BBA 2018 (Contents)
Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018
DIVISION C—BUDGETARY AND OTHER MATTERS
Title IV—Joint Select Committees
Subtitle B—Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform
Sec. 30444. Consideration of joint committee bill in the Senate.
(a) Introduction.—Upon receipt of proposed legislative language approved in accordance with section 30442(b)(2)(B)(ii), the language shall be introduced in the Senate (by request) on the next day on which the Senate is in session by the Majority Leader of the Senate or by a Member of the Senate designated by the Majority Leader of the Senate.
(b) Committee Consideration.—A joint committee bill introduced in the Senate under subsection (a) shall be referred to the Committee on the Budget, which shall report the bill without any revision and with a favorable recommendation, an unfavorable recommendation, or without recommendation, no later than 7 session days after introduction of the bill. If the Committee on the Budget fails to report the bill within that period, the committee shall be automatically discharged from consideration of the bill, and the bill shall be placed on the appropriate calendar.
(c) Motion To Proceed To Consideration.—
(1) In general.—Notwithstanding rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, it is in order, not later than 2 days of session after the date on which a joint committee bill is reported or discharged from the Committee on the Budget, for the Majority Leader of the Senate or the Majority Leader’s designee to move to proceed to the consideration of the joint committee bill. It shall also be in order for any Member of the Senate to move to proceed to the consideration of the joint committee bill at any time after the conclusion of such 2-day period.
(2) Consideration of motion.—Consideration of the motion to proceed to the consideration of the joint committee bill and all debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith shall not exceed 10 hours, which shall be divided equally between the Majority and Minority Leaders or their designees. A motion to further limit debate is in order, shall require an affirmative vote of three-fifths of Members duly chosen and sworn, and is not debatable.
(3) Vote threshold.—The motion to proceed to the consideration of the joint committee bill shall only be agreed to upon an affirmative vote of three-fifths of Members duly chosen and sworn.
(4) Limitations.—The motion is not subject to a motion to postpone. All points of order against the motion to proceed to the joint committee bill are waived. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to shall not be in order.
(5) Deadline.—Not later than the last day of the 115th Congress, the Senate shall vote on a motion to proceed to the joint committee bill.
(d) Rules of Senate.—This section is enacted by Congress—
(1) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate, and as such is deemed a part of the rules of the Senate, but applicable only with respect to the procedure to be followed in the Senate in the case of a joint committee bill, and supersede other rules only to the extent that they are inconsistent with such rules; and
(2) with full recognition of the constitutional right of the Senate to change the rules (so far as relating to the procedure of the Senate) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of the Senate.
This section gives expedited consideration to the bill reported by the Joint Select Committee, and exempts it from certain motions, such as a motion to postpone, and waives all points of order against it. It does not, however, give allow a simple majority to bring the measure to a vote because the motion to proceed to consideration, the vital motion to which the Senate must agree if it is to vote on final passage of any measure. Hence the Senate can move very quickly on the bill, but as has become common in the Senate, sixty of the 100 Senators must agree to bring the bill before the body for a final vote.
An important omission is any mention of rules governing a conference report on the bill. If the Senate passes the bill, and the House agrees to it, but in different form, no mention is made of any rules governing how the two different versions are to be merged into a single conference report. Hence, the rules for normal conference reports would apply and thus no expedited consideration at this phase of consideration is provided. This may give incentive for the House to pass the measure without amendment since the argument is easily made that a conference committee would doom the bill in the Senate.
 The Majority Leader of the Senate is virtually certain to comply with this requirement by introducing the measure, or designate another Senator to do so. This is the same as in the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction from the Budget Control Act of 2011. This omits a feature of many other bills given expedited consideration and requiring introduction, such as the Medicare “Independent Advisory Board” (see subsection (d)(1)(C) of 42 U.S.C. 1392kkk) where if the required legislation is not introduced after a period of time then “any Member of that House may introduce the legislative proposal.”
 This paragraph is likely unenforceable insofar as there no penalty specified for noncompliance. If the Senate fails to vote on the measure, not repercussions are identified.
 The reference to “without any revision” is similar, but not exactly the same, as the Budget Committee’s restriction when they are to report a reconciliation bill under section 310 (CBA). In that section, recommendations from multiple committees are submitted and must be combined, with the Budget Committees charged with reporting the “legislation carrying out all such recommendations without any substantive revision.” The omission of the term “substantive” here is likely only related to the lack of need for administrative changes necessary when combining multiple recommendations into a single bill. Since nothing can be done with the bill, even in administrative function, this indicates the only purpose the Senate Budget Committee receives a referral at all is to allow it to comment on a bill amending law entirely within its jurisdiction. The House Budget Committee is afforded no such opportunity explicitly or procedurally in the BBA 2018.
CRS – The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform (R45111) February 21, 2018
CRS – The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform (R45111) February 21, 2018 (BCR Annotated)
Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-123; 132 Stat. 64; February 9, 2018; H.R. 1892 (115th Congress)