[House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House]
[Chapter 30. Messages Between the Houses]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]


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                 CHAPTER 30 - MESSAGES BETWEEN THE HOUSES

                              HOUSE PRACTICE

  Sec. 1. In General; Uses
  Sec. 2. Reception of Messages
  Sec. 3. Messages Relating to Bills
  Sec. 4. Errors; Lost Documents
        Research References
          5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 6590-6662
          8 Cannon Sec. Sec. 3333-3353
          Deschler-Brown Ch 32 Sec. Sec. 1, 2
          Manual Sec. Sec. 330, 560-569, 873, 874

  Sec. 1 . In General; Uses

      The House of Representatives and the Senate communicate and 
  coordinate their activities by sending formal messages to each other. 
  These messages between the two Houses constitute the sole source of 
  official information regarding actions taken by the other House. 8 
  Cannon Sec. Sec. 3342, 3343. The Chair does not take public notice of 
  the proceedings of the Senate unless they are formally brought to the 
  attention of the House by message from the Senate. Deschler-Brown Ch 
  32 Sec. 2.14.
      Messages between the House and Senate are used for a variety of 
  legislative purposes:

     To indicate the final disposition by one House of a bill 
         originating in the other.
     To convey the official papers accompanying a bill from one 
         House to the other.
     To transmit the action of one House on an amendment of the 
         other.
     To request the return of a bill or an amendment.
     To convey information relating to a committee of conference 
         and a report relating thereto.
     To transmit information relating to the election of an officer 
         and other organizational matters.
     To indicate House or Senate action on a vetoed bill.
     To convey information or documents relating to an impeachment 
         proceeding.

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     To dispose of questions regarding a breach of privilege by one 
         House against the other.

      Such messages also have been used on rare occasions to transmit or 
  exchange confidential information between the two Houses. 5 Hinds 
  Sec. 5250.
      The Clerk or one of his subordinates delivers the messages of the 
  House to the Senate. Senate messages are delivered to the House by the 
  Secretary of the Senate or one of his subordinates. 5 Hinds Sec. 6592.


  Sec. 2 . Reception of Messages

      The refusal of one House to receive a message from the other is a 
  breach of the practice of comity between the two Houses. Deschler-
  Brown Ch 32 Sec. 1.3. The reception of a message from the Senate is a 
  highly privileged matter and may interrupt the consideration of a 
  bill, even though the previous question has been ordered thereon. 
  Deschler-Brown Ch 32 Sec. 1.4; 5 Hinds Sec. 6602. Messages are 
  received during debate, the Member having the floor yielding at the 
  request of the Speaker. Manual Sec. 561. Such a message may be 
  received in the absence of a quorum and pending a motion for a call of 
  the House. Manual Sec. 562; 8 Cannon Sec. 3339. The Speaker may 
  receive the message even before the approval of the Journal. Manual 
  Sec. 562.
      A message from the Senate may not be received when the House is in 
  the Committee of the Whole, but the Committee may rise (formally or 
  informally) to permit the reception of such messages. Manual Sec. 564.
      Whereas it was formerly the custom to transmit messages only when 
  both Houses were sitting (5 Hinds Sec. Sec. 6601, 6602), the present 
  practice permits the reception of messages regardless of whether the 
  other House is in session (8 Cannon Sec. 3338). Rule II clause 2(h) 
  permits the reception by the Clerk of messages from the Senate 
  notwithstanding the recess or adjournment of the House.


  Sec. 3 . Messages Relating to Bills

                                 Generally

      Messages from the Senate concerning House bills with Senate 
  amendments or Senate bills that require action by the Committee of the 
  Whole go to the Speaker's table and may be referred to the appropriate 
  standing committees in the same manner as public bills introduced in 
  the House. Manual Sec. 873. Those which do not require consideration 
  in the Committee of the Whole may be laid before the House for 
  consideration pursuant to rule XIV clause 2. Manual Sec. 874; see 
  Senate Bills; Amendments Between the Houses.

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      Senate messages giving notice of measures passed or approved are 
  entered in the Journal and published in the Congressional Record. 
  Manual Sec. 815.

                     Requests for the Return of a Bill

      A message from the Senate requesting that the House return a bill 
  must be presented to the House for consideration. Deschler-Brown Ch 32 
  Sec. 2.9. A request of the Senate for the return of a bill to correct 
  an error is treated as privileged in the House and may be disposed of 
  by unanimous consent or by motion. Manual Sec. 565. When a request of 
  the Senate for the return of a bill is treated as privileged, the 
  Chair may immediately put the question on the request without debate. 
  Deschler-Brown Ch 32 Sec. 2.8. The House may by unanimous consent 
  agree to a request of the Senate for the return of a Senate bill even 
  where the bill has been referred to a House committee. Deschler-Brown 
  Ch 32 Sec. 2.2. A request of the House for return of a bill messaged 
  to the Senate is not privileged where no error is involved, as it 
  cannot be a substitute for reconsideration. For example, the House by 
  unanimous consent agreed to a request from the Senate for the return 
  of a Senate bill, to the end that the Senate effect a specified 
  (substantive) change in its text. Manual Sec. 565. For a discussion of 
  reconsideration of a vote, see Reconsideration.


  Sec. 4 . Errors; Lost Documents

      A proposition to correct an error in a message by one House to the 
  other presents a question of privilege. 3 Hinds Sec. 2613. One House 
  may correct an error in its message to the other, the receiving House 
  concurring in the correction. 5 Hinds Sec. 6607. If the Clerk of the 
  House or Secretary of the Senate commits an error in delivering a 
  messaged document, he may be directed to correct it. In one instance, 
  where the Secretary had delivered only one of two Senate amendments to 
  a House bill, the mistake was not discovered until after the House had 
  disagreed to the Senate amendment. The Senate then directed the 
  Secretary to correct the mistake, the correction was received, and the 
  House acted on the two amendments de novo. 5 Hinds Sec. 6590.
      Where an official document intended for delivery to the Senate is 
  lost and cannot be retrieved, the preparation of official duplicates 
  thereof may be provided for pursuant to concurrent resolution. Such 
  resolutions are privileged for consideration. In such cases the Clerk 
  attests to the authenticity of an existing printed copy or duplicate 
  original. Manual Sec. 704.