Committee on Rules Legislative Process Program
SPECIAL AMENDMENT PROCEDURES
AND THE RULES COMMITTEE
In some cases, the Chairman of the Rules Committee will announce special procedures or deadlines for amendments to measures scheduled to come before the Committee. These procedures will be announced on the House Floor, will be followed-up by a "Dear Colleague" letter, and will be posted on the Rules Committee web site www.house.gov/rules. Additionally, the party Whip Offices should provide notice to the Members of any special procedures announced by the Rules Committee. The two main types of special procedures for amendments that are usually announced by the Rules Committee are pre-filing of amendments with the Rules Committee and pre-printing of amendments in the Congressional Record.
Pre-filing amendments with the Rules Committee
In the event that the Chairman of the Rules Committee announces a "pre-filing" requirement for amendments, the announcement usually requires that 30 copies of the amendment and one copy of a brief explanation be delivered to the Rules Committee in H-312 of the Capitol no later than the deadline indicated in the announcement. [In the absence of a special procedure announced by the Chairman of the Committee on Rules, the Committee still requires 30 copies of the amendment and one copy of a brief explanation two hours in advance of the meeting. While it is not required, amendment sponsors should provide 30 copies of any written statement (preferably by the close of business the day before the meeting) so that it can be made available to Members of the Rules Committee before the amendment sponsor testifies.] It is important that the staff person handling the amendment for the sponsor deliver it to the Rules Committee office personally. The Rules Committee requires that an amendment log-in sheet containing several questions which assist the Committee in processing amendments be filled out at the time that the amendment is submitted. Consequentially, it is imperative that the person delivering the amendment is familiar with the amendment. In order to have an amendment considered in the Rules Committee, the following steps should be taken, unless otherwise specified by the Chairman's announcement:
- If the amendment sponsor(s) wishes to testify before the Rules Committee on their amendment, call the Committee to have them placed on the witness list.
The assistance of the Legislative Counsel's office should be sought in drafting the amendment to ensure that it is tailored to the most up-to-date version of the base bill and that it accomplishes the sponsor's goals. This also helps to ensure the expeditious printing by the Government Printing Office of any amendments made in order by the Rules Committee. In addition, the Rules Committee will usually post the text of the amendments that have been made in order on its web site. It is imperative that the Committee have a Legislative Counsel version of the amendment in order to post the text on the Committee web site.
The text of the amendment should be reviewed by the House Parliamentarian to determine if it violates any rule of the House. If so, the sponsor should attempt to have the amendment redrafted to correct the problem. If redrafting is not possible, the Rules Committee should be notified that the amendment will need a waiver of certain House rules to be eligible for consideration on the House Floor.
It is always helpful to call the Rules Committee well in advance of the meeting and to speak with the appropriate Committee staff regarding the proposed amendment. Keep the Committee informed of the progress of the amendment with the Parliamentarian's office and with the Legislative Counsel's office.
Note: The submission of an amendment to the Rules Committee does not guarantee that the amendment will be made in order or that it will be granted the appropriate waiver.
Pre-printing of amendments in the Congressional Record
In the event that the Chairman of the Rules Committee announces that the Committee may grant a rule making in order only those amendments that have been pre-printed in the Congressional Record, amendment sponsors should take the following steps:
- The amendment should be drafted by the Office of Legislative Counsel to ensure that it is drafted to the most up-to-date version of the legislation and that it achieves the amendment sponsor's intended purpose.
The amendment should be examined by the Office of the Parliamentarian to determine whether it is in violation of a rule of the House (and therefore subject to a point of order on the Floor).
The amendment should be submitted for printing in the Congressional Record before consideration of the amendment on the Floor. In the event that a measure's consideration continues for several days, an amendment qualifies for the pre-printing requirement as long as it is printed in the Record of a previous day. For example, if consideration of the legislation is taking place on Thursday, the amendment must be printed in either Wednesday's or a prior day's Record.
Amendments submitted for printing in the Record can be sent to the Cloakroom via Page, or put in the "Amendments" box by a Member. The "Amendments" box is on the first tier of the dais on the Democratic side of the Floor and is administered by the Bill Clerks.
Note: Amendments that have been pre-printed in the Record are still subject to points of order on the Floor of the House if they are in violation of any Rule of the House. While the Rules Committee may grant a rule requiring pre-printing of amendments this does not necessarily mean that the rule provides any waivers to those amendments.