[Deschler-Brown Precedents, Volume 16, Chapters 32 - 33]
[Chapter 33. House-Senate Conferences]
[E. CONSIDERATION AND DISPOSITION OF REPORT]
[§ 24. Custody of the Official Papers]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]


[Page 809-823]
 
        House-Senate Conferences
 
E. CONSIDERATION AND DISPOSITION OF REPORT
 
Sec.    24. Custody of the Official Papers

Neither House may consider a conference report until it has possession 
of the official papers,(15) which consist of the original bill and any 
amendments thereto.(16) Copies of the conference report itself and the 
statement of the managers must also be available on the floor.(17) 

It is customary for the managers of the House which had requested a 
conference to carry the official papers with them to the conference. If 
the conferees reach an agreement (even a partial agreement), the papers 
change hands, and the managers of the House which had agreed to the 
conference take possession thereof and their House acts first on the 
report.(18) However, if the managers of the agreeing House fail to take 
possession of the papers at the close of a successful conference, the 
managers of the asking House may retain the papers and that House acts 
first on the report.(19) When the conferees report in total 
disagreement the papers do not change hands.(20) 

Possession of Official Papers
Sec.    24.1  It is not in order to consider a conference report in the 
House until the original (official) papers are in possession of the 
House.
On Aug. 20, 1937,(1) Mr. Andrew J. May, of Kentucky, submitted the 
conference report and statement of the managers on H.R. 7985, providing 
for the enlargement of Washington Airport. After Mr. May sought 
unanimous consent for the immediate consideration of the conference 
report, the following occurred:

THE SPEAKER:(2) The gentleman from Kentucky has filed a conference 
report. Has the gentleman from Kentucky the original papers in the 
case? The only papers available are copies of the conference report and 
the official papers do 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
15.     Sec. 24.1, infra.
16.     Sec. 24.2, infra.
17.     Rule XXVIII clause 2(a), House Rules and Manual Sec. 912a (1997), 
as amended by the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970, 84 Stat. 
1140, Pub. L. No. 91-510, Sec. 125(b)(2) (Oct. 26, 1970).
18.     Sec. 24.3, infra.
19.     Sec.Sec. 24.4, 24.5, infra.
20.     Sec. 24.13, infra.
 1.     81 CONG. REC. 9515, 75th Cong. 1st Sess.
 2.     William B. Bankhead (Ala.).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 810]]

not seem to have been returned from the Senate.
MR. MAY: The report is signed by the Senate conferees and by the House 
conferees.
THE SPEAKER: But the Chair cannot permit the consideration of a 
conference report on a bill while the original papers are in the 
possession of the other body, which seems to be the case in this 
instance. The Chair is of the opinion the gentleman will have to 
withhold his request for consideration until the papers are sent over 
from the Senate. The Chair has had a diligent search made and the 
records do not show that the papers have been messaged over.
Sec.    24.2 When a conference report is called up for consideration it 
is not necessary that copies of the bill to which the conference report 
relates be available for all Members of the House; it is sufficient 
that the official papers-the House bill and the Senate amendment there-
to-are before the House.
On July 28, 1954,(3) after the House consented to dispensing with the 
reading of the conference report on H.R. 8300, the Internal Revenue 
Code of 1954, Mr. Herman P. Eberharter, of Pennsylvania, raised several 
points of order:

Mr. Speaker, the first point of order I wish to offer to the conference 
report is that a copy of the House bill is not before the House.
THE SPEAKER:(4) A copy of the report is not before the House?
MR. EBERHARTER: A copy of the House bill, H.R. 8300, is not before the 
House. Members cannot obtain a copy of the House bill.
THE SPEAKER: The subject matter before the House is the conference 
report, rather than the bill as such.
MR. EBERHARTER: Mr. Speaker, if I may discuss the matter, under section 
6518, chapter 527, I think it is, volume 5 of Cannon's Precedents, it 
is stated that the House bill with the Senate amendments must be on the 
floor of the House for consideration. As I see it, the Members are 
unable to obtain copies of the House bill.
THE SPEAKER: The Chair will say that both the bill and the conference 
report are here. The precedent in volume 5, section 6518, of Hinds' 
Precedents requires the official papers-the House bill and the Senate 
amendment-to be here. They are here at the desk at this moment, and 
there is no requirement that each Member have a copy. The point of 
order is overruled.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 3.     100 CONG. REC. 12399, 12425, 83d Cong. 2d Sess. See Rule XXVIII 
clause 2(a), House Rules and Manual Sec. 912a (1997) which requires 
that such reports be printed in the Record, and thus affords Members 
the opportunity to examine a report prior to its consideration.
 4.     Joseph W. Martin, Jr. (Mass.).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 811]]

Agreeing House To Take Custody of Papers
Sec.    24.3 The House agreeing to a conference normally takes possession 
of the original papers at the conclusion of the conference and acts 
first on the report.
On Dec. 19, 1963,(5) several Members were discussing the possibility of 
prompt action on the conference report anticipated on the foreign aid 
appropriations bill of 1964.

MR. [CHARLES A.] HALLECK [of Indiana]: As I understand it, the other 
body having asked for the conference, if the conferees are able to 
agree on a conference report then we would get the papers first.
MR. [OTTO E.] PASSMAN [of Louisiana]: That is my understanding. . . . 
MR. HALLECK: Mr. Speaker, a parliamentary inquiry.
THE SPEAKER:(6) The gentleman will state it.
MR. HALLECK: Mr. Speaker, in the event that the conference report is 
acted on first in the House, as we now understand it will be, would a 
motion to recommit with instructions be in order?
THE SPEAKER: A proper motion would be.
Failure of Managers To Take Possession of the Papers
Sec.    24.4 If the managers on the part of the House which agrees to a 
conference fail to take possession of the papers at the close of a 
conference, the other House may, since it has the papers before it, act 
first on the conference report.
On July 4, 1952,(7) after the House had completed debate on the 
conference report on S. 3066, to amend the defense housing laws, the 
following occurred:

MR. [BRENT] SPENCE [of Kentucky]: Mr. Speaker, I move the previous 
question on the conference report.
The previous question was ordered.
MR. [ABRAHAM J.] MULTER [of New York]: Mr. Speaker, I offer a motion to 
recommit.
THE SPEAKER:(8) The Chair will state to the gentleman from New York 
that a motion to recommit is not in order, the Senate having acted on 
the conference report.(9) 
MR. MULTER: Mr. Speaker, if they did, they acted improperly, because 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 5.     109 CONG. REC. 25249, 88th Cong. 1st Sess.
 6.     John W. McCormack (Mass.).
 7.     98 CONG. REC. 9379, 9380, 82d Cong. 2d Sess.
 8.     Sam Rayburn (Tex.).
 9.     98 CONG. REC. 9216, 82d Cong. 2d Sess., July 3, 1952.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 812]]

this should have been acted on in the House first.(10) 
THE SPEAKER: The Chair is not aware that the Senate has acted 
improperly. We have received a message that they agreed to the 
conference report.
Order of Acting on a Conference Report and Course of Official Papers; 
Effect on Motion To Recommit
Sec.    24.5 While the House agreeing to the request for a conference 
normally acts first on the report, if conferees reach an agreement, an 
exchange of the official papers in conference can change the normal 
order of action on the report.  
Where the managers on the part of the House had signed a conference 
report before their formal appointment, thus making the report, if 
called up, vulnerable to a point of order under Rule XXVIII clause 6,
(11) the report was recommitted to the conference, by unanimous 
consent, so that an open meeting of the conferees could take place 
before signatures were affixed to the report. Discussion about the 
course of conference papers and the options available to the House 
acting first to recommit or instruct are excerpted from the proceedings 
of Mar. 25, 1980,(12) and are carried here. 
RECOMMITTAL TO CONFERENCE OF S. 662, INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT BANKS 
AUTHORIZATION
MR. [HENRY S.] REUSS [of Wisconsin]: Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous 
consent to recommit the Senate bill, S. 662, to conference.
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:(13) Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Wisconsin? . . . 
MR. [ROBERT E.] BAUMAN [of Maryland]: Further reserving the right to 
object, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a further parliamentary 
inquiry.
If this request is granted, the House is then asking the other body for 
a conference. At that point it allows the other body to act first under 
the rules, and that would preclude a motion to recommit with 
instructions on the part of any Member of the House. Is that correct?
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: This request would not change the order of 
consideration of the new report. It merely asks for a recommital of the 
conference report to the same conference.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
10.     The Senate requested the conference on this measure on July 3, 
Id. at pp. 9048, 9049, and the House agreed thereto on the same date, 
Id. at p. 9216.
11.     See House Rules and Manual Sec. 913d (1997).
12.     126 CONG. REC. 6429-31, 96th Cong. 2d Sess.
13.     John P. Murtha (Pa.).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Pae 813]]

MR. BAUMAN: If the motion is granted, is a motion to recommit or a 
motion to instruct in order at this time?
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The House would still act first on the 
conference report.
MR. BAUMAN: Further reserving the right to object, the gentleman from 
Maryland, knowing the outcome of the consideration of the conference, 
would very much like to make a motion to instruct but does not have one 
prepared at this time.
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The Chair advises that would not be in order 
at this time in any event.
MR. BAUMAN: That was the question the gentleman put to the Chair, 
whether a motion to instruct would be in order at this time. The Chair 
says "No." If this request is not granted and a point of order is made 
against the consideration of the conference report, as the gentleman 
from Wisconsin suggested, it might be that no motion to instruct would 
be in order under rule XXVIII at that time, would it?
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: If a point of order were sustained under 
clause 6 to rule 28 a new conference would be considered as requested 
and conferees appointed without intervening motion and the Senate would 
probably agree to a new conference and would probably act first on the 
new conference report. . . . 
If this request is granted to recommit the conference report, the 
motion to recommit would be protected for the minority.
MR. BAUMAN: But if the other body acts, Mr. Speaker, that precludes a 
motion to recommit with instructions; does it not?
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: If this goes back to the same conference the 
other body, of course, does not have to agree to a request for a new 
conference.
MR. BAUMAN: But the other body can act first, thereby precluding any 
motion to recommit?
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: If the papers are traded in conference, that 
is possible, but not the normal sequence. . . . 
MR. BAUMAN: Mr. Speaker, further reserving the right to object, is it 
within the province of the senior conferee to return the papers to this 
House for action first, in order to protect a motion to recommit?
MR. REUSS: Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman will yield, that is absolutely 
right. That would be the normal course.
MR. BAUMAN: Mr. Speaker, further reserving the right to object, do I 
have the guarantee of the gentleman from Wisconsin that that will be 
his course of action? 
MR. REUSS: Yes, the gentleman does. . . . 
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Wisconsin?
There was no objection.

Parliamentarian's Note: Under Rule XXVIII, if a point of order is 
sustained against a report under clause 6(b), the report is deemed to 
be rejected, and the Speaker appoints new conferees without intervening 
motion, thus precluding a motion to instruct.


[[Page 814]]

Transmittal of Conference Papers
Sec.    24.6 In rare circumstances conference papers may be informally 
exchanged between the House and Senate, to accommodate a particularly 
tight legislative schedule; and on one occasion the House, which was 
scheduled to act first on a report, informally left the papers with the 
Senate at the conclusion of the conference and after the Senate acted 
on a motion to recommit (which was defeated) the papers were given (not 
messaged to) to the House which acted first on the report.
When papers are transferred in an informal fashion there is no 
indication in the Record of the transaction. The first message shown in 
the Congressional Record occurred when the House informed the Senate 
that it had adopted the conference report. After the Senate had 
rejected the motion to recommit, and relinquished the papers to the 
House, it continued to debate the conference report. The excerpt from 
the proceedings of July 14, 1988,(14) follows:
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT-CONFERENCE REPORT-FISCAL YEAR 
1989
THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE:(15) Under the previous order, the 
Senate will now proceed to the consideration of the conference report 
on H.R. 4264, which the clerk will report.
The legislative clerk read as follows:

The committee of conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses 
on the amendment of the Senate to the bill (H.R. 4264) to authorize 
appropriations for fiscal year 1989 for military activities of the 
Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense 
activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe personnel 
strengths for such fiscal year for the Armed Forces, and for other 
purposes, having met, after full and free conference, have agreed to 
recommend and do recommend to their respective Houses this report, 
signed by a majority of the conferees.

THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: Without objection, the Senate will 
proceed to the consideration of the conference report.
Under the previous order, the Senator from Indiana, Mr. Quayle, is 
recognized to offer a motion to recommit. The Senator from Indiana.
MOTION TO RECOMMIT
MR. [DAN] QUAYLE [of Indiana]: Mr. President, I send a motion to 
recommit 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
14.     134 CONG. REC. 18277, 18281, 18286, 18411, 100th Cong. 2d Sess.
15.     Richard C. Shelby (Ala.).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 815]]

to the desk and ask for its immediate consideration.
THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: The clerk will report.
The legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from Indiana [Mr. Quayle] moves to recommit the pending 
conference report with instructions that the Senate conferees insist on 
a position more favorable to the Senate position on ICBM modernization, 
SDI, Poseidon SSBNs, depressed trajectory missile testing, and nuclear 
testing, and that in addition the amendments authorized be changed to 
eliminate those items not requested nor estimated for in the 
President's budget, with the resulting savings to be apportioned to 
readiness and sustainability programs that will enhance conventional 
deterrence forces.

THE ACTING PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: The Senator from Indiana. . . . 
Under the previous order, the question is on agreeing to the motion to 
recommit the conference report. The yeas and nays have been ordered. 
The clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk called the roll. . . .

The motion to recommit was rejected. The Senate then informally 
relinquished possession of the papers to the House and continued to 
debate the report.(16) 
Later, in the House:
CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 4264, NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT, 
FISCAL YEAR 1989
MR. [LES] ASPIN [of Wisconsin]: Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the provisions 
of House Resolution 492, I call up the conference report on the bill 
(H.R. 4264) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 1989 for 
military activities of the Department of Defense, for military 
construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, 
to prescribe personnel strengths for such fiscal year for the Armed 
Forces, and for other purposes.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
Where Transmittal of Conference Papers Does Not Follow Normal Practice
Sec.    24.7 It is customary, at the conclusion of a successful 
conference, for the asking House to surrender the original papers to 
the agreeing House, so that the latter may act first on the report; but 
failure to follow this usual order does not specifically violate a 
rule.
At the conclusion of the successful conference on H.R. 3982, the 
Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1981, the Senate retained the original 
papers for a period of time, and did not give them to the House 
conferees to file them in the House with the conference report.  They 
were later delivered separately to the House, by the Senate 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
16.     134 CONG. REC. 18411, 100th Cong. 2d Sess., July 14, 1988.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 816]]

messenger, and were filed at the Speaker's table. 
On July 31, 1981,(17) a parliamentary inquiry was addressed to the 
Speaker, as follows:

MR. [BRUCE F.] VENTO [of Minnesota]: Mr. Speaker, I have a 
parliamentary inquiry.
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:(18) The gentleman will state it.
MR. VENTO: Mr. Speaker, I inquire of the Chair whether the papers of 
the reconciliation package, H.R. 3982, are in the possession of the 
House.
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: Yes, they are.
MR. VENTO: Mr. Speaker, I would further inquire, is it customary for 
these papers to remain in the possession of the House at the conclusion 
of a conference committee, and in this instance, were they retained at 
the conclusion of the conference committee, or were they more recently 
delivered to the House?
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: Yes, the Chair would say to the gentleman, it 
is customary for the papers to be transferred to the House which agree 
to the conference-and is to act first on the report-at the conclusion 
of a successful conference.
MR. VENTO: In this case, Mr. Speaker, were the papers retained by the 
House conferees on the matter of the reconciliation conference?
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: Evidently not, because they were brought  back 
to the House this morning at about 9:15 by a messenger from the other 
body.
MR. VENTO: Mr. Speaker, in other words, this violated one of the tenets 
that we have in terms of consideration.
I thank the Chair.
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The Chair would advise the gentleman that this 
deviated from custom but did not especially violate the rules of the 
House.

Parliamentarian's Note: Jefferson's Manual, in section 555,  states 
that the conferees of the asking House are to surrender the original 
papers to the conferees of the other House at the conclusion of a 
successful conference. Of concern to some Members in the instance which 
generated the inquiry by Mr. Vento was the possibility that the Senate, 
by retaining the papers, could then, by motion, recede from its 
amendment to the House bill, clearing the Reconciliation Act for the 
President's signature and preventing the House from taking further 
action-a course advocated by some Members who wished to address the 
issue of Social Security minimum benefits as part of the reconciliation 
package.
Senate: Discharging a Matter in Conference
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
17.     127 CONG. REC. 18884, 18885, 97th Cong. 1st Sess.
18.     Barney Frank (Mass.).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 817]]

Sec.    24.8 The Senate having possession of the original papers on a 
House bill with Senate amendments on which it had earlier asked for 
and   the House had agreed to a conference thereon, subsequently agreed 
to a motion that the Senate further insist on its amendment, thereby 
discharging its conferees and sending the papers back to the House for 
possible disposition by privileged motion, the stage of disagreement 
having been reached.
Instance where the Senate insisted on its amendment to a bill already 
"in conference," managers from both Houses having been appointed. The 
message from the House and the motion offered by the senior Senate 
conferee on Dec. 18, 1982,(19) are carried here as illustrative of a 
rarely used practice.
Parliamentarian's Note: In Senate practice, there is a difference 
between "receiving a message from the House" which occurred in this 
instance on Dec. 13, 1982,(20) and "laying before the Senate a message 
from the House," which was the incident that made the request of Mr. 
Strom Thurmond, of South Carolina, timely. Normally, when a matter is 
in conference, only the conferees can by a proper motion in the 
conference, make the official papers available for action.

[From the Congressional Record of the Senate proceedings on Dec. 13, 
1982.]
MESSAGES FROM THE HOUSE
At 12:10 p.m. [on Dec. 13, 1982], a message from the House of 
Representatives, delivered by Mr. Gregory, one of its reading clerks, 
announced that the House disagrees to the amendment of the Senate to 
the bill (H.R. 3963) to amend the Contract Services for Drug Dependent 
Federal Offenders Act of 1978 to extend the periods for which funds are 
authorized to be appropriated; agrees to the conference asked by the 
Senate on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses thereon, and appoints 
Mr. Rodino, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Kastenmeier, Mr. Conyers, Mr. Glickman, Mr. 
Sawyer, Mr. Fish, and Mr. Kindness as managers of the conference on the 
part of the House. . . .

 On Dec. 18, 1982, the message was laid before the Senate.
CONTRACT SERVICES FOR DRUG DE-PENDENT FEDERAL OFFENDERS  ACT
MR. THURMOND: Mr. President, I ask that the Chair lay before the Senate 
a message from the House of Representatives on H.R. 3963.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
19.     128 CONG. REC. 32270, 97th Cong. 2d Sess.
20.     Id. at p. 30183.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 818]]

The Presiding Officer laid before the Senate the following message from 
the House of Representatives:

Resolved, That the House disagree to the amendment of the Senate to the 
bill (H.R. 3963) entitled "An act to amend the Contract Services for 
Drug Dependent Federal Offenders Act of 1978 to extend the periods for 
which funds are authorized to be appropriated," and agree to the 
conference asked by the Senate on the disagreeing votes of the two 
Houses thereon.

MR. THURMOND: Mr. President, this concerns the crime package. I move 
that the Senate further insist on its amendment to H.R. 3963.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER:(1) The question is on agreeing to the motion of 
the Senator from South Carolina (Mr. Thurmond).
The motion was agreed to.
MR. THURMOND: I move to reconsider the vote by which the motion was 
agreed to.
MR. [WILLIAM] PROXMIRE [of Wisconsin]: I move to lay that motion on the 
table.
The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
MR. THURMOND: Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Ohio for 
yielding.
House Action Where Senate Discharged Its Conferees and Insisted on 
Disagreement
Sec.    24.9 The Senate, having discharged its conferees by further 
insisting on disagreement to its amendment to a House bill in 
conference, messaged this action to the House; and there the original 
manager of the bill offered a privileged motion to recede and concur in 
the Senate amendment with an amendment.
On Dec. 20, 1982,(2) a motion was made in the House to take from the 
Speaker's table a House bill with a nongermane Senate amendment which 
had previously been sent to conference, and to recede from disagreement 
and concur with a further amendment. The Senate amendment-a "crime 
package" which had been added in the Senate to a bill dealing with drug 
offenders-was very long, and rather than face an arduous reading 
thereof, Mr. William J. Hughes, of New Jersey, withdrew his motion. The 
proceedings were as indicated below:

MR. HUGHES: Mr. Speaker, I move to take from the Speaker's table the 
bill (H.R. 3963) to amend the Contract Services for Drug Dependent 
Federal Offenders Act of 1978 to extend the periods for which funds are 
authorized to be appropriated, with the Senate 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 1.     David F. Durenberger (Minn.).
 2.     128 CONG. REC. 32886, 97th Cong. 2d Sess.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 819]]

amendment thereto, recede from disagreement to the Senate amendment, 
and agree to the Senate amendment with an amendment.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The Clerk read the Senate amendment.
The Clerk proceeded to read the House amendment to the Senate 
amendment.
MR. HUGHES: Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the amendment be 
considered as read and printed in the Record.
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE:(3) Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from New Jersey?
MR. [ROBERT S.] WALKER [of Pennsylvania]: I reserve the right to 
object.
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman from Michigan reserves the right 
to object to considering the amendment as being read and printed in the 
Record.
MR. WALKER: Mr. Speaker, I reserve the right to object. It is a little 
hard to tell in the House, with all the loud noise, just exactly what 
we are doing.
Is the gentleman considering to go to conference?
MR. HUGHES: No, if the gentleman will yield, I asked to take from the 
Speaker's table the bill (H.R. 3963) to amend the Contract Services for 
Drug Dependent Federal Offenders Act of 1978 to extend the periods for 
which funds are authorized to be appropriated, with the Senate 
amendment thereto, recede from disagreement to the Senate amendment, 
and agree to the Senate amendment with an amendment.
MR. WALKER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman, and I withdraw my 
reservation of objection.
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from New Jersey to consider the amendment as read and printed 
in the Record?
MR. CONYERS: Mr. Speaker, might the chairman of the Subcommittee on 
Crime explain what is involved in the Senate amendment or amendments 
from which he is receding?
MR. HUGHES: Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman will yield, I am going to 
explain that in the text of my remarks.
MR. [JOHN] CONYERS [Jr., of Michigan]: Mr. Speaker, I object.
MR. HUGHES: Will the gentleman let me explain, if I might?
MR. CONYERS: That is all right, I object.
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: Objection is heard.
The Clerk will continue to read the amendment.
The Clerk continued to read the House amendment to the Senate 
amendment.
MR. HUGHES (during the reading): Mr. Speaker, I withdraw the motion.
PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY
MR. CONYERS: Mr. Speaker, I have a parliamentary inquiry.
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman will state his parliamentary 
inquiry.
MR. CONYERS: Mr. Speaker, does that request have to be made in the form 
of a motion?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 3.     Thomas S. Foley (Wash.).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 820]]

THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: No, it does not.
MR. CONYERS: Further parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Speaker.
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: The gentleman will state his parliamentary 
inquiry.
MR. CONYERS: Does the request have to receive unanimous consent?
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: No. It is a matter of right to withdraw the 
motion in the House prior to action thereon.
Asking House May Retain Papers and Act First
Sec.    24.10 On one occasion the Senate, having asked for a conference, 
retained the official papers at the successful conclusion of the 
conference (instead of following the customary practice of surrendering 
them to the agreeing body) and acted first on the report.
On Oct. 20, 1965,(4) Mr. George H. Fallon, of Maryland, called up the 
conference report on S. 2300, the Rivers and Harbors Authorization Act 
of 1965. Although the Senate had requested this conference(5) and the 
House had agreed thereto,(6) the Senate conferees retained the official 
papers and the Senate acted first on the report, voting its approval on 
Oct. 19, 1965.(7) During the debate on the conference report, Mr. 
William C. Cramer, of Florida, made these remarks concerning the 
actions of the Senate:

If we thus let them subvert the rules of this House, which are very 
clear, that the party asking for the conference, the other body has the 
right to act first on the conference report. . . . 
In conference a member of the conferees asked the chairman the 
question: "Is it not true that the other body, the Senate, having asked 
for this conference, we, the House, have a right to the papers and to 
act first?" The answer was "Yes" by the chairman of the conference, the 
distinguished Senator from Michigan, Mr. McNamara.
Action on Amendments in Disagreement While Conference Is in Progress
Sec.    24.11 Where a conference is in progress, the House which is in 
possession of the official papers may unilaterally discharge its 
conferees and act on the amendments in disagreement. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 4.     111 CONG. REC. 27698-708, 89th Cong. 1st Sess.
 5.     111 CONG. REC. 24841-49, 89th Cong. 1st Sess., Sept. 23, 1965.
 6.     111 CONG. REC. 25074, 89th Cong. 1st Sess., Sept. 24, 1965.
 7.     Id. at pp. 27346, 27347, 27360.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 821]]

The controversial issue of whether there should be a federal employee 
pay cap attached to the further continuing appropriation bill, fiscal 
1981 (H.J. Res. 637) could not be resolved between the Houses as the 
adjournment of the 96th Congress, 2d Session approached. The sequence 
of events leading to this impasse are shown in the Calendar of the 
House of Representatives for the 96th Congress, as follows:

. . . Senate agreed to House amendment to Senate amendment No. 7 with 
an amendment Dec. 13 (Legislative day of Nov. 20), 1980. Senate 
insisted on its amendment and asked for a further conference Dec. 13 
(Legislative day of Nov. 20), 1980. House agreed to a further 
conference Dec. 13, 1980. Senate further insisted on its amendment to 
House amendment to Senate amendment No. 7 Dec. 15 (Legislative day of 
Nov. 20), 1980.

 The unusual Senate action carried here as taken from the Record of 
Dec. 15, 1980,(8) was the last legislative act involving that bill.

MR. [WILLIAM] PROXMIRE [of Wisconsin]: . . . Mr. President, I ask 
unanimous consent that the Senate further insist upon its amendment to 
the House amendment to the Senate amendment No. 7 to House Joint 
Resolution 637.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER:(9) Is there objection?
Without objection, it is so ordered.
MR. [THEODORE F.] STEVENS [of Alaska]: Mr. President, that disposes of 
returning House Joint Resolution 637. It does not dispose of House 
Joint Resolution 644. I might state we have all been involved in 
negotiations concerning this bill. It is my understanding that the new 
resolution would continue the expenditure levels of the Federal 
Government at the 1980 level or the House level, whichever is lower . . 
. 

Parliamentarian's Note: There are few precedents for the type of action 
taken by the Senate. The House has taken a similar action by the 
adoption of a rule on at least one occasion. See 5 Cannon's Precedents 
Sec. 6526.
Version of Report of House Acting First
Sec.    24.12 Parliamentarian's Note: When the Senate acts first on a 
conference report, it is the Senate version of the report (the copy of 
the conference report signed first by the Senate managers) which is 
messaged to the House with the other original pa-
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 8.     126 CONG. REC. 34221, 96th Cong. 2d Sess.
 9.     George J. Mitchell (Maine).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 822]]

pers and is before the House for action.(10) 
Progression of Conference "Official Papers"
Sec.    24.13 Where conferees report in total disagreement, the papers 
are normally retained by the asking House so that it may act first on 
the matter in disagreement; but where the only matter remaining in 
disagreement is an amendment of the asking House, which cannot amend 
its own amendment, the papers may be transferred so that the agreeing 
House may address the disagreement by amending. 
The conference agreement brought before the House on Oct. 7, 1975, was 
the second report dealing with amendments in disagreement on H.R. 8121, 
the State, Justice, Commerce, and the Judiciary appropriations for 
fiscal 1976. This second report dealt with the sole remaining Senate 
amendment in disagreement, and the conferees agreed to recommend a 
further amendment to that amendment. Since the Senate could not amend 
its own amendment, the report was filed in disagreement, the House 
retained the papers and acted first on the managers recommendation. 
The form of the report, the Senate amendment in disagreement, and the 
House action thereon are shown in the Congressional Record  excerpt and 
the relevant parts of the statement of the managers are carried here:
(11) 
CONFERENCE REPORT (H. REPT. NO. 94-527)
The committee of conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses 
on the amendment of the Senate numbered 8 to the bill (H.R. 8121) 
"making appropriations for the Departments of State, Justice, and 
Commerce, the judiciary, and related agencies for the fiscal year 
ending June 30, 1976, and the period ending September 30, 1976, and for 
other purposes," having met, after further full and free conference, 
have been unable to agree.
JOHN M. SLACK . . . 
JOINT EXPLANATORY STATEMENT OF THE COMMITTEE OF CONFERENCE . . .
TITLE I-DEPARTMENT OF STATE
General provisions-Department of State
Amendment No. 8: Reported in technical disagreement. The managers on 
the part of the House will offer a motion as follows:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
10.     Deschler's Procedure (93d Cong.), Ch. 33 Sec. 18.3.
11.     121 CONG. REC. 31510, 94th Cong. 1st Sess., Oct. 2, 1975.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 823]]

Restore the matter stricken by said amendment amended to read as 
follows:
"SEC. 104. It is the sense of the Congress that any new Panama Canal 
treaty or agreement must protect the vital interests of the United 
States in the Canal Zone and in the operation, maintenance, property 
and defense of the Panama Canal." 
The managers on the part of the Senate will move to concur in the 
amendment of the House to the amendment of the Senate.

When the report was called up and read on Oct. 7, 1975, the Speaker(12) 
laid down the amendment in disagreement.(13) 

The Clerk read the Senate amendment, as follows:

Senate amendment No. 8: Page 16, line 18, strike out:
"SEC. 104. None of the funds appropriated in this title shall be used 
for the purposes of negotiating the surrender or relinquishment of any 
U.S. rights in the Panama Canal Zone."
MOTION OFFERED BY MR. SLACK
MR. [JOHN M.] SLACK [of West Virginia]: Mr. Speaker, I offer a motion.
The Clerk read as follows:

Mr. Slack moves that the House recede from its disagreement to the 
amendment of the Senate numbered 8 and concur therein with an 
amendment, as follows: Restore the matter stricken by said amendment 
amended to read as follows:
"SEC. 104. It is the sense of the Congress that any new Panama Canal 
treaty or agreement must protect the vital interests of the United 
States in the Canal Zone and in the operation, maintenance, property 
and defense of the Panama Canal."
PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY
MR. [JOHN J.] FLYNT [Jr., of Georgia]: Mr. Speaker, I have a 
parliamentary inquiry.
THE SPEAKER: The gentleman will state his parliamentary inquiry.
MR. FLYNT: Mr. Speaker, is a division of the question in order?
THE SPEAKER: Yes, a request for a division of the question is in order.
MR. FLYNT: Mr. Speaker, I demand a division of the question.
THE SPEAKER: The question will be divided.