[Deschler's Precedents, Volume 4, Chapters 15 - 17]
[Chapter 16. Introduction]
[§ 2. Sponsorship]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

[Page 2476-2480]
                               CHAPTER 16
          Introduction and Reference of Bills and Resolutions
Sec. 2. Sponsorship

    House Rule XXII clause 4,(13) permits the joint 
sponsorship of public bills by at least two but not more than 25 
Members.(14) The rule has been interpreted to permit the 
sponsor of a bill having the maximum permissible number of cosponsors 
to introduce other bills with identical text with additional 
13. House Rules and Manual Sec. 854 (1973).
14. See Sec. 2.2, infra.
15. See Sec. 2.3, infra.

    The House by precedent has determined the order of appearance of 
the names of the chief sponsors and the cosponsors which are listed on 
jointly sponsored bills; (16) moreover, pursuant to a 
directive from the Speaker, no such bill will be accepted for 
introduction without the signature of its prime sponsor.(17)
16. See Sec. 2.4, infra.
17. See Sec. 2.1, infra.

    Following the introduction of a jointly sponsored bill, a 
cosponsor's name may not be deleted therefrom; but, by unanimous 
consent, the House may expunge the cosponsor's name from the 
18. See Sec. 2.5, infra.                          -------------------

Prime Sponsor's Signature

Sec. 2.1 By directive of the Speaker, all bills and resolutions must be 
    signed by the prime sponsor thereof in order to be accepted for 

[[Page 2477]]

    On Feb. 3, 1972,(1) the Speaker,(2) in 
response to a parliamentary inquiry by Mr. Robert H. Steele, of 
Connecticut, made a statement concerning the introduction of bills as 
 1. 118 Cong. Rec. 2521, 92d Cong. 2d Sess. See also 119 Cong. Rec. 30, 
        93d Cong. 1st Sess., Jan. 3, 1973, where the Speaker announced 
        that bills placed in the hopper must bear the original 
        signature of the chief sponsor or first-named Member.
 2. Carl Albert (Okla.).

        The Speaker: . . . It has come to the attention of the Chair 
    that several bills have been introduced recently in the names of 
    Members who have no knowledge of or responsibility for their 
        Rule XXII of the rules of this House makes it clear that 
    Members, and Members alone, have the right to introduce bills--that 
    is, to cause them to be placed in the hopper here at the Clerk's 
    desk. When a bill is found in the hopper, it has been assumed to be 
        The Chair has observed, and knows it has become common 
    practice, that Members' offices often send bills to the floor by 
    messenger or page and ask that they be dropped in the hopper by a 
    page or a doorman. The pages and doormen, of course, have no way of 
    knowing the authenticity of bills which they receive by messenger 
    or otherwise.
        It would seem to the Chair that it would be a much safer 
    practice if Members, in addition to having their names typed or 
    printed on the bills, would also affix their signatures thereon. 
    Members would also be protecting their own interests if they would 
    personally place their bills in the hopper.
        The Chair feels that the right to introduce legislation is one 
    of the most important and fundamental rights of the Members of this 
    House. It should not be a slipshod or casual practice. In the 
    interest of safeguarding the integrity of this process, and to 
    protect Members against future instances where bills are introduced 
    without their authorization, the Chair is issuing instructions that 
    the pages, their overseers, and other employees in the Chamber 
    shall have no authority to place any bill, memorial, petition, or 
    other material in the hopper unless it bears the original signature 
    of a Member thereon. In the case of a bill or resolution which is 
    jointly sponsored, the signature must be that of the Member first 
    named thereon. The bill clerk is instructed to return to the Member 
    any bill which appears in the hopper without an original signature 
    of the Member.
        Finally, the Chair suggests that the Clerk of the House notify 
    all Members of this statement so that they will be aware of this 
    new policy and procedure for the introduction of legislation.

    Parliamentarian's Note: On Jan. 27, 1972, six bills separately 
sponsored by six different Members dealing with the subject of fire 
research and safety were placed in the hopper and referred without the 
knowledge of those Members. Neither the chief sponsor nor the other 
Members were able to explain the source of the introduc

[[Page 2478]]

tion of those bills. To prevent a recurrence of this problem, the 
Speaker announced his directive as to the signing of proposed bills and 

Joint Sponsorship

Sec. 2.2 The rules of the House were amended to permit joint 
    sponsorship of public bills by up to 25 Members.

    On Apr. 25, 1967,(3) Mr. William M. Colmer, of 
Mississippi, by direction of the Committee on Rules, called up and 
asked for the immediate consideration of a resolution as follows:
 3. 113 Cong. Rec. 10708-12, 90th Cong. 1st Sess.

                                 H. Res. 42

        Resolved, That paragraph 4 of rule XXII of the Rules of the 
    House of Representatives is amended by adding at the end thereof 
    the following sentence: ``Two or more but not more than ten Members 
    may introduce jointly any bill, memorial, or resolution to which 
    this paragraph applies.''

    Debate on the resolution ensued, during the course of which Mr. 
Colmer proposed and the House agreed to an amendment striking the word 
``ten'' in line four and inserting in lieu thereof the words ``twenty-
five.'' At the conclusion of debate, the resolution as amended was 
agreed to.

Sec. 2.3 The rule providing for joint sponsorship of House bills [Rule 
    XXII clause 4] permits the names of the sponsor and up to 24 
    cosponsors to appear on any public bill; but the rule is 
    interpreted to permit the sponsor to introduce other bills, with 
    identical text, with additional cosponsors.

    On June 6, 1968,(4) Mrs. Leonor K. Sullivan, of 
Missouri, introduced five identical bills (5) cosponsored by 
107 other Members. The bills were referred to the Committee on 
 4. 114 Cong. Rec. 16307-09, 16319, 90th Cong. 2d Sess.
 5. H.R. 17721, H.R. 17722, H.R. 17723, H.R. 17724, and H.R. 17725, to 
        amend the Food Stamp Act of 1964, as amended.

Sec. 2.4 Bills which are jointly sponsored first carry the name of the 
    chief sponsor, then the names of those Members who are cosponsors.

    As an example, on Apr. 26, 1967,(6) Mr. Spark M. 
Matsunaga, of Hawaii (for himself and Mrs. Patsy T. Mink, of Hawaii) 
introduced the first jointly sponsored bill (7) pursuant to 
the amendment
 6. 113 Cong. Rec. 10892, 90th Cong. 1st Sess.
 7. H.R. 9316.

[[Page 2479]]

of Rule XXII clause 4 agreed to on the preceding day. The bill first 
carried the name of Mr. Matsunaga, its chief sponsor, then the name of 
Mrs. Mink, a cosponsor.

Erroneous Listing of Sponsors

Sec. 2.5 Where a public bill or resolution is introduced in the House 
    with several Members listed as cosponsors, the names cannot 
    thereafter be deleted from the bill or resolution; but a statement 
    indicating that an error was made in listing one of the names has 
    been made on the floor in conjunction with a unanimousconsent 
    request that the Record be corrected accordingly.

    On Oct. 9, 1969,(8) the following proceedings occurred:
 8. 115 Cong. Rec. 29347, 91st Cong. 1st Sess. See also 114 Cong. Rec. 
        1873, 1922, 90th Cong. 2d Sess., Feb. 1, 1968, where Mr. Walter 
        B. Jones (N.C.) announced to the House that a hill (H.R. 15030) 
        had been introduced containing the names of two Members who had 
        not authorized the use of their names as cosponsors.

        Mr. [Jeffery] Cohelan [of California]: Mr. Speaker, I rise to 
    correct an error in the sponsorship of House Joint Resolution 927 
    which provided for the funding of Health, Education, and Welfare 
    under a continuing resolution at the House-passed levels. The name 
    of the Honorable Michael J. Kirwan, of Ohio, appears as a cosponsor 
    of this resolution. I have been informed that Mr. Kirwan's name was 
    incorrectly added to the list of cosponsors and I ask unanimous 
    consent that the Record stand corrected.
        The Speaker Pro Tempore: (9) The gentleman's 
    statement will appear in the Record. There is no way of correcting 
    the resolution.
 9. Richard Bolling (Mo.).

    Parliamentarian's Note: Since a bill as introduced in the House 
becomes the property of the House, the sponsor thereof cannot, after 
its introduction, add to or delete from the list of cosponsors 
appearing on the bill as introduced.

Withdrawal of Cosponsor's Support

Sec. 2.6 While a Member may not withdraw his name from a bill which he 
    has cosponsored once the bill has been introduced and referred, he 
    may announce to the House his withdrawal of support for the bill.

    On Mar. 29, 1971,(10) Mr. Harold R. Collier, of 
Illinois, pursuant to a grant of permission to address the House for 
one minute and to revise and extend his remarks, announced the 
10. 117 Cong. Rec. 8268, 92d Cong. 1st Sess.

[[Page 2480]]

of his cosponsorship and support of a bill (11) which had 
previously been introduced and referred.
11. H.R. 6360, to establish a National Legal Services Corporation.

Senate Practice

Sec. 2.7 A Senator's name may be deleted from the list of cosponsors of 
    a bill.

    On Feb. 17, 1959,(12) Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, of 
Minnesota, asked unanimous consent that the name of the Senator from 
New York' Senator Jacob K. Javits, be deleted as a cosponsor of a bill 
(13) which had been introduced. There being no objection, it 
was so ordered.
12. 105 Cong. Rec. 2470, 86th Cong. 1st Sess. See also 103 Cong. Rec. 
        2666, 85th Cong. 1st Sess., Feb. 27, 1957, where the Senate, by 
        unanimous consent, permitted the names of four Senators to be 
        stricken as cosponsors of an amendment to a bill (H.R. 4090).
13. S. 812, to establish a Youth Conservation Corps.