rule to be suspended and the purpose of the suspension, and a motion to suspend one or more of the following rules shall be ruled out of order without debate:

(a) Rule V.

(b) Rule VI(6).

 

RULE IV. QUORUM.

 

1. The Senate may hold a vote only if a quorum exists.

 

2. Whenever a quorum is not present in the Senate, a Senator may move to direct the Sergeant at Arms to compel the presence of the Senators absent, and such motion shall be decided without debate upon receiving a second.

 

RULE V. VOTING PROCEDURE.


1. The Presiding Officer shall hold a vote of at least seventy-two hours on a bill or resolution, and of at least twenty-four hours on a motion. The Presiding Officer shall upon receiving a vetoed bill or resolution from the President immediately hold a vote of at least seventy-two hours in length on the question of whether to overturn that veto. The Presiding Officer may determine the length of a vote at his or her discretion.

 

2. The Presiding Officer shall upon declaring voting concluded tally the yeas and nays, declare the outcome of the vote, and take the appropriate consequential action. 

 

3. A bill, resolution, motion, or appeal shall pass if a majority of present Senators support it, except as provided in Paragraphs 4 and 5.

 

4. Each of the following requires the support of 2/3 of present Senators to pass:
(a) A motion to suspend the rules.

(b) A joint resolution amending the Constitution of the United States of America.

(c) A question of whether to convict an officer of the United States of America impeached by the United States House of Representatives.

(d) A resolution to ratify a treaty signed by the President of the United States of America.

(e) A resolution to expel a member of the United States Senate.

(f) A motion to pass a special order.

(g) A question of whether to overturn the veto by the President of the United States of America of a bill or resolution.

 

5. A motion for cloture requires the support of 3/5 of present Senators to pass, except with regards to each of the following:

(a) A bill or resolution that contains only tax or spending provisions, and that reduces the deficit over a ten-year period in the estimation of the Congressional Budget Office.

(b) A resolution amending these Rules.

 

RULE VI. DEBATE.

 

1. Except as provided in Paragraph 8, the Senate shall debate such bills and resolutions as the Majority Leader designates in writing to the Presiding Officer, provided that the Senate shall debate a maximum of four such bills and resolutions at any particular time. In addition, the Minority Leader shall designate in writing to the Presiding Officer a bill or resolution to be scheduled for debate, provided that the Senate shall debate a maximum of one such bill or resolution at any particular time. The Majority Leader and Minority Leader shall not designate for debate a bill or resolution that has been rejected by a Committee. Except as provided in Paragraph 8, debate on a bill or resolution continues until the passage of a motion for cloture, at which time a vote commences on the bill or resolution, or until the Floor Leader who designated the bill or resolution for debate decides to withdraw the bill from the floor, at which time the bill is automatically laid on the table until returned to the floor by either leader.

 

2. When a Senator desires to speak during debate, he shall rise and address the Presiding Officer. No Senator shall interrupt another Senator in debate without his consent, except to make a motion for cloture.

 

3. No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.

 

4. No Senator in debate shall refer offensively to any State of the Union.

 

5. If any Senator, in speaking or otherwise, in the opinion of the Presiding Officer transgress the rules of the Senate the Presiding Officer shall, either on his own motion or at the request of any other Senator, call that Senator to order; and when a Senator shall be called to order he shall take his seat, and may not proceed during such debate without leave of the Senate, which, if granted, shall be upon motion that he be allowed to proceed in order, which motion shall be determined without debate. Any Senator directed by the Presiding Officer to take his seat, and any Senator requesting the Presiding Officer to require a Senator to take his seat, may appeal from the ruling of the Chair, which shall be determined without debate.

 

6. Whenever confusion arises in the Chamber or the galleries, or demonstrations of approval or disapproval are indulged in by the occupants of the galleries, 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.

 

7. No Senator shall introduce to or bring to the attention of the Senate during its sessions any occupant in the galleries of the Senate.

 

8. The Senate shall immediately debate upon receiving notice of an impeachment by the House of Representatives debate for a period of ninety-six hours the question of whether to convict the impeached officer. Voting shall commence at the end of the debate period.

 

RULE VII. QUESTIONS OF ORDER AND POINTS OF INQUIRY.

 

1. A question of order may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, except when the Senate is voting, and, unless submitted to the Senate, shall be decided by the Presiding Officer without debate, subject to an appeal to the Senate. When an appeal is taken, any subsequent question of order which may arise before the decision of such appeal shall be decided by the Presiding Officer without debate; and every appeal therefrom shall be decided at once, and without debate; and any appeal may be laid on the table without prejudice to the pending proposition, and thereupon shall be held as affirming the decision of the Presiding Officer.

 

2. The Presiding Officer may submit any question of order for the decision of the Senate.

 

3. A Senator may at any time except when the Senate is voting raise a point of parliamentary inquiry, so as to ask the Presiding Comment to comment on the procedure to be followed on a particular matter, how the Senate would go about transacting a particular piece of business, what would be the rules and procedure involving the disposition of a particular matter, or any question relating to the rules or procedure of the Senate. The Presiding Officer may answer the inquiry, refer the inquiry to the Senate Parliamentarian, or affirmatively decline to answer the inquiry.

 

RULE VIII. MOTIONS.

 

1. A Senator may make each of the following motions, which shall be decided without debate upon receiving a second:

(a) To conclude debate (and such motion may take the form of "for cloture").

(b) To lay on the table (and such motion may take the form of "to table").

(c) To amend.

(d) To divide a bill or resolution that contains several propositions into separate bills or resolutions.

(e) To remove from the table.

(f) To commit (or refer) to committee.

 

2. The motions contained in Paragraph 1 of this Rule are listed in order of precedence.

 

RULE IX. APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEES.

 

1. Each of the following committees shall be appointed at the commencement of each Congress, and shall continue and have the power to act until their successors are appointed, with leave to report by bill or otherwise on matters within their respective jurisdictions:

(a) The Committee on the Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and the Judiciary, to which committee shall be referred all proposed legislation relating to the following subjects (except legislation already designated for debate by the Senate):

  1. Aeronautical and space activities peculiar to or primarily associated with the development of weapons systems or military operations.
  2. Common defense.
  3. Department of Defense, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force, generally.
  4. Maintenance and operation of the Panama Canal, including administration, sanitation, and government of the Canal Zone.
  5. Military research and development.
  6. National security aspects of nuclear energy.
  7. Naval petroleum reserves, except those in Alaska.
  8. Pay, promotion, retirement, and other benefits and privileges of members of the Armed Forces, including overseas education of civilian and military dependents.
  9. Selective service system.
  10. Strategic and critical materials necessary for the common defense.
  11. Coast Guard.
  12. Acquisition of land and buildings for embassies and legations in foreign countries.
  13. Boundaries of the United States.
  14. Diplomatic service.
  15. Foreign economic, military, technical, and humanitarian assistance.
  16. Foreign loans.
  17. International activities of the American National Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
  18. International aspects of nuclear energy, including nuclear transfer policy.
  19. International conferences and congresses.
  20. International law as it relates to foreign policy.
  21. International Monetary Fund and other international organizations established primarily for international monetary purposes (except that, at the request of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, any proposed legislation relating to such subjects reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations shall be referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs).
  22. Intervention abroad and declarations of war.
  23. Measures to foster commercial intercourse with foreign nations and to safeguard American business interests abroad.
  24. National security and international aspects of trusteeships of the United States.
  25. Oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs as they relate to foreign policy.
  26. Protection of United States citizens abroad and expatriation.
  27. Relations of the United States with foreign nations generally.
  28. Treaties and executive agreements, except reciprocal trade agreements.
  29. United Nations and its affiliated organizations.
  30. World Bank group, the regional development banks, and other international organizations established primarily for development assistance purposes.
  31. Apportionment of Representatives.
  32. Bankruptcy, mutiny, espionage, and counterfeiting.
  33. Civil liberties.
  34. Constitutional amendments.
  35. Federal courts and judges.
  36. Government information.
  37. Holidays and celebrations.
  38. Immigration and naturalization.
  39. Interstate compacts generally.
  40. Judicial proceedings, civil and criminal, generally.
  41. Local courts in the territories and possessions.
  42. Measures relating to claims against the United States.
  43. National penitentiaries.
  44. Patent Office.
  45. Patents, copyrights, and trademarks.
  46. Protection of trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies
  47. Revision and codification of the statutes of the United States.
  48. State and territorial boundary lines.

(b) The Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, to which committee shall be referred all proposed legislation not referred to the Committee on the Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and the Judiciary (except legislation already designated for debate by the Senate).

 

2. Each Committee shall be comprised of seven Senators including a Chairperson. The Majority Leader shall appoint four Senators on each Committee, designating one as Chairperson and one as Ranking Majority Member. The Minority Leader shall appoint three Senators on each Committee, designating one as Ranking Minority Member. The Majority Leader and Minority Leader may respectively rescind Committee appointments, and make new Committee appointments, at any time. A Senator shall serve as chairperson on a maximum of one Committee.

 

RULE X. COMMITTEE PROCEDURES.

 

1. Each standing 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, and may report such hearings as may be had by it. 

 

2. The Chair of a Committee shall generally preside over that Committee, except that in the absence of the Chair, the Ranking Majority Member shall preside over the Committee. In the absence of the Chair and the Ranking Majority Member, the Ranking Minority Member shall preside over the Committee. In the absence of the Chair of the Committee and both Ranking Members, the designate of the Secretary of the Senate shall preside over the Committee. Absence for the purposes of this Rule means failure to appear for a period exceeding seventy-two hours.

 

3. Rules III(3), V, VI, VII, and VIII shall apply in Committee mutatis mutandis, except that:

(a) The Chairperson of a Committee shall exercise the powers of the Majority Leader.

(b) The Chairperson of a Committee shall only designate a bill or resolution for debate before the Committee if the Committee has been referred that bill or resolution.

(c) The Chairperson of a Committee shall when designating a bill or resolution for debate specify a maximum time for debate of at least 48 hours but not more than 96 hours, and debate on that bill or resolution will conclude, and a vote begin, at the end of such time.

(d) Passage of a motion for cloture before a Committee shall require the support of only a majority of Committee members present.

(e) A committee cannot suspend a rule of the senate in such a fashion as to assume more authority, or a greater jurisdiction, than has been granted by these Rules.

 

RULE XI. REGULATIONS OF SECRETARY OF SENATE.

 

1. The Secretary of the Senate shall promulgate regulations, which shall hold the force of these rules, as to each of the following:

(a) Presentation of credentials and questions of privilege.

(b) Oaths.

(c) Commencement of daily sessions.

(d) Morning business and the order of business.

(e) Messages.

(f) Special orders.

(g) Papers (including the withdrawal, printing, reading of, and reference to).

(h) Executive sessions.

(i) The Senate Chamber and Senate Wing of the Capitol Building.

(j) Public financial disclosure.

(k) Gifts.

(l) Outside earned income.

(m) Conflicts of interest.

(n) Prohibition of unofficial office accounts.

(o) Foreign travel.

(p) Frankling privilege and radio and television studios.

(q) Political fund activity.

(r) Employment practices.

(s) Representation by members

(t) Appearances before the Senate by persons other than Senators including Senate staff.

 

2. A regulation promulgated under this Rule shall require Senate approval if it is substantially different from the Senate Standing Rules in place regarding these subjects prior to January 3, 2013.

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