[House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House]
[Chapter 6. Bills and Resolutions]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]


                              HOUSE PRACTICE

              A. Generally

  Sec.  1. In General; Resolutions Distinguished
  Sec.  2. Public and Private Bills Distinguished
  Sec.  3. Form; Component Parts
  Sec.  4. Titles
  Sec.  5. Preambles

              B. Introduction and Reference

  Sec.  6. Introduction of Measures in the House; Sponsorship
  Sec.  7. Reference
  Sec.  8. Multiple Referrals; Sequential or Split Referrals
  Sec.  9. Bills Reported with Amendments
  Sec. 10. Matters Subject to Referral
  Sec. 11. Time Limitations on Referred Bills; Extensions
  Sec. 12. Referrals to Select and Ad Hoc Committees

              C. Private Bills

  Sec. 13. In General
  Sec. 14. What Constitutes a Private Bill
  Sec. 15. Introduction, Reference, and Consideration
  Sec. 16. -- Amendments
  Sec. 17. Uses of Private Bills
  Sec. 18. -- Claims By or Against the Government
  Sec. 19. -- Immigration and Naturalization Cases

              D. Restrictions on Certain Public Bills

  Sec. 20. Appropriations
  Sec. 21. Tax and Tariff Measures
  Sec. 22. Designation of Public Works
  Sec. 23. Prohibition on Commemorations
  Sec. 24. Earmarks
  Sec. 25. Budget-related Restrictions


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        Research References
          4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 3266-3297, 3364-3390
          7 Cannon Sec. Sec. 846-871, 1027-1053
          Deschler Ch 16; Deschler Ch 24 Sec. Sec. 1-4, 9, 10


                               A. Generally


  Sec. 1 . In General; Resolutions Distinguished

      Bills are used for purposes of general legislation. Joint 
  resolutions are used to propose constitutional amendments and for 
  special or subordinate legislative purposes. Simple or concurrent 
  resolutions are used primarily to regulate the administrative or 
  internal business of the House (or Houses), to express facts or 
  opinions, or to dispose of some other nonlegislative matter. Deschler 
  Ch 24 Sec. 1. However, unlike simple or concurrent resolutions, a 
  joint resolution is a bill so far as the rules of the House are 
  concerned. 4 Hinds Sec. 3375.
      The introduction of certain types of private bills is prohibited 
  by clause 4 of rule XII. See Sec. 17, infra.
      The various stages in the passage and enactment of a bill 
  (reading, engrossment, enrollment, etc.) are treated elsewhere. See 
  Reading, Passage, and Enactment; see also Consideration and Debate; 
  Voting; and Veto of Bills.


  Sec. 2 . Public and Private Bills Distinguished

      Bills and resolutions may be either public or private. A private 
  bill is a bill for the benefit of one or several specified persons or 
  entities, and a public bill relates to public matters and deals with 
  individuals by classes only. 3 Hinds Sec. 2614; 4 Hinds Sec. 3285; 7 
  Cannon Sec. 856; Deschler Ch 24 Sec. 1. Whether a law is to be 
  regarded as public or private depends on the attendant circumstances, 
  having regard to the effect rather than the form of the legislation. 
  Bollinger v. Watson, 63 S.W. 2d 642 (Ark. 1933). The distinction is 
  important because the procedures followed in the enactment of private 
  bills are significantly different from those applicable to public 
  bills. Sec. 15, infra.
      A bill may be regarded as a public bill, and thus referred to the 
  House or Union Calendar when reported, where it:

     Contains provisions applicable to the general public, although 
         benefiting a named individual. 4 Hinds Sec. 3286.
     Relates to a classes or groups of persons and not to persons 
         as individuals. 7 Cannon Sec. 870; Deschler Ch 24 Sec. 3.3.

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     Indemnifies a foreign government for injury to one of its 
         nationals. 7 Cannon Sec. 865; Deschler Ch 24 Sec. 3.2.
     Includes among provisions for the relief of private persons 
         one item to pay a claim of a foreign nation. 4 Hinds Sec. 3287.
     Grants an easement over public lands to a private company. 7 
         Cannon Sec. 864.
     Authorizes an exchange of government-owned land for privately 
         owned land. 7 Cannon Sec. 862.
     Provides for the reimbursement of ``all the depositors'' of a 
         certain bank, the depositors not being identified by name. 8 
         Cannon Sec. 2373.

  Sec. 3 . Form; Component Parts

                                 Generally

      The form of bills in the House is governed by statute and by the 
  practices and customs of the House. Any deviation from the form so 
  prescribed may be authorized by joint resolution or be waived by 
  passage under suspension of the rules. 7 Cannon Sec. 1035. Alleged 
  errors in the drafting of a bill are to be resolved by the House 
  during its consideration of the measure and not by the Speaker on a 
  point of order. Deschler Ch 24 Sec. 2.2.
      Although there is no mandatory uniform style that is to be 
  followed in the drafting of legislative measures, general guidelines 
  are available through the Office of the Legislative Counsel.
      The component parts of a bill introduced in the House include:

     A bill title (an identifying bill number is subsequently added 
         thereto).
     A preamble--used often in simple and concurrent resolutions, 
         less often in joint resolutions, and, in modern practice, never 
         in bills. Sec. 5, infra.
     An enacting or resolving clause, which must appear in the 
         first section of the Act. 1 USC Sec. 103.
     The text of the bill.

      On rare occasions, a bill may contain an illustration, as where it 
  shows a required warning label. 99-2, Feb. 3, 1986, p 1326. Also rare, 
  one House may pass a bill with blanks to be filled in by the other 
  House. 5 Hinds Sec. 5781. Members distributing copies of bills on the 
  floor containing personal interpretations or notations must abide by 
  the Speaker's announced policies regarding handouts. Manual Sec. 622; 
  see also Deschler Ch 24 Sec. 2.1.

                             Enacting Clauses

      The form prescribed by section 101 of title 1, United States Code 
  for the enacting clause of a bill is as follows:

      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
  United States of America in Congress assembled.

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                             Resolving Clauses

      The form prescribed by section 102 of title 1, United States Code 
  for the resolving clause of a joint resolution is:

      Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United 
  States of America in Congress assembled.

      If the joint resolution proposes to amend the Constitution, it is 
  customary to add to the resolving clause the words ``two-thirds of 
  both Houses concurring.'' 4 Hinds Sec. 3367.

                    Sections; Headings and Subheadings

      The United States Code requires that each section of a bill be 
  numbered and that it ``contain, as nearly as may be, a single 
  proposition of enactment.'' 1 USC Sec. 104. Section headings and 
  subheadings may be used, and in cases of ambiguity it is proper to 
  consult both a section heading and the section's content in order to 
  ascertain the clear meaning of the legislation. House v. Commissioner, 
  453 F.2d 982 (5th Cir. 1972).

                           Page and Line Numbers

      When a bill is introduced or reported, each page of the text is 
  numbered and each line in the text is given a separate number in the 
  margin so that reference may quickly be made to specific provisions of 
  the bill. However, the pagination and marginal numerals are not part 
  of the text of the bill, and after amendment they may be altered, 
  changed, or transposed by the Clerk to conform to the amended text 
  without the necessity of a House order. 5 Hinds Sec. 5781; 8 Cannon 
  Sec. 2876.


  Sec. 4 . Titles

      All bills are given a title that indicates the subject matter of 
  the bill. A title is used strictly for purposes of identification and 
  is not considered in passing on points of order relating to the 
  provisions of the bill. 7 Cannon Sec. 1489; Deschler Ch 24 Sec. 9.1. 
  The title, also known as the ``long title,'' should be distinguished 
  from the ``short title'' of a bill, which is typically contained in a 
  separate section of the bill, and indicates a proposed legal citation 
  for the bill.
      Under the guidelines suggested by the Office of the Legislative 
  Counsel, a title should accurately and briefly describe what a bill 
  does. For bills amending primarily a particular law, the form ``To 
  amend [citation of law] to . . .'' is ordinarily used. For 
  constitutional amendments, the form ``Proposing an amendment to the 
  Constitution of the United States concerning

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  . . .'' is used. If the bill covers multiple items, the phrase ``and 
  for other purposes'' may be used at the end of the title.
      The title is retained on the bill during the various stages of 
  enactment, including engrossment and is entered on the Journal and 
  printed in the Congressional Record. Manual Sec. Sec. 431, 831. 
  However, it is not considered to be part of the enacted statute and is 
  generally published only in the Statutes at Large. Indeed, when an 
  enacted statute is codified and included in the United States Code, 
  its title may be excluded or greatly abbreviated.
      A title cannot be used to negate the obvious meaning of the 
  statute. However, a title may, as part of the legislative history, 
  assist in resolving ambiguities. 4 Hinds Sec. 3381. In such cases the 
  title of an Act may be resorted to by courts as an aid in determining 
  legislative intent. Brotherhood of R.R. Trainmen v. Baltimore and Ohio 
  Railroad Co., 331 U.S. 519 (1947). In this context, the title of a 
  bill at the time of its enactment is said to be indicative of the true 
  intention of Congress in enacting it. Corpus Juris Secundum, Statutes 
  Sec. 351.


  Sec. 5 . Preambles

      Preambles are sometimes used to indicate the underlying reason for 
  a measure. 4 Hinds Sec. 3413. Preambles (``whereas'' clauses) often 
  appear in concurrent or simple resolutions. Such clauses appear less 
  often in joint resolutions (and, in modern practice, never in bills) 
  because sections containing separate statements of findings serve the 
  same purpose. 4 Hinds Sec. 3412.
      The House may amend or delete the preamble from a joint resolution 
  before its passage or the preamble from a concurrent or simple 
  resolution following its adoption. Manual Sec. 414. This is done 
  either by unanimous consent or pursuant to a motion to strike the 
  preamble. This cannot be done simply by moving to strike all after the 
  enacting or resolving clause because the preamble always precedes that 
  clause. Deschler Ch 24 Sec. 9.5. Preambles to simple resolutions may 
  also be disposed of pursuant to a motion to lay on the table, and the 
  adoption of such motion does not affect the status of the resolution. 
  5 Hinds Sec. 5430. The motion for the previous question may be applied 
  at once to the resolution and the preamble. Manual Sec. 996. Of 
  course, where no action is taken to strike the preamble, and the joint 
  resolution is passed, the preamble remains part of the joint 
  resolution. Deschler Ch 24 Sec. 9.5.

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                       B. Introduction and Reference


  Sec. 6 . Introduction of Measures in the House; Sponsorship

                           Bills and Resolutions

      Bills and resolutions are introduced by being deposited in the 
  hopper at the Clerk's desk anytime the House is in session. Deschler 
  Ch 16 Sec. 1. A Member may introduce a bill during a pro forma meeting 
  even though no legislative business is being conducted. Manual 
  Sec. 816.
      At its organization for the 106th Congress, the House adopted an 
  order reserving the first ten bill numbers for assignment by the 
  Speaker during a specified period. For the 107th and 108th Congresses, 
  the House adopted the same order and extended the applicable time 
  period to the entire first session. For subsequent Congresses, the 
  time period has been extended to the entire Congress. In the 112th 
  Congress, the second ten bill numbers were reserved for the Minority 
  Leader. Manual Sec. 825.
      A bill or resolution may be introduced by any Member who has taken 
  the oath, and one need not seek recognition for that purpose. Deschler 
  Ch 16 Sec. 1. A Member may introduce a bill even though personally 
  opposed to its passage. Deschler Ch 16 Sec. 1.6. The rules do not 
  limit the number of bills a Member may introduce.
      Once introduced, the bill becomes the property of the House. As 
  such, the House may consider it notwithstanding the death, 
  resignation, or replacement of its sponsor. Deschler Ch 16 Sec. 1.9.

                      Bills Introduced ``By Request''

      Only a Member, Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner may 
  introduce a bill. The House does not permit the names of citizens 
  requesting the introduction of a bill to be printed in the 
  Congressional Record, but the rules do permit the words ``by request'' 
  to be entered on the Journal, printed on the bill, and printed in the 
  Record. Manual Sec. 826. These words appear following the name of the 
  primary sponsor or the names of some or all of the initial cosponsors. 
  Deschler Ch 16 Sec. 1.2.

                          Petitions and Memorials

      Petitions and memorials addressed to the House are delivered to 
  the Clerk and may be presented by the Speaker as well as by any 
  Member. Manual Sec. 818; 4 Hinds Sec. 3312. Members may present 
  petitions from the citizens of States other than their own. 4 Hinds 
  Sec. Sec. 3315, 3316.

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                 Sponsorship; Endorsements and Signatures

      By House rule, all bills, resolutions, and memorials must be 
  endorsed with the name of the Member or Members introducing or 
  presenting them. Manual Sec. Sec. 818, 825. By directive of the 
  Speaker, all such measures must bear the original signature of the 
  chief sponsor or first-named Member. Manual Sec. 821. A bill falsely 
  introduced in a Member's name involves a question of privilege, and 
  the House may agree to an order providing for its cancellation. 4 
  Hinds Sec. 3388.

                               Cosponsorship

      Unlimited cosponsorship of a public bill is permitted until such 
  time as all committees authorized to report the bill have filed their 
  reports with the House or have been discharged from consideration 
  thereof. Before the bill is reported, Members may remove their names 
  as cosponsors by unanimous consent. Manual Sec. 825. Alternatively, a 
  cosponsor may announce withdrawal of support for a bill, or a 
  statement indicating that an error was made in the listing of a 
  cosponsor's name may be made on the floor for publication in the 
  Congressional Record. Deschler Ch 16 Sec. Sec. 2.5, 2.6. At its 
  organization for the 104th Congress, the House resolved that each of 
  the first 20 bills and each of the first two joint resolutions 
  introduced in that Congress could have more than one Member reflected 
  as a first sponsor.
      By unanimous consent, Members may add their own names as 
  cosponsors of an unreported bill where the primary sponsor is no 
  longer a Member of the House. Similarly, a designated Member may be 
  authorized to sign and submit lists of additional cosponsors where the 
  primary sponsor is no longer a Member. However, the Chair will not 
  otherwise entertain a unanimous-consent request to add cosponsors by a 
  Member other than the primary sponsor, whether such request includes 
  only the Member making the request, all Members, or a specified 
  additional sponsor. Such requests must be made by a primary sponsor 
  through the hopper not later than the last day on which all committees 
  authorized to report the bill have filed their reports with the House. 
  Manual Sec. 825. In the case of an unreported bill considered pursuant 
  to a special order of business, cosponsors may be added or removed 
  prior to the calling up of such bill pursuant to the special order of 
  business. For other unreported bills (such as those considered by 
  suspension), cosponsors may be added prior to the vote on final 
  passage.

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  Sec. 7 . Reference

                                 Generally

      When a bill is introduced, it is referred by the Speaker to 
  committee in accordance with clause 1 of rule X, the rule fixing the 
  jurisdiction of committees over particular subjects, and in accordance 
  with the referral procedures contained in clause 2 of rule XII. 
  Deschler Ch 16 Sec. 3. However, a bill referred by the House itself 
  may be sent to any committee without regard to the rules of 
  jurisdiction. 4 Hinds Sec. 4375; 7 Cannon Sec. 2131. Jurisdiction in 
  such a case is deemed conferred by the action of the House. 4 Hinds 
  Sec. Sec. 4362-4364; 7 Cannon Sec. 2105.
      Absent specific authority or the authority to originate, a 
  committee may not report a measure that has not been properly referred 
  to it by the Speaker or by the House. 4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 4355-4360; 7 
  Cannon Sec. Sec. 1029, 2101. The following committees are authorized 
  to originate and file from the floor as privileged, pursuant to clause 
  5 of rule XIII, certain bills and resolutions: Appropriations, Budget, 
  House Administration, Rules, and Ethics. Manual Sec. Sec. 412, 853.

                        Erroneously Referred Bills

      Clause 7 of rule XII provides for procedures to be followed in 
  case of an error in the reference of a public bill. For a discussion 
  of erroneous referral of a private bill, see Sec. 14, infra. The House 
  rerefers public bills without debate, usually pursuant to a unanimous-
  consent request. Deschler Ch 16 Sec. Sec. 3.13-3.15. A motion to 
  rerefer also is available. However, that motion has not been offered 
  since the 82d Congress. Manual Sec. 825; Deschler Ch 16 
  Sec. Sec. 3.10-3.13. The motion to rerefer:

     Must apply to a bill erroneously referred. 7 Cannon Sec. 2125.
     Must be made immediately following the Pledge of Allegiance. 
         Clause 7 of rule XII; 7 Cannon Sec. Sec. 1809, 2119, 2120.
     Must apply to a single bill and not to a class of bills. 7 
         Cannon Sec. 2125.
     May be amended. 7 Cannon Sec. 2127.
     May not be divided. 7 Cannon Sec. 2125.
     May not be debated. 7 Cannon Sec. Sec. 2126-2128.

           Bills Reported From Committee; Referrals to Calendars

      Bills reported from committees are ordinarily referred to the 
  proper calendar under the direction of the Speaker. Manual 
  Sec. Sec. 828, 831. Once a bill has been reported by committee, points 
  of order against its reference and motions for its rereferral are not 
  entertained. 7 Cannon Sec. 2110; Deschler Ch 16 Sec. 3.6. Under clause 
  2 of rule XII, a bill reported from committee (even a bill previously 
  referred to a calendar) may be sequentially referred by the

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  Speaker to other committees. Sec. 8, infra. Moreover, once 
  consideration of the reported measure has begun in the House, a motion 
  to refer or recommit is in order in differing situations under the 
  rules of the House. Manual Sec. Sec. 916, 917, 1001; see Refer and 
  Recommit.


  Sec. 8 . Multiple Referrals; Sequential or Split Referrals

      Before the 94th Congress, a bill could not be referred to two or 
  more committees, even though it contained matters properly within the 
  jurisdiction of several committees. 4 Hinds Sec. 4372. However, in 
  1975 the House adopted clause 2(b) of rule XII, stating that every 
  referral must be made so as to ensure ``to the maximum extent 
  feasible'' that each committee having jurisdiction over the subject 
  matter of a provision will have responsibility for considering it and 
  reporting thereon to the House. Since 1995, clause 2(c)(1) of rule XII 
  has required the Speaker to designate a committee of primary 
  jurisdiction upon the initial referral of a measure to a committee 
  (except where it is determined that extraordinary circumstances 
  justify review by more than one committee as though primary). The 
  Speaker has discretion to:

     Refer the measure to other committees either initially (at the 
         time of introduction) or sequentially (following the primary 
         committee's report); in either case, subject to time limits 
         imposed after the primary committee has reported.
     Refer designated portions of the same measure to other 
         committees (split referral).
     Refer a measure to a special ad hoc committee, established by 
         the House, consisting of members of committees with shared 
         jurisdiction over the measure.

      The Speaker's referrals are always for consideration of such 
  provisions as fall within a committee's jurisdiction, and bills 
  referred to more than one committee are endorsed with an explicit 
  statement to that effect.


  Sec. 9 . Bills Reported with Amendments

      A bill reported from a committee with an amendment may be 
  sequentially referred to another committee where the amendment falls 
  within the jurisdiction of the second committee. Manual Sec. 816. In 
  determining whether the matter falls within the jurisdiction of the 
  second committee, the Speaker may base the referral on either (1) the 
  text of an amendment as well as the text of the original bill; or (2) 
  solely on the text of a reported substitute amendment in lieu of the 
  original bill. Manual Sec. 816. The second committee may report an 
  amendment to the amendment adopted by the first committee

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  if the amendment to the amendment is within the jurisdiction of the 
  second committee.
      The Speaker has exercised the authority to base referrals on 
  committee amendments to reported bills by sequentially referring:

     A reported bill to another committee solely for consideration 
         of provisions of the first committee's amendment within its 
         jurisdiction, and not for consideration of the entire bill.
     A reported bill to two other committees for different periods 
         of time, solely for consideration of designated sections of the 
         first committee's recommended amendment.
     A reported bill solely for consideration of designated 
         portions of the first committee's amendment.
     Only a portion of the original text where the primary 
         committee's amendment would delete portions of the bill within 
         the sequential committee's jurisdiction.

  Manual Sec. 816.


  Sec. 10 . Matters Subject to Referral

                                 Generally

      Clause 2 of rule XII, the rule establishing the referral 
  procedures to be followed by the Speaker, applies to ``each bill, 
  resolution, or other matter'' relating to a subject falling within the 
  jurisdiction of a standing committee under clause 1 of rule X. Thus, 
  the Speaker may, pursuant to the rule, refer bills and resolutions, a 
  portion of a bill, a Presidential message, an executive communication, 
  or a select committee report. Manual Sec. 816.

                     Senate Amendments to House Bills

      Pursuant to clause 2 of rule XIV, the Speaker may refer to a 
  standing committee a Senate amendment to a House-passed bill. 
  Formerly, where a House bill was returned from the Senate with an 
  amendment relating to a new and different subject, the Speaker 
  referred it to the committee having jurisdiction of the original bill. 
  4 Hinds Sec. Sec. 4373, 4374. Under the modern practice, the Speaker 
  rarely exercises the authority to refer Senate amendments at all. When 
  so doing, the Speaker may impose a time limitation for consideration 
  of a certain portion of the amendment. Manual Sec. 816. On being 
  reported from a standing committee, the House bill with the Senate 
  amendment is referred to the Committee of the Whole. 4 Hinds 
  Sec. 3108; 8 Cannon Sec. 3187. Under clause 2 of rule XXII, House 
  bills with Senate amendments that do not require consideration in 
  Committee of the Whole may be disposed of by privileged motion.

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                         Senate Bills and Messages

      Pursuant to clause 2 of rule XIV, the Speaker may refer bills and 
  joint and concurrent resolutions messaged from the Senate to 
  committees in the same manner as public bills originating in the 
  House. Senate amendments requiring consideration in Committee of the 
  Whole and Senate bills (with certain exceptions, as where a similar 
  House measure has been reported or ordered reported) are referred to 
  the appropriate standing committees under the direction of the Speaker 
  without action by the House. 4 Hinds Sec. 3101; 6 Cannon Sec. 727. 
  Simple resolutions of the Senate that do not require any action by the 
  House are not referred. 7 Cannon Sec. 1048.


  Sec. 11 . Time Limitations on Referred Bills; Extensions

                                 Generally

      Pursuant to clause 2 of rule XII, the Speaker may impose a time 
  limit for the consideration by any committee of a bill that is 
  initially or sequentially referred, but normally does so only for a 
  sequential referral. The Speaker may sequentially refer a bill without 
  setting such limit or may set a limit as short as one day. Manual 
  Sec. 816.
      On the last day of an expiring sequential referral, a committee 
  has until midnight to file its report with the Clerk. Manual Sec. 816.
      Clause 2 of rule XII is not construed to prevent another committee 
  from reporting before the primary committee. It is the intent of the 
  rule to allow the primary committee to report before a measure is 
  scheduled for floor consideration. However, the measure may be 
  considered without a report by the primary committee pursuant to a 
  special order of business. The measure also may be considered when the 
  Speaker exercises discretion to impose a time limit on the primary 
  committee for reporting (although such discretion is rarely exercised) 
  and such committee fails to meet the deadline. In that case, the 
  primary committee will be considered to have been discharged from 
  further consideration of the measure. Manual Sec. 816.

                            Extensions of Time

      The Speaker may extend the time limit set for the consideration of 
  a referred bill, and has exercised such authority with respect to 
  bills that have been sequentially referred, or divided for reference. 
  Where the Speaker extends the time limit on a sequentially referred 
  bill, the bill may also be referred to another committee for the same 
  period. More than one extension of time may be given. Manual Sec. 816.

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                          Discharge of Committee

      Where a committee does not report a measure to the House on or 
  before the date specified by the Speaker pursuant to the authority 
  under clause 2 of rule XII, the Speaker may discharge the committee 
  from further consideration of the measure and refer it to the 
  appropriate calendar or to another committee. Also, the House may 
  adopt a special order of business accomplishing the discharge. Manual 
  Sec. 816.


  Sec. 12 . Referrals to Select and Ad Hoc Committees

      The Speaker may refer bills, resolutions, and other matters 
  (including messages and communications) to select or ad hoc committees 
  established with the approval of the House. The House order 
  authorizing the select or ad hoc committee may require that referrals 
  to the committee be by initial or sequential reference or by some 
  other method provided by clause 2 of rule XII. Manual Sec. 816. For 
  more information on select and ad hoc committees, see Committees.


                             C. Private Bills


  Sec. 13 . In General

                                Background

      The practice of Congress in passing private bills for the benefit 
  of specific persons or entities was taken from the English Parliament 
  and began with the First Congress. The use of private bills steadily 
  increased thereafter, so much so that in some years the Congress 
  enacted more private bills than it did public bills. The 59th 
  Congress, for example, enacted more than 6,000 private bills, while it 
  enacted fewer than 700 public bills. 7 Cannon Sec. 1028. In recent 
  years, and especially since the adoption of the Legislative 
  Reorganization Act of 1946, the number of private bills enacted into 
  law has been steadily declining. In the 110th and 111th Congresses, 
  only two private bills were enacted.
      Because it lacks the generality of application that is normally 
  found in public laws, a private law is considered a legislative 
  anomaly. Congressional action in passing such laws has been based on 
  the rationale that because public laws cannot cover every situation or 
  extraordinary circumstance that might arise, Congress may, as part of 
  its general law-making function, create ``equitable law'' to cover 
  such circumstance. Note, Private Bills in Congress, 79 Harv. L. Rev. 
  1684 (1966).

[[Page 175]]

                             Constitutionality

      Although the constitutionality of private laws has not been 
  subjected to extensive critical analysis by the courts, their use is 
  regarded as a proper legislative function. The Supreme Court in 1940 
  held that the passage of a private law does not constitute a 
  congressional intrusion into the judicial function. Paramino Lumber 
  Company v. Marshall, 309 U.S. 370 (1940).

                               Omnibus Bills

      Clause 5 of rule XV permits the use of ``omnibus'' private 
  legislation--that is, a measure containing two or more private bills 
  that are considered as a single package. Manual Sec. Sec. 895, 897.


  Sec. 14 . What Constitutes a Private Bill

      A private bill may be generally defined as a bill for the benefit 
  or relief of one or several specified persons or entities. 4 Hinds 
  Sec. 3285; 7 Cannon Sec. 856. It is generally enacted only for those 
  who have no other remedy available to them. Deschler Ch 24 Sec. 3. A 
  bill for the benefit of a named individual is classed as a private 
  bill, even though it deals with government property. 7 Cannon 
  Sec. 859. An ``omnibus claim bill,'' which contains provisions for 
  payments to many different claimants, also is treated as a private 
  bill rather than a public bill, where all claimants are of the same 
  class and each claimant is specified by name. 4 Hinds Sec. 3293.


  Sec. 15 . Introduction, Reference, and Consideration

      Private bills may be presented to the House only through a 
  sponsoring Member and may not be cosponsored. They are otherwise 
  introduced in the same manner as public bills. A Member with a private 
  bill to present (1) endorses the bill by signature and (2) delivers 
  the bill to the Clerk. Clause 3 of rule XII; Manual Sec. 818.
      Under clause 6 of rule XII, errors in the referral of private 
  bills may be corrected without action by the House at the suggestion 
  of the committee in possession of the bill. Because an erroneous 
  reference of a private bill does not confer jurisdiction on the 
  committee to report it, a point of order will lie against the bill 
  when it comes up for consideration in the House or in the Committee of 
  the Whole. Manual Sec. 824. A subcommittee may have specific rules 
  governing the consideration of private bills. Committee approval of 
  the bill is generally contingent upon a showing that the applicant has 
  no other remedy. A private bill reported out of committee is referred 
  to the Private Calendar.

[[Page 176]]

      Private bills called on the Private Calendar are reviewed by a 
  committee of ``official objectors'' consisting of six Members--three 
  from each party. As a matter of policy, the official objectors have 
  traditionally required that bills must be on the Private Calendar for 
  seven days before being called up. See Private Calendar. A Member 
  serving as an official objector has periodically included in the 
  Congressional Record an explanation of how bills on the Private 
  Calendar are considered. Manual Sec. 896. If two or more Members of 
  the House object to a bill, it is recommitted to the committee that 
  reported it. Manual Sec. 895. However, such a bill may be ``passed 
  over without prejudice'' by unanimous consent for subsequent 
  consideration. Also, the provisions of a private bill may be reported 
  back in an omnibus bill. See Private Calendar. In modern practice, 
  private bills have not been scheduled by the Speaker for consideration 
  under suspension of the rules. This procedure has been reserved for 
  public bills.
      If the bill is unopposed, it is taken up in the House as in the 
  Committee of the Whole. The procedure is as follows:

      Speaker: This is the day for the call of the Private Calendar. The 
    Clerk will call the first omnibus bill on the calendar. . . . The 
    Clerk will read the bill by title for amendment. [The Clerk reads 
    the bill, and any committee amendments are reported and disposed of; 
    thereafter, motions to amend are in order. See Sec. 16, infra.]
      Member: M_. Speaker, I offer a motion [to strike all or part of 
    the pending paragraph.]

      Note: Amendments are in order only if they strike or reduce 
  amounts of money or provide limitations. Manual Sec. 895. Motions to 
  strike the last word are not permitted, nor are reservations of 
  objection. See Private Calendar.

      Speaker [after disposition of amendments]: The question is on the 
    engrossment and third reading of the bill.
      Member: M_. Speaker, I offer a motion to recommit.
      Speaker [after disposition of the motion to recommit]: The 
    question is on the passage of the omnibus bill.

      After being passed by the House, an omnibus private bill is 
  resolved into the various private bills of which it is composed, and 
  each is sent to the Senate as if individually passed. Manual Sec. 897. 
  A private bill that has passed both Houses must be approved by the 
  President or enacted over a veto to become law.


  Sec. 16 . -- Amendments

      A private bill is subject to amendment under the five-minute rule, 
  pursuant to clause 5 of rule XV. Manual Sec. Sec. 895, 897. However, a 
  private bill for the benefit of one individual may not be amended so 
  as to extend its

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  provisions to another individual, even indirectly through a motion to 
  recommit with instructions. 4 Hinds Sec. 3296. Under the germaneness 
  rule, it is not in order to amend a private bill by extending its 
  provisions to a general class of individuals, which would be public in 
  character. 4 Hinds Sec. 3292; 7 Cannon Sec. 860; see Germaneness of 
  Amendments. Motions to strike the last word--pro forma amendments--are 
  not entertained. Deschler-Brown Ch 29 Sec. 70.7.
      When an amendment is offered, members of the reporting committee 
  have priority in recognition to oppose the amendment. Deschler-Brown 
  Ch 29 Sec. 13.23.


  Sec. 17 . Uses of Private Bills

                                 Generally

      Under the modern practice, most private bills granting relief to 
  individuals fall into one of four major categories: (1) bills 
  involving claims against the United States or waiving claims by the 
  Federal Government against specific individuals; (2) bills excepting 
  named individuals from certain requirements of the immigration or 
  naturalization laws; (3) conveyances of real property rights; and (4) 
  tariff treatment for private entries. See Sec. Sec. 18, 19, infra.
      Some private bills granting relief to identified individuals 
  merely permit the taking of some action that would otherwise be 
  prohibited by general law. For example, one favorably reported private 
  bill authorized Federal employees of the Social Security 
  Administration in Syracuse, New York, to transfer annual leave to a 
  fellow employee who had exhausted her sick leave during her treatment 
  for cancer. 100-2, H.R. 3625, H. Rept. 100-554. Another private bill 
  authorized the Secretary of Defense to allow the children of a secret 
  service agent killed while on duty to attend school at a United States 
  military facility in Puerto Rico (the family had been notified that 
  his children were no longer eligible to attend the school because the 
  children were no longer dependents of a Federal employee in Puerto 
  Rico). 100-2, H.R. 3439, H. Rept. 100-552.

                    Measures Barred From Consideration

      Under clause 4 of rule XII, a private bill may not be introduced 
  or considered if it authorizes or directs the payment of money for 
  property damages or for personal injuries or death for which suit may 
  be instituted under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Private 
  pension bills (other than those to carry out a provision of law or 
  treaty stipulation) are also barred, as are bills providing for the 
  construction of a bridge across a navigable stream.

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   Private bills providing for the correction of a military record are 
  likewise proscribed. However, a private bill that merely changes the 
  computation of retired pay for a former member of the armed services 
  has been held permissible. Manual Sec. 822. The barring of private 
  bills in such cases is based on the availability to claimants of other 
  judicial or administrative remedies. Deschler Ch 24 Sec. 3. The FTCA, 
  for example, provides both administrative and judicial remedies in 
  certain personal injury cases involving the negligence of Federal 
  employees. 28 USC Sec. 2671.


  Sec. 18 . -- Claims By or Against the Government

                       Generally; Constitutionality

      Many private bills grant relief to an individual who has a 
  meritorious claim against the Federal government that cannot otherwise 
  be remedied. Deschler Ch 24 Sec. 3. The constitutional basis for such 
  bills is found in the first amendment, which sets forth the right to 
  petition the government for the redress of grievances, and in article 
  I, which allocates to Congress the power to pay the debts of the 
  United States. U.S. Const. art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 1; Pope v. United 
  States, 323 U.S. 1 (1944).

                                 Procedure

      Under clause 2(d) of rule XII, unanimous consent is required for 
  the reference of a private claim bill to a committee other than the 
  Committee on the Judiciary or the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Manual 
  Sec. 817. Most private bills involving claims against the government 
  are referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which has jurisdiction 
  over such claims under clause 1(l) of rule X. For example, a private 
  bill providing to a named individual an entitlement to social security 
  benefits was referred as a private claim only to the Committee on the 
  Judiciary (in accord with clause 2(d) of rule XII) and, when reported 
  by that committee, was referred to the Private Calendar and not 
  sequentially to the Committee on Ways and Means. 106-2, Feb. 14, 2000, 
  p 1170.
      The Committee on the Judiciary refers a private claim bill to its 
  Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. The subcommittee 
  may hold a hearing on the matter. The full committee files its report 
  with the House, and the Speaker refers it to the Private Calendar. See 
  also Sec. 15, supra.

      Note: An alternative to this procedure is provided for in law. It 
  authorizes either House of Congress, by adopting a resolution, to 
  refer bills (except pension bills) to the Chief Judge of the U.S. 
  Court of Federal Claims, and

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  stipulates that the Chief Judge is to report the findings of fact and 
  conclusions in each case to the House that made the reference. 28 USC 
  Sec. Sec. 1492, 2509. These reports are provided to Congress for use 
  in deciding whether certain private claims warrant legislative relief. 
  Zadeh v. United States, 111 F. Supp. 248 (Ct. Cl. 1953).

            Granting Relief; Consideration of Particular Claims

      In exercising its jurisdiction over claims against the government, 
  and in determining whether relief should be granted to persons seeking 
  redress of grievances under its rules, the subcommittee with 
  jurisdiction over private claims has been guided by ``principles of 
  equity and justice.'' The task of the subcommittee has been to 
  determine whether the equities and circumstances of a case create a 
  ``moral obligation'' on the part of the government to extend relief to 
  an individual who has no other existing remedy. For example, relief 
  has been granted in private legislation:

     To provide for the payment to settle certain property damage 
         claims of residents arising out of the 1973 occupation of 
         Wounded Knee, South Dakota. 100-2, H.R. 2711, H. Rept. 100-559.
     To provide for a payment to a child who had been sexually 
         assaulted by an employee of the Postal Service, who was 
         delivering mail at the time. A civil action against the United 
         States on behalf of the six-year-old claimant was filed under 
         the FTCA on the basis of negligent supervision of the employee 
         by the Postal Service, but this suit was unsuccessful, 
         intentional torts such as assault being excluded under the 
         provisions of the Act. 100-2, H.R. 4099, H. Rept. 100-556.
     To authorize certain firefighters to sue the United States for 
         injuries or death under the FTCA because the Secretary of Labor 
         had determined that the firefighters were Federal employees 
         covered by another statute--the Federal Employee Compensation 
         Act--which precluded claims under the FTCA. 100-2, H.R. 2682, 
         H. Rept. 100-547.
     To waive the discretionary-function and foreign-country 
         exceptions to the FTCA, thereby granting jurisdiction for a 
         claimant to sue the government for claims arising at a U.S. 
         Army health facility in Germany for improperly administered 
         smallpox vaccination. 100-2, H.R. 2684, H. Rept. 100-442.
     To provide compensatory relief in a contract case based on a 
         moral obligation of the government, such as when money was 
         promised and not paid. 87-1, Priv. L. 87-195, H. Rept. 87-232; 
         100-2, H.R. 3185, H. Rept. 100-549.
     To adjust or credit the account of a Federal official or to 
         reimburse a government employee for expenditures made by him at 
         the direction of his employer. 7 Cannon Sec. 863; 100-2, H.R. 
         3388, H. Rept. 100-551.

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     To permit claimants to receive an annuity under the Civil 
         Service Retirement System. 100-2, H.R. 2889, H. Rept. 100-548; 
         100-2, H.R. 1864, H. Rept. 100-546.
     To relieve a Federal employee of liability for repayment of 
         travel expenses erroneously paid to him by his employer. 100-2, 
         H.R. 3941, H. Rept. 100-555; 100-2, H.R. 3347, H. Rept. 100-
         550.
     To suspend or waive a statute of limitations where the 
         government has been unjustly enriched at the expense of the 
         claimant (87-1, Priv. L. 87-23, H. Rept. 87-176), or where to 
         do so would be in the interests of ``justice and equity'' (100-
         1, H.R. 1491, H. Rept. 100-439).
     To provide payment to an individual injured by a government-
         prescribed fire. 104-2, S. 966, H. Rept. 104-638.
     To provide reimbursement to an entity for emergency work under 
         the Robert T. Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act. 
         104-1, H.R. 419, H. Rept. 104-359.

  Sec. 19 . -- Immigration and Naturalization Cases

      Private bills are sometimes used to exempt individuals from the 
  application of the immigration and naturalization laws in hardship 
  cases where the law would otherwise prohibit entry into or require 
  deportation from the United States. Deschler Ch 24 Sec. 3.
      Private bills have been used in specific cases to:

     Restore a prospective immigrant to his place on a quota 
         waiting list when that place was lost through no fault of the 
         immigrant. 83-2, Priv. L. 601, H. Rept. 83-2078.
     Grant asylum to a Communist aviator who flew his plane to the 
         West. 83-2, Priv. L. 380, H. Rept. 83-650.
     Grant permanent-residency status to a Philippino woman who 
         became pregnant while visiting the United States under a 
         temporary visa, where the father had acquired permanent-
         residency status, and where the alternative would have been to 
         separate the family, with the mother and infant returning to 
         the Philippines and the father remaining in the United States. 
         100-1, S. 393, H. Rept. 100-354.
     Reinstate U.S. citizenship to a man who had renounced 
         citizenship in 1950 due to family obligations when he was 
         married to a Mexican national. 100-1, H.R. 2358, H. Rept. 100-
         381.
     Enable a record-holding swimmer from East Germany who had 
         defected to the United States to file a petition for 
         naturalization, without regard to residence or Communist Party 
         membership. 100-2, H.R. 446, H. Rept. 100-598.
     Grant the status of permanent residence to a sports and media 
         figure retroactively to 1950 and provide that he be considered 
         to have complied with residential and physical presence 
         requirements of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. 86-2, 
         Priv. L. 86-486, H. Rept. 1506.

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     To permit certain individuals who were evacuated from Kuwait 
         during the Persian Gulf War to file for permanent-residency 
         status. 106-2, H.R. 3646, H. Rept. 106-580.


                  D. Restrictions on Certain Public Bills


  Sec. 20 . Appropriations

                    Appropriations on Legislative Bills

      Restrictions against the inclusion of appropriations in 
  legislative bills are provided for by clause 4 of rule XXI. A bill or 
  joint resolution carrying appropriations may not be reported by a 
  committee not having jurisdiction to report appropriations; and points 
  of order lie against those provisions when the bill is read for 
  amendment. The rule also prohibits amendments proposing appropriations 
  on a reported legislative bill. Manual Sec. 1065; see also 
  Appropriations, Sec. 76.

                   Transportation Obligation Limitations

      Clause 3 of rule XXI provides a restriction against general 
  appropriation bills that provide spending authority from balances in 
  the Highway Trust Fund (other than transfers from the general fund of 
  the Treasury) or reduces or limits the accruing balances of that trust 
  fund for anything other than activities authorized for highway or mass 
  transit programs. A former version of this rule enforced specified 
  minimum levels of surface transportation obligation limitations. 
  Manual Sec. 1064; see also Appropriations, Sec. 59a.

                       Funding for Aviation Programs

      Section 206 of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform 
  Act for the 21st Century (Pub. L. 106-181) added a provision 
  establishing points of order to guarantee a certain level of budget 
  resources available from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund each fiscal 
  year through fiscal year 2003 (updated to 2007 by Pub. L. 108-176), to 
  restrict the uses of those resources, and to guarantee a certain level 
  of appropriations. Manual Sec. 1064d; see also Appropriations, 
  Sec. 59a.


  Sec. 21 . Tax and Tariff Measures

      Under clause 5(a) of rule XXI, a bill or joint resolution carrying 
  a tax or tariff measure may not be reported by a committee other than 
  the Committee on Ways and Means; and points of order lie against those 
  provisions when the reported bill is read for amendment. The 
  prohibition extends to consideration of an amendment in the House or 
  proposed by the Senate that

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  carries a tax or tariff measure offered during the consideration of 
  such bill or joint resolution. For a discussion of the restrictions 
  against bills and amendments carrying a tax or tariff, see Manual 
  Sec. 1066.
      Clause 5(c) of rule XXI precludes consideration of a bill, joint 
  resolution, amendment, or conference report that carries a retroactive 
  Federal income tax rate increase. The rule defines a ``Federal income 
  tax rate increase'' as any amendment to subsection (a), (b), (c), (d), 
  or (e) of section 1, or to section 11(b) or 55(b), of the Internal 
  Revenue Code of 1986, that imposes a new percentage as a rate of tax 
  and thereby increases the amount of tax imposed by any such section. 
  The rule further specifies that a Federal income tax rate increase is 
  retroactive if it applies to a period beginning before the enactment 
  of the provision. Manual Sec. 1068.


  Sec. 22 . Designation of Public Works

      Clause 6 of rule XXI precludes consideration of a bill, joint 
  resolution, amendment, or conference report that provides for the 
  designation or redesignation of a public work in honor of an 
  individual then serving as a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, 
  or Senator. Manual Sec. 1068a.


  Sec. 23 . Prohibition on Commemorations

      Clause 5 of rule XII precludes introduction and consideration of a 
  bill or resolution, or an amendment thereto, if it establishes or 
  expresses a commemoration. The term ``commemoration'' is defined by 
  the rule as a remembrance, celebration, or recognition for any purpose 
  through the designation of a specified period of time. Manual 
  Sec. 823.


  Sec. 24 . Earmarks

      Clause 9 of rule XXI precludes the consideration of bills and 
  joint resolutions unless a list of congressional earmarks, limited tax 
  benefits, and limited tariff benefits, are included in the committee 
  report. For unreported bills and certain amendments, this list must be 
  printed in the Congressional Record. In lieu of such a list, a 
  statement that the legislation contains no such earmarks, tax or 
  tariff benefits may also be submitted. Clause 9 of rule XXI also 
  precludes the consideration of conference reports whose joint 
  explanatory statement fails to include the requisite earmark 
  statement.
      The point of order raised against consideration of a measure under 
  this rule must be based solely on the failure to include the requisite 
  earmark statement. The Chair does not rule on the sufficiency or 
  accuracy of such statements, but merely takes cognizance of their 
  presence or absence in the

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  report, the joint explanatory statement, or the Congressional Record, 
  as applicable. See 110-1, May 10, 2007, pp 12190, 12191.
      Pursuant to clause 9(c) of rule XXI, it is not in order to 
  consider a special order of business or other order of the House that 
  waives the earmark statement requirements in clause 9(a) or (b) of 
  rule XXI. A point of order under that paragraph is decided by the 
  question of consideration. See Question of Consideration.


  Sec. 25 . Budget-related Restrictions

      Certain budgetary schemes contained in House rules or enacted into 
  law place restrictions on the consideration of measures that violate 
  those budgetary rules. For a detailed discussion of these 
  restrictions, see Budget Process.