expedited congressional consideration of disapproval bills
U.S. Congress, Joint Explanatory Statement on the Committee of Conference on S.4; (H. Rept. 104-491), Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, 104th Congress, 2d Session, Washington D.C. 1996.]
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The following is an extended discussion from pages 25 through 28 of the Joint Explanatory Statement of the Managers of the Committee of Conference:
procedures in the house of representatives
In order for a disapproval bill to qualify for the expedited procedures in the House of Representatives as outlined in section 1025(b), it must meet two requirements. First, a disapproval bill must meet the definition of a disapproval bill as set forth in section 1026. Second, the disapproval bill must be introduced no later than the fifth calendar day of session following the receipt of the President’s special message. Any disapproval bill introduced after the fifth calendar day of session is subject to the regular rules of the House of Representatives regarding consideration of a bill.
Any disapproval bill introduced in the House of Representatives must disapprove all of the cancellations in the special message to which the disapproval bill relates. Each such disapproval bill must include in the first blank space referred to in section 1026(6)(C) a list of the reference numbers for all of the cancellations made by the President in that special message.
Any disapproval bill introduced pursuant to 1025(c) shall be referred to the appropriate committee or committees. It is not the intention of the conferees that a disapproval bill pursuant to a special message regarding a reconciliation law be referred to the Budget Committee. Any committee or committees of the House of Representatives to which such a disapproval bill has been referred shall report it without amendment, and with or without recommendation, not later than the seventh calendar day of session after the date of its introduction.
If any committee fails to report the disapproval bill within that period, it shall be in order for any Member of the House to move that the House discharge that committee from further consideration of the bill. However, such a motion is not in order after the committee has reported a disapproval bill with respect to the same special message. This motion shall only be made by a Member favoring the bill and shall be made one day after the calendar day on which the Member offering the motion has announced to the House that Member’s intention to make such a motion and the form of that motion. Furthermore, this motion to discharge shall only be made at a time or place designated by the Speaker in the legislative schedule of the day after the calendar day on which the Member gives the House proper notice.
This motion to discharge shall be highly privileged. Debate on the motion shall be limited to not more than one hour and shall be equally divided between a proponent and an opponent. After completion of debate, the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the motion to its adoption without intervening motion. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion was agreed to or not agreed to shall not be in order. It shall not be in order to consider more than one such motion to discharge a disapproval bill pertaining to a particular special message.
After a disapproval bill has been reported or a committee has been discharged from further consideration, it shall be in order to move that the House resolve into the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for consideration of the disapproval bill. If the bill has been reported, the report on the bill must be available for at least one calendar day prior to consideration of the bill. All points of order against the bill and its consideration, except a point of order pertaining to a one-day layover requirement, shall be waived. If the bill has been discharged, all points of order against the bill and its consideration shall be waived. The motion that the House resolve into the Committee of the Whole shall be highly privileged. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to shall not be in order.
During consideration of the bill in the Committee of the Whole, the first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. General debate on the disapproval bill shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided between and controlled by a proponent and an opponent of the bill. After completion of the one hour of general debate, the bill shall be considered as read for amendment under the five minute rule. Only one motion that the Committee rise shall be in order unless that motion is offered by the manager of the bill.
No amendment shall be in order, except that any Member, if supported by forty-nine other Members (a quorum being present), may offer an amendment striking the reference number or reference numbers of a cancellation or cancellations from the disapproval bill. This process allows Members the opportunity to narrow the focus of the disapproval bill, striking references to cancellations they do not wish to disapprove, while retaining in the disapproval bill references to cancellations they wish to overturn. A vote in favor of the disapproval bill is a vote to spend the money the President sought to cancel. A vote against the disapproval bill is a vote to agree with the President to cancel the spending.
No amendment shall be subject to further amendment, except pro forma amendments for the purposes of debate only. Consideration of the bill for amendment shall not exceed one hour excluding time for recorded votes and quorum calls. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment, the Committee shall rise and report the bill to the House with such amendments as may have been adopted. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without any intervening motion. A motion to reconsider the vote on passage of the bill shall not be in order.
All appeals of decisions of the Chair relating to the application of the rules of the House of Representatives to this procedure for consideration of the disapproval bill shall be decided without debate.
It shall be in order to consider only one disapproval bill pertaining to each special message under these expedited messages except for consideration of a similar Senate bill. However, if the House has already rejected a disapproval bill with respect to the same special message as that to which the Senate bill refers, it shall not be in order to consider that bill.
In the event of disagreement between the two Houses a conference should be promptly convened. It shall be in order to consider a conference report in the House of Representatives provided such report has been available to the House for one calendar day (excluding Saturdays, Sundays or legal holidays, unless the House is in session on such a day) and the accompanying statement has been filed in the House.
Debate in the House of Representatives on the conference report and any amendments in disagreement on any disapproval bill shall each be limited to not more than one hour equally divided and controlled by a proponent and an opponent. A motion to further limit debate shall not be debatable. A motion to recommit the conference report shall not be in order and it shall not be in order to reconsider the vote by which the conference report is agreed to or disagreed to.
procedures in the senate
Any member of the Senate may introduce a disapproval bill containing any combination of cancellations included in the President’s special message. The disapproval bill shall be referred to the appropriate committee or committees. If necessary, referral to multiple committees is permissible to accommodate disapproval bills which relate to cancellations from omnibus bills (i.e. reconciliation bills). A committee shall report the bill with or without amendment within seven days during which the Senate is in session or be discharged. A disapproval bill received from the House of Representatives shall not be referred but shall be automatically placed on the Calendar. It is the intent of the conferees that only one disapproval bill for each special Presidential message be considered under the expedited procedures. This however, is not meant to limit the Senate’s ability to choose between a Senate- originated and a House-originated disapproval bill, it is intended that there be only one legislative vehicle.
A motion to proceed to the consideration of a disapproval bill is not debatable. Section 1025(e)(6) provides a ten hour overall limitation for the floor consideration of a disapproval bill. Except as provided in section 1025(e)(9) (which addresses disposition of a Senate disapproval bill), this limit on consideration is intended to cover all floor action with regard to a disapproval bill. This section is specifically meant to preclude the offering of amendments or the making of dilatory motions after the expiration of the 10 hours. Consideration of a message from the House of Representatives with respect to a disapproval bill is limited to four hours, as is consideration of a conference report and any amendments reported in disagreement. Again the intent of the conferees is to preclude the offering of amendments or motions after the expiration of time so as to facilitate the adoption of any conference report or the disposition of any message from the House. In limiting the time for consideration the conferees do not intend to allow the process to be halted by the delay in the making of necessary and appropriate motions. Therefore motions to concur, disagree or disagree and request a new conference may be made at the expiration of time.
Amendments to a disapproval bill, whether offered in committee or from the floor of the Senate, are strictly limited to those amendments which either strike or add a cancellation that is included in the President’s special message. The conferees note that these expedited procedures are reserved solely for disapproval bills which overturn one or more cancellations contained in a President’s special message. No other matter may be included in such bills. To enforce this restriction in the Senate, a point of order (which may be waived by a three-fifths vote) would lie against any amendment that does anything other than strike or add a cancellation within the scope of the special message. To the extent that extraneous items are added to disapproval bills, and the Senate has not waived the point of order against such an item, the conferees intend that such legislation would no longer qualify for the expedited procedures.
The conference report also provides that any conferees on a disapproval bill must include any cancellations upon which the two Houses have agreed and may include any or all cancellations upon which the two Houses have disagreed, but may not include any cancellations not committed to the conference.