A mark-up is a session held by a Congressional Committee during which a legislative measure is considered. In general, such mark-ups entail members of the Committee to offer amendments, debate them, and vote on them. At the conclusion of mark-ups, a motion to report the measure to the House or Senate is usually entertained. If adopted, a written report is prepared to accompany the measure to explain what occurred during the mark up.
In unusual circumstances, mark-ups may not entail voting on substantive amendments, such as during budget reconciliation where the Budget Committees are prohibited from making any “substantive” change to the reconciliation submissions it has received from other committees. A mark-up may also, in certain rare instances, not hold a final vote and simply recess without coming to any conclusion. In other cases, in particular by the House Resources Committee, multiple mark-ups may be held in succession where large number of bills are reported in a single day. Other mark-ups, usually for extensive legislative proposals such as a defense authorization, may last for days before finally coming to a vote.
Ironically, some enormously important bills, such as the omnibus appropriation bills that have become the norm in annually funding the government, are never marked up at all as a single legislative measure but simply are sent directly to the floor without closer consideration, and importantly, without explanatory report information.
Meetings where congressional committees work on language of bills or resolutions. For example, at Budget Committee mark-ups, the House and Senate Budget Committees work on the language and numbers contained in budget resolutions and legislation affecting the congressional budget process.
Definition of Mark-Up
Mark-Up: Meetings where congressional committees work on language of bills or resolutions. At Budget Committee mark-ups, the House and Senate Budget Committees work on the language and numbers contained in budget resolutions and legislation affecting the congressional budget process.
[The Congressional Budget Process: An Explanation, Appendix J (Glossary), Committee on the Budget of the U.S. Senate, S. Prt. 105-67 (Revised December 1998).]