[Deschler's Precedents, Volume 4]
[Chapter 17. Committees]
[D. Jurisdiction of Committees]
[§ 26. Introduction]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

[Page 2760-2764]
                               CHAPTER 17
                         C. COMMITTEE PROCEDURE
Sec. 26. Introduction

    The Speaker's referral of private and public bills and resolutions, 
petitions, and memorials is authorized by Rule XXII clauses 1 and 4: 
 6. House Rules and Manual Sec. Sec. 849, 854 (1979). Clauses 2 and 3 
        of Rule XXII restrict the introduction of certain private bills 
        and provide for the correction in errors of reference of 
        private bills.

        1. Members having petitions or memorials or bills of a private 
    nature to present may deliver them to the Clerk indorsing their 
    names and reference or disposition to be made thereof; and said 
    petitions and memorials and bills of a private nature, except such 
    as, in the judgment of the Speaker, are of an obscene or insulting 
    character, shall be entered on the Journal, with the names of the 
    Members presenting them, and the Clerk shall furnish a transcript 
    of such entry to the official reporters of debates for publication 
    in the Record. . . .
        4. All other bills, memorials, and resolutions may, in like 
    manner, be delivered, indorsed with the names of Members 
    introducing them, to the Speaker, to be by him referred, and the 
    titles and references thereof and of all bills, resolutions, and 
    documents referred under the rules shal1 be entered on the Journal 
    and printed in the Record of the next day, and correction in case 
    of error of reference may be made by the House, without debate, in 
    accordance with Rule XI, on any day immediately after the reading 
    of the Journal, by unanimous consent, or on motion of a committee 
    claiming jurisdiction, or on the report of the committee to which 
    the bill has been erroneously referred.

    Messages from the President and communications are referred 
pursuant to Rule XXIV clause 2: (7)
 7. Senate bills are referred similarly to House bills except where a 
        House committee has reported or is about to report a similar 
        bill, in which case the Senate bill is customarily held at the 
        Speaker's table. Although the Speaker has the authority under 
        this rule to refer bills with amendments between the Houses to 
        committee, he rarely does so.


[[Page 2761]]

        2. Business on the Speaker's table shall be disposed of as 
        Messages from the President shall be referred to the 
    appropriate committees without debate. Reports and communications 
    from heads of departments, and other communications addressed to 
    the House, and bills, resolutions, and messages from the Senate may 
    be referred to the appropriate committees in the same manner and 
    with the same right of correction as public bills presented by 
    Members; but House bills with Senate amendments which do not 
    require consideration in a Committee of the Whole may be at once 
    disposed of as the House may determine, as may also Senate bills 
    substantially the same as House bills already favorably reported by 
    a committee of the House, and not required to be considered in 
    Committee of the Whole, be disposed of in the same manner on motion 
    directed to be made by such committee.

    The rules of the House of Representatives as in effect in the 93d 
Congress listed, in Rule XI, the subject-matter jurisdiction of each 
standing committee of the House; the Committee Reform Amendments of 
1974 (8) transferred the list of committees and their 
respective jurisdictions, as modified by those amendments, to Rule X.
 8. H. Res. 988, 120 Cong. Rec. 34447-70, 93d Cong. 2d Sess., Oct. 8, 
        1974, effective Jan. 3, 1975.

    Prior to the adoption of the Committee Reform Amendments of 1974, 
the rules permitted neither the division of a bill for reference to 
more than one committee nor the simultaneous referral of a bill to more 
than one committee, except by way of a motion to refer or to 
recommit.(9) Thus the reference of bills and resolutions was 
based on the principle of primary jurisdiction over the subject matter. 
On occasion, the committee of reference operated under an informal 
agreement whereby the recommendations of another committee with 
jurisdiction over a portion of the legislation would be incorporated 
into the report of the reporting committee,(10) and the 
Committee on Rules has the authority to recommend in an order of 
business resolution that a committee other than the reporting committee 
be permitted to control some general debate in Committee of the Whole 
and offer its informal work product as an amendment in Committee of the 
 9. See 5 Hinds' Precedents Sec. 5558; Sec. 29, infra. A motion to 
        recommit (or to commit or refer) may specify reference to any 
        committee regardless of rules for jurisdiction, and may refer 
        the bill to other than the reporting committee. 4 Hinds' 
        Precedents Sec. 4375; 8 Cannon's Precedents Sec. Sec. 2696, 
10. See, i.e., Sec. 29.1, infra.

    Some statutes prescribe the reference to a designated committee or 
committees of a particular kind

[[Page 2762]]

of communication from the executive branch.(11) And messages 
from the President which overlap the subject-matter jurisdiction of 
more than one committee may be referred to the Committee of the Whole 
House on the state of the Union rather than to a specific standing 
11. See Sec. 29.3, infra.

    The Committee Reform Amendments delegated new powers to the Speaker 
in the referral of bills, resolutions, and other matters, allowing 
referrals to more than one committee by various methods: 
12. Rule X clause 5, House Rules and Manual Sec. 700 (1979), as added 
        by H. Res. 988, 93d Cong., effective Jan. 3, 1975.

        5. (a) Each bill, resolution, or other matter which relates to 
    a subject listed under any standing committee named in clause 1 
    shall be referred by the Speaker in accordance with the provisions 
    of this clause.
        (b) Every referral of any matter under paragraph (a) shall be 
    made in such manner as to assure to the maximum extent feasible 
    that each committee which has jurisdiction under clause 1 over the 
    subject matter of any provision thereof will have responsibility 
    for considering such provision and reporting to the House with 
    respect thereto. Any precedents, rulings, and procedures in effect 
    prior to the Ninety-Fourth Congress shall be applied with respect 
    to referrals under this clause only to the extent that they will 
    contribute to the achievement of the objectives of this clause.
        (c) In carrying out paragraph (a) and (b) with respect to any 
    matter, the Speaker may refer the matter simultaneously to two or 
    more committees for concurrent consideration or for consideration 
    in sequence (subject to appropriate time limitations in the case of 
    any committee), or divide the matter into two or more parts 
    (reflecting different subjects and jurisdictions) and refer each 
    such part to a different committee, or refer the matter to a 
    special ad hoc committee appointed by the Speaker with the approval 
    of the House (from the members of the committees having legislative 
    jurisdiction) for the specific purpose of considering that matter 
    and reporting to the House thereon, or make such other provision as 
    may be considered appropriate.
        (d) After the introduction in the House of each bill or 
    resolution the Congressional Research Service of the Library of 
    Congress shall prepare a factual description of the subject 
    involved therein not to exceed one hundred words; such description 
    shall be published in the Congressional Record and the Digest of 
    Public General Bills and Resolutions as soon as possible after 
        (e) No bill or resolution introduced or received in the House 
    shall be referred to the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.

    As indicated in the new clause 5(b), Rule X, precedents as to 
referral occurring prior to the effective date of the Committee Reform 
Amendments of 1974 were to remain controlling only to the ex

[[Page 2763]]

tent necessary to carry out the purposes of the new clause, thereby 
modifying the previous principle that the erroneous reference of a 
public bill, if uncorrected, effectively granted jurisdiction to the 
committee receiving it.(13) Furthermore, the Speaker's new 
power to sequentially refer a bill once reported from the initial 
committee or committees to which referred indicates that the Speaker's 
initial referral under the new rule does not preclude other committees 
from obtaining subsequent consideration of the bill, and in some cases, 
in addition to the bill, of a committee amendment reported by the first 
committee or committees.
13. See House Rules and Manual Sec. 854 (note) (1979). Rule XXII clause 
        3 specifically states that an erroneous reference of a private 
        bill shall not confer jurisdiction over the committee to 
        consider or report the same.

    A bill may be rereferred in the House by unanimous consent, by a 
motion authorized by a committee claiming jurisdiction, or on the 
report of the committee to which the bill has been erroneously 
referred.(14) But once a committee has reported a bill and 
it has been placed on the appropriate calendar, a motion for 
rereference or a point of order that the bill was improperly referred 
comes too late.(15)
14. Rule XXII clause 4, House Rules and Manual Sec. 854 (1979).
15. Rule XXII clause 4, House Rules and Manual Sec. 854 (note) (1979). 
        See also Sec. 27.7, infra.

    Wherever possible, the discussion of the jurisdiction of the 
respective standing committees of the House in this division will 
include pertinent information and changes resulting from the adoption 
of the Committee Reform Amendments of 1974, but any precedents arising 
under those new rules of jurisdiction, and the scope of the Speaker's 
new powers of referral, will be preserved for later editions of this 
    Further insight into the jurisdiction of committees may be found in 
the legislative subject categories lists dealing with the various 
committees prepared by the staff of the Select Committee on 
16. ``Monographs on the Committees of the House of Representatives'', 
        93d Cong. 2d Sess., Dec. 13, 1974, committee print.

                         Collateral References
Committee Reform Amendments of 1974, Explanation of H. Res. 998 as 
    Adopted by the House of Representatives, Oct. 8, 1974, Staff Report 
    of the Select Committee on Committees, House of Representatives, 
    93d Cong. 2d Sess. (1974).
Committee Organization in the House, Hearings and Panel Discussions 

[[Page 2764]]

    the Select Committee on Committees, House of Representatives, 93d 
    Cong. 2d Sess., H. Doc. No. 94-187 (3 volumes).