SUMMARY OF THE BYRD RULE
Under the Byrd rule, the Senate
is prohibited from considering extraneous matter as part of a
reconciliation bill or resolution or conference report thereon.
The definition of what constitutes "extraneous matter"
is set forth in the Budget Act; however, the term remains subject
to considerable interpretation by the presiding officer (who relies
on the Senate Parliamentarian). The Byrd rule is enforced when
a Senator raises a point of order during consideration of a reconciliation
bill or conference report. If the point of order is sustained,
the offending title, provision or amendment is deemed stricken
unless its proponent can muster a 3/5 (60) Senate majority
vote to waive the rule.
Subject matter - The
Byrd rule may be invoked only against reconciliation bills, amendments
thereto, and reconciliation conference reports.
Byrd rule tests - Section
313(b)(1) of the Congressional Budget Act sets forth six tests
for matters to be considered extraneous under the Byrd rule.
The criteria apply to provisions that:
- do not produce a change in
outlays or revenues;
- produce changes in outlays
or revenue which are merely incidental to the non-budgetary components
of the provision;
- are outside the jurisdiction
of the committee that submitted the title or provision for inclusion
in the reconciliation measure;
- increase outlays or decrease
revenue if the provision's title, as a whole, fails to achieve
the Senate reporting committee's reconciliation instructions;
- increase net outlays or decrease
revenue during a fiscal year after the years covered by the reconciliation
bill unless the provision's title, as a whole, remains budget
- contain recommendations regarding
the OASDI (social security) trust funds.
Exceptions to the Byrd Rule
- Section 313(b)(2)
allows certain otherwise covered Senate-originated provisions
to be excepted from the Byrd rule if the provisions are certified
for exemption by the Senate Budget Committee chairman and ranking
minority member, as well as the chairman and ranking minority
member of the committee of jurisdiction. The permitted exceptions
- a provision that mitigates
direct effects attributable to a second provision which changes
outlays or revenue when the provisions together produce a net
reduction in outlays;
- the provision will result in
a substantial reduction in outlays or a substantial increase in
revenues during fiscal years after the fiscal years covered by
the reconciliation bill;
- the provision will likely reduce
outlays or increase revenues based on actions that are not currently
projected by CBO for scorekeeping purposes; or
- such provision will likely
produce significant reduction in outlays or increase in revenues,
but due to insufficient data such reduction or increase cannot
be reliably estimated.
Effect of points of order -
The effect of raising
a point of order under the Byrd rule is to strike the offending
extraneous provision. If a point of order against a conference
report is sustained, the Senate may consider subsequent motions
to dispose of that portion of the conference report not subject
to the point of order.
Waivers - The
Byrd rule is not self-enforcing. A point of order must be raised
at the appropriate time to enforce it. The Byrd rule can only
be waived by a 3/5 (60) majority vote of the Senate.