[Constitution, Jefferson's Manual, and the Rules of the House of Representatives, 111th Congress]
[House Document 110-162]
[Rules of the House of Representatives]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]
Statutory Limit on Public Debt
House, and the joint resolution shall be considered as passed by the
House and duly certified and examined. The engrossed copy shall be
signed by the Clerk and transmitted to the Senate for further
2. The matter after the resolving clause in a joint resolution
described in clause 1 shall be as follows: ``That subsection (b) of
section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out
the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu
thereof `$____'.'', with the blank being filled with a dollar limitation
equal to the appropriate level of the public debt set forth pursuant to
section 301(a)(5) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 in the
relevant concurrent resolution described in clause 1. If an adopted
concurrent resolution under clause 1 sets forth different appropriate
levels of the public debt for separate periods, only one engrossed joint
resolution shall be prepared under clause 1; and the blank referred to
in the preceding sentence shall be filled with the limitation that is to
apply for each period.
3. (a) The report of the Committee on the Budget on a concurrent
resolution described in clause 1 and the joint explanatory statement of
the managers on a conference report to accompany such a concurrent
resolution each shall contain a clear statement of the effect the
eventual enactment of a joint resolution engrossed under this rule would
have on the statutory limit on the public debt.
(b) It shall not be in order for the House to consider a concurrent
resolution described in clause 1, or a conference report thereon, unless
the report of the Committee on the Budget or the joint explanatory
statement of the managers complies with paragraph (a).
4. Nothing in this rule shall be construed as limiting or otherwise
(a) the power of the House or the Senate to consider and pass
bills or joint resolutions, without regard to the procedures under
clause 1, that would change the statutory limit on the public debt; or
(b) the rights of Members, Delegates, the Resident Commissioner,
or committees with respect to the introduction, consideration, and
reporting of such bills or joint resolutions.
5. In this rule the term ``statutory limit on the public debt'' means
the maximum face amount of obligations issued under authority of chapter
31 of title 31, United States Code, and obligations guaranteed as to
principal and interest by the United States (except such guaranteed
obligations as may be held by the Secretary of the Treasury), as
determined under section 3101(b) of such title after the application of
section 3101(a) of such title, that may be outstanding at any one time.
year 1981 (H. Con. Res. 307, June 12, 1980, pp. 14505-19; see H.J. Res.
569 and H.J. Res. 570, June 13, 1980, p. 14609). Conforming changes were
made in clauses 2 and 5 of this rule with the codification of title 31,
United States Code, by Public Law 97-258 (96 Stat. 1066). The rule was
amended in the 98th Congress (H. Res. 241, June 23, 1983, p. 17162) to
reflect the enactment into law (P.L. 98-34) of a new permanent, rather
than temporary, debt limit. Clause 2 was rewritten, and clause 1
modified, to change the form of the joint resolution engrossed pursuant
to the rule in order to delete references to a temporary debt limit and
to reflect instead changes in a permanent debt limit. The rules change
also provided that where a budget resolution contains more than one
public debt limit figure (for the current and the next fiscal year),
only one joint resolution be engrossed, containing the debt limit figure
for the current fiscal year with a time limitation, and the debt limit
figure for the following fiscal year as the permanent limit. Another
conforming change in clause 1 was made in the Balanced Budget and
Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-177, Dec. 12, 1985, p.
36209) to delete reference to a second concurrent resolution on the
budget (no longer required under section 310 of the Budget Act). Before
the House recodified its rules in the 106th Congress, this provision was
found in former rule XLIX. Recodification placed it as rule XXIII (H.
Res. 5, Jan. 6, 1999, p. 47). The rule was repealed in the 107th
Congress (sec. 2(s), H. Res. 5, Jan. 3, 2001, p. 24), reinstated in the
108th Congress as rule XVII (sec. 2(t), H. Res. 5, Jan. 7, 2003, p. 7),
and redesignated in the 110th Congress as rule XXVIII (sec. 301, P.L.
This rule was added in the 96th Congress by Public Law 96-78 (93 Stat.
589) and was originally applicable to concurrent resolutions on the
budget for fiscal years beginning on or after October 1, 1980 (fiscal
year 1981). However, in the 96th Congress (H. Res. 642, Apr. 23, 1980,
p. 8800), the provisions of that public law amending the Rules of the
House were made applicable to the third concurrent resolution on the
budget for fiscal year 1980 as well as the first concurrent resolution
on the budget for fiscal
This rule has been ordered inapplicable to a conference report on a
concurrent resolution on the budget (e.g., H. Res. 131, Mar. 25, 1999,
p. 5671; H. Res. 446, Mar. 23, 2000, p. 3442). The date of final House
action in adopting the conference report on the concurrent resolution on
the budget, rather than the date of final Senate action, when later, is
the appropriate date under this rule for deeming the House to have
passed the joint resolution (July 14, 1986, p. 16316; Speaker Wright,
June 25, 1987, p. 17424).
Sec. 1104. Public debt limit.
1. Upon adoption by Congress
of a concurrent resolution on the budget under section 301 or 304 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974 that sets forth, as the appropriate
level of the public debt for the period to which the concurrent
resolution relates, an amount that is different from the amount of the
statutory limit on the public debt that otherwise would be in effect for
that period, the Clerk shall prepare an engrossment of a joint
resolution increasing or decreasing, as the case may be, the statutory
limit on the public debt in the form prescribed in clause 2. Upon
engrossment of the joint resolution, the vote by which the concurrent
resolution on the budget was finally agreed to in the House shall also
be considered as a vote on passage of the joint resolution in the